Justice & Forgiveness

The thing about the forgiveness, which is necessary for reconciliation, that we as humans have such a hard time with is that it isn’t “just.” We are wired to want to see justice fulfilled. If we have been wronged we feel as though we have a right to see justice.  Forgiveness contradicts that and says regardless of my right to be offended or to seek justice in some way… I release you. It is what Christ does for us each minute of each day.  A lesson hard learned yet infinite in value is… while forgiveness is not just, it also is not a choice for a believer in Christ. Our life is not our own that we might choose to hold offense.

Consider the word’s of Jesus in Matthew 18:21-35,

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to pay the debt.  “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

When I read this it makes me shutter to think of times when I have been tempted to hold a debt of offense against someone else in light of all the Lord has forgiven me of.

-Chris Kohlman