Recently, I’ve had a little mini-series on sin (If you’ve missed the posts, you can find them here, here, here. and here.) I’ll be honest, it’s not a topic most people want to read about. After, people would much rather read about the better things ahead, then what changes need to happen in the here and now. But I wrote anyway.
Today’s topic may be even less appealing, but it’s important too. For after a discussion about our sin before God, a natural follow-up is to wonder about when people sin against us. (You can see this connection in Matthew 18 verses 7-9 followed by verses 10-14.) After all, we know that a righteous God demands holiness and we want others to treat us according to that standard. But here are two important things to remember:
1. We’re not God.
2. We’re not holy.
So we have no business thinking that we can hold other people to the same standard that God does – in their relationship with us.
Which means, when someone sins against us, we are commanded to forgive. Regardless of whether they deserve it, regardless of how hurt we were, regardless of the consequences we’ve suffered as a result, we are not to hold on to that offense.
And if we do, now we’re the ones in sin. We’ve taken what may be righteous anger and we’ve made it into something that’s abhorrent to God – a hardened heart. We’ve stopped being concern about how their sin affects their relationship with God, and started focusing on how their sin affects us. We’ve held on tight to the repentance we deserve to see, rather than the repentance that’s needed before God.
We’ve taken their sin and made it into our own.
That’s what unforgiveness does. And that’s why God says, regardless of how often or how much is required, when someone sins against you, you are to forgive.
Because God cares more about our standing before Him, then how others stand before us.
And we should too.
(For a great book on sin, check out The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgaard.)