Understanding Sin’s Effects On Us (Forgiveness Part 2)
The ubiquitous presence of sin in the world means we will all experience being sinned against. We will find ourselves overlooked, undervalued, unloved, ignored, bullied, abused, mistreated, or disrespected. When we are hurt by someone’s actions, if we don’t address it, sin can set off a chain reaction that harms not only us but also our relationships, character, and even our connection with God.
The problem is not primarily because people sin against us, this happens to everyone, but that we don’t know how to resolve the harmful effects of the sin committed against us.
The problem isn’t that people sin against us, but we don’t know how to resolve the harmful effects of the sin committed against us.
However, forgiveness is a powerful solution that can bring healing and restoration.
When someone sins against us, we go through common steps:
1. Our initial response is feeling hurt, violated, and unloved. This can lead to a sense of anger and resentment.
2. Our pride kicks in. We get more upset as we think about it, exacerbating our anger. However, it’s essential to recognize that we are so angry because we have been hurt.
3. In our hurt and anger, we give ourselves permission to react in a sinful manner. This can manifest as withholding love, becoming cold or silent, resorting to shouting, cursing, criticizing, or even threatening the person who sinned against us.
4. We justify our behavior. We view it as appropriate since we perceive the situation from a place of hurt. Unfortunately, hurt people tend to hurt others. Being victimized can lead to self-righteousness, giving us the “right” to criticize the person who hurt us and demand that they fix what happened, but only in our own way.
Victimhood empowers us, but it comes at a cost. Our character, relationships, joy, and fellowship with God all suffer as a result.
The Solution: Biblical Forgiveness
Forgiveness may be the last thing we want to do, but breaking the destructive chain reaction is vital. We mentioned in the last post that forgiveness does not mean being okay with what someone has done to us, nor does it excuse wrongdoing. Biblical forgiveness doesn’t negate the need for justice.
Influenced by the cross and the forgiveness Jesus models and calls us to, true forgiveness trusts God with the hurt and injustice and extends grace to the offender, even when they don’t deserve it.
And no, they don’t deserve forgiveness otherwise, there would be no need for it. So, forgiveness doesn’t ignore the offense or the penalty owed. Rather, it trusts Jesus for God’s perfect justice and bears the weight of both the offense and the price owed.
Forgiveness trusts Jesus for God’s perfect justice and bears the weight of both the offense and the price owed.
1 Peter 2:20 For what credit is there if you endure it with patience when you sin and are harshly treated? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it [i.e., if you are innocent, yet another mistreats you, that’s injustice. But if] you patiently endure it [i.e., if you take it and forgive them], this finds favor with God. 21 For you have been called for this purpose, Christ also suffered for you [paying for your forgiveness], leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.
Jesus knows what it is like to be hurt. He was falsely accused, abused, condemned, stripped naked, and hung on a cross to die. And He was innocent. Yet rather than fight back, get even, or justify any sinful retaliation.
1 Peter 2:22 [He] committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.
Our Lord understands what it means to be wounded by people. Yet He wasn’t a victim of the effects of their abuse. Jesus didn’t seek control—”How dare they do this to Me?!” He humbled Himself and trusted the Father’s righteous judgment with what was happening to Him, and He was able to love and forgive.
1 Peter 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross [He endured our sin and our penalty for our forgiveness] so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds, you were healed.
By Jesus’ wounds, you are healed and restored to God. You are healed from having to act in sin.
Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross, enduring the weight of our sin and the penalty for our forgiveness. He suffered our debt so that we could experience God’s forgiveness and love.
By following Jesus’ example, who endured unimaginable suffering and forgave those who wronged Him, we can experience the freedom, joy, and renewed relationships that come from extending the same grace in the same way to others, even when, like us, they don’t deserve it.