Lately I’ve been thinking about how much God is able and willing to forgive. The worst person in the world can be forgiven of their sins and made a completely new person just by believing in the work and name of Jesus! But sometimes we have a problem with that, especially if that person has done particularly awful things, or has wronged us or a loved one personally. While forgiveness doesn’t mean that someone gets away with everything with no consequences, sometimes it can feel that way and we don’t like it. But rest assured that God’s forgiveness is done correctly, and while there are still consequences to what has been done, with God’s help we can move past the past, whether it’s ours or someone else’s.
Take the apostle Paul for an example. He used to actively, zealously persecute Christians. He was glad when they were killed. He pulled them right out of their homes to be arrested, and believed he was right to do so. He even went across borders to do it. But then Jesus got a hold of him, and became one of the greatest missionaries ever known! Jesus did not reluctantly save Paul, He actively sought him out, just like He does with each of us. But right after Paul’s conversion, no one but God knew he was going to be a great missionary or a zealous Christian. A lot of Christians didn’t trust him. I wonder if some of them were even angry at God for forgiving someone who had so ardently harmed them. Paul himself also had to deal with the guilt of his past, and without God’s help, neither he nor the other Christians would have been able to get past his past.
Let’s try a hypothetical example. Suppose there is a person who commits heinous crimes right up to their dying day, but then on that last day they repent of it all and beg God for forgiveness. We can get angry about them receiving forgiveness because they don’t deserve it, but that is the point of mercy and grace, they aren’t fair. If God were to be completely fair, we never would have been given Jesus. God is more fair than we think, and when He’s not being fair, He’s being merciful.
That is how amazing God’s grace is, and that is how abundant His mercy is! That is how powerful God’s grace and mercy both are, He can wipe away that much sin when someone least deserves it! God can take the worst people who have done the worst, dirtiest, unholiest things and make them good, perfectly clean, and even holy!
God is omniscient and perfectly good, so if I don’t like something He does, then I’m the one with the problem. When God forgives someone who seems to deserve it far less that I do, there is something in me that screams it isn’t fair, but there is something else in me that knows that that is the point. Why should I be angry at the way God has chosen to display His measureless power?
Related reading on forgiveness:
The Need for Forgiveness
The Miracle of Forgiveness
The Speed of Forgiveness
God’s Forgiveness – Paul the Apostle
God’s Forgiveness – Peter the Apostle
God’s Forgiveness – Aaron the Priest
God’s Forgiveness – David the King
Punishment and Forgiveness
Forgiveness – Gettest Thou Over It
It’s Not Fair
Justice and Mercy
Justice and Injustice