But even if he is absolutely fully to blame we still have to forgive him; and even if ninety-nine percent of his apparent guilt can be explained away by really good excuses, the problem of forgiveness begins with the one percent guilt which is left over. To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian character; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.
This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says. – C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
I’ve been thinking about how things happen in life that we can’t figure out, about how people hurt us and we can’t understand why, and about how we are supposed to respond to this. I may have mentioned multiple times that I’m a fan of looking at things from the devil’s perspective so I can figure out why bad things are happening and our correct way to handle them from the side of a believer, and I’ve been doing it recently regarding a situation that I believe is designed to plant disbelief in the hearts of those involved.
It’s easy to let disbelief in when someone has hurt you, because it comes not necessarily in the form of not forgiving them but in the form of walls. Our tendency to build walls up around our hearts in order to protect ourselves is a way of telling God we don’t believe he will be able to protect us as well as we can. It’s a way of telling him that he can’t heal whatever hurts, or fix whatever breaks. And that can lead to a growth of unbelief that we don’t even realize we’re cultivating.
I’ve done it. I still do it. But I’m struggling against it because I know that Christ, when he was walking this earth, didn’t bother to put up walls. He was so vulnerable that his best friends abandoned him and his enemies led him to the slaughter, and he still chose to love and save them, us. Every painful thing in life is designed by the devil to pull us away from God, and every plan the devil has made for evil the Lord has already established to bring about good, and to give him glory.
“Christian worship is the response of God’s redeemed people to his self-revelation that exalts God’s glory in Christ in our minds, affections, and wills, in the power of the Holy Spirit.” – D.A. Carson
Ps I got the wonderful quotes from a few entries at Thoughts from Fabs, which I adore and recommend.