In Part II we want to see that the actual economy of the “exchange” is not just making a bad deal, biting the bullet, or jeopardizing your future in some way. When you really see that, you will find it easy to learn how to forgive and really mean it.
The Sermon on the Mount
In the Sermon on the Mount, we see the actual nuts and bolts of the exchange that takes place in a forgiveness event. In this example, forgiveness is taken to what seems quite beyond just overlooking a debt. When someone hurts you, you actually gift them; you give them more than what they took from you. At first this seems unfair, as “after all, I am the offended party.”
Here’s what the Bible says about forgiveness:
“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” — Matthew 5:39-46, NASB
“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you . . . . But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you.…For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”— Luke 6:31, 35-38, NASB
Remember that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is detailing the economy that now arises in light of His startling announcement that the Kingdom of Heaven has now arrived.
The reason this “over-response” to an offender offends our economy is that a new economy has arrived. It’s as if He precedes every statement with “In light of the arrival of the inestimable resources and opportunities of the Kingdom, to be engaged in this economy, do this . . . .”
Seeing it Makes it Easy
So this is where you bring faith into the real-life struggle to forgive and mean it. People of faith don’t live by simply smarter strategies for putting together the playing pieces of this earthly life. People of faith SEE something; something which usually contradicts expectations based on circumstances, and relationally, it contradicts what we think is fair.
Read Hebrews 11 and you find people who expect and do things that seem contradictory, but which make perfect sense in light of what they see by faith. If you really see the offer of partaking of the goodness of this new economy, you will find giving beyond what is taken from you to be a genuine opportunity. This will not be hard.
Christian Counseling for Learning How to Forgive
Sometimes counseling can help you to stop focusing on your hurt, the loss, the unfairness, and the personal devaluing you have experienced. Sometimes counseling can get you to see the opportunity you are being offered and become a partaker. If you feel that would be helpful, call our offices to arrange a first session.
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