For the last several days I have been struggling to let go of the anger and disappointment that I feel regarding what recently came to light regarding my husband’s ex-wife (and mother of his daughter, and babysitter of our son). I feel betrayed, used, taken-advantage-of, and so very hurt. This morning I woke up and had nothing pressing that needed to be done. I enjoyed a couple of obligation-free hours and spent some time getting lost in a well-read fiction book. I also took some time getting caught up on my reading plans and devotionals on the youversion app. One of those was the Casting Crowns – The Overflow Devotion. The devotional reading of day 2 really hit me hard . . .
East to West
God is illogical. When it comes to forgiveness, he makes no sense to our finite and fleshy minds. When I forgive someone, what that person did to me hovers in the back of my mind. I can’t help but react based on my memory of what happened. How can God, whose memory is perfect, be any different? It’s hard to fathom how God forgives without condition and without end.
But that’s human logic. If we forget what God says in his Word, we make assumptions: “I’m not really sure what God’s love is, but this is what my dad’s love is like, so that must be what God’s love is like. Since forgiveness looks like this at work or at school, this must be how God forgives.”
God says he dropped our sins into his sea of forgetfulness (Micah 7:19; Isaiah 43:25). No one else forgets our sin. A sea of forgetfulness doesn’t make sense when everyone else is ready to throw us into a mud puddle of remembrance. The world reminds us of our failure and rubs our noses in it. But Jesus gives peace not as the world does (John 14:27), and peace and forgiveness are inextricably linked.
The most liberating truth in all of Scripture is that we are liberated. God is not bound by human logic. He is not like our spouse or co-worker. He is not like our teacher, friend, or significant other. When God says he forgives us, he is speaking the truth because he is truth (Titus 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). When God says he forgives, he isn’t talking about a sappy, sentimental moment in which we talked him into being good to us. He is referring to a sovereign decree of his will to extend grace to an undeserving person.
He did this by killing his Son.
That’s a blunt statement, but it’s true. John 3:16 states God gave his Son. At the same time, Jesus, who is God, laid down his life (John 10:17-18). Why? So he could offer us the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Jesus became sin for us. Gnaw on that one. That’s how serious God is about forgiveness.
With no equivocation, God says: “I am choosing not to count your sin against you anymore—not because you’re a good person or because you’re doing more good than bad—but because my Son paid the debt for your sin. It is finished. Transaction complete. All you have to do is believe me and give me your whole life and I’ll place your sin upon my Son and credit his righteousness to you. I’m doing every bit of this. You’re doing nothing. Even the faith you demonstrate will be my gift to you. Now live like your sin is gone—because it is. As far as the east is from the west.”
I know I need to forgive my husband’s ex-wife. I know that I need to let it go from my mind and not hold it against her in the future. The past is the past, and a person can not be expected to find their way down a new path if they are constantly being dragged back down the old path. That applies as much to me as it does to her. But why is forgiveness so difficult? Will I ever be able to trust her again? And does forgiving her also require me to trust her? She hurt me and my family. My natural instinct is to want her to hurt and be as angry and disappointed as those are that were affected by her actions. But that just brings me down to the level that she is at right now.
God was able to forgive me for everything I did (and still sometime do) that go against Him. He doesn’t remind me of who I used to be. If guilt resurfaces then it is me who drags it up. God forgave me and let it go. He is concerned only with who I am today and who I will become tomorrow. That is what I need to strive to do with Donna, or else it would be too easy to become consumed by the anger and disappointment in my heart. It would be too easy to always consider her the addict that stole from me and lied to me. It would be too easy to question why God allowed her to behave the way she did, and why He let me get dragged into her downward spiral.
Only God knows who she will become tomorrow, but it is not my place to drag her yesterdays into her tomorrows. It is also not my place to question how God acts in the lives of others. God’s plan for Donna is between God and Donna. God’s plan for me is between God and me. Forgiveness is not easy in finding its way into my heart, but it will come in God’s time.
Everything is in his hands, and we must always look to him.
Until next time . . .