Sometimes the only way we are willing to give forgiveness is if someone has a consequence. I will forgive you but you have to . We have been taught since childhood that you cannot have one without the other. Our justice system, for example, you do the crime, you pay your “debt” to society but we all know your slate isn’t clean. Your future will permanently reflect the person you once were. Anyone who runs a background check on you will see, within minutes, exactly what you did that landed you in jail...and this is how we teach forgiveness... You can never outrun your past...you can try to move on but there will always be a stain on your character.
The truth is we can’t really comprehend forgiveness that doesn’t have any strings attached. In fact, it’s the dominant reason people fear moving on in a relationship after mistakes have been made....”I can forgive you but, I can’t forget.” Weigh that against a preacher telling us every Sunday that God can take our stained past and wipe it clean as snow and, you can see why one could find it hard to believe that God doesn’t just offer forgiveness but amnesia, as well.
I’m guilty of it myself, telling someone I forgive them but the moment I see a sign.... even a glimpse.... of something that reminds me of their betrayal I pull back... too afraid to move forward. As humans our first inclination is to protect ourselves from hurt. We look back over everything that led to the moment we experienced pain; we document it each warning that came before destruction so that we never have to experience it again. It’s impossible to understand God’s forgiveness when we apply our intellect. We trick ourselves into thinking that we somehow managed the impossible and hid our true identity from God. There’s no way God could see the mistakes I have made, the thoughts I harbored on the inside and still think that I am worthy of His forgiveness. Can my past be erased and I start fresh in Him? We’ve done things we never thought we would do ourselves...If I disappointed myself, I know I disappointed my God. Just because you can’t forgive yourself doesn’t mean God can’t forgive you.
Jesus told Peter, before the Rooster crows twice you’ll deny me three times. Peter never thought it was possible that he would betray God... That he would mess up so badly that it hurt someone he loved deeply. Sometimes we can mess up and surprise ourselves but it doesn’t surprise God. He knew Peter. If Jesus told Peter that he was going to deny Him, don’t you think He knows we’d fall too? God knew when and how your were going to mess up long before you did.
In 2 Timothy 2:13 “If we give up on Him, He does not give up for there’s no way he can be false to himself. “ God isn’t faithful to us because we are without sin, He’s faithful because of who He is... You can’t compare God’s grace to man’s... We as humans cannot separate our mind from our heart. Our hearts forgive but our mind doesn’t forget. In order to fully receive God’s forgiveness we have to quiet our mind and believe with our heart.
The same God who forgave Peter and received a knowing kiss from Judas... knows all your failures, all your struggles and disappointments... and yet His forgiveness is still available to you. He shed His blood on Calvary so forgiveness could always be available to you. You can’t use your mind to comprehend God, that’s what makes him God, use your heart instead.
We receive things from the world that we can’t explain all the time.... Sometimes we use things because they make our life easier, even if we can’t really explain it. I don’t know how my cellphone in Texas can call someone in Australia. I don’t know how a strip on the back of a card can pull money out of my account immediately... I can’t explain to you how an airplane that weighs more than I can even guess can float on air, but I use it anyway...
I refuse to swipe a card I can’t explain, use a cellphone that I can’t breakdown, fly a plane that defies gravity and not use God’s forgiveness that is more accessible to me than all of those things. I can’t explain why God decided to forgive me. I don’t know why, in spite of all evidence that He shouldn’t, He lends us grace but just because I can’t understand it doesn’t mean I’m not going to use it.
Find more inspiring words on Sarah's blog: Sarah D. Henson
ABOUT TODAY'S GUEST:
Sarah D. HensonSarah Henson is a take-charge businesswoman, writer, and media personality who expertly balances career, ministry and family. Sarah is an on-air television personality, periodically serving as a host of “The Potter’s Touch,” a daily inspirational television broadcast on Daystar Television Network, The Word Network, Inspiration Network and Trinity Broadcast Network.
Prior to joining the staff at The Potter’s House, Sarah worked with TDJ Enterprises, where she
A naturally gifted scholar, Sarah graduated high school in the top of her class at the age of sixteen, top ten percent in the nation, and attended Texas Christian University, where she studied journalism. Sarah is currently a professional writer and regularly pens a blog at sarahdhenson.com on love, life, family, and marriage. She aspires to write articles and books that chronicle the lives of young women who have overcome extreme challenges to reach their goals in life.
Family, love and marriage are all subjects that are near and dear to Sarah. Sarah is married to Robert Henson, a professional football player who is a linebacker in the NFL, they have two children. She is also the daughter of mega church pastor, bestselling author and film producer, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita Jakes, author, media personality, and business executive.
When she is not pursuing her career endeavors, Sarah enjoys cooking, listening to music and spending quality time with her family.