So why is it so hard to forgive when others hurt us? So what are the barriers we face when it comes to granting forgiveness to others? Our unwillingness to let go of the hurt and pain the person caused in our life seems to be a big stumbling block for many of us. And our desire for justice – to see the person punished for what they did. Or maybe we actually go beyond justice, and have a desire to seek revenge or vengeance.
All of these things have something in common – our desire to stand in judgment over the wrongs of others. Our desire to be “like God”, just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Our desire to seat ourselves squarely on the throne of God.
The desire flows from deep within us. We are all selfish, self-centered, self-serving, and filled with this ugly thing God calls pride. And it is sin.
Jeremiah 17:9 The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
We are ALL capable of doing terrible, evil things. Every single one of us, no matter how good we may seem on the outside. We ARE all going to do things that hurt others, and we are going to be hurt by the actions of others. Jesus warned us this would happen, so we really shouldn’t be surprised by it.
John 16:33b Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
It is how we choose to respond when others hurt us that can get us into lots of trouble. Our sin nature screams at us that we should take things into our own hands and settle the score. We may say we want justice, but what we often really desire is revenge. But God’s Word is very clear that we do not have the right or authority to do that.
Romans 12:19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.
Deuteronomy 32:35 I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.
In the Old Testament, God was constantly revealing Himself to His people. He laid out His commands for them, giving them His plans for how they were to live. He wanted them (and us) to understand His expectations. He wanted us all to understand who He is, His character, and His essence.
There is a certain phrase repeated over 160 times in the Old Testament. God used this phrase when He made statements of face, when He gave promises, and when He gave commands. Do you know what it is?
“I AM THE LORD”
And there is an implied second half to that statement… and you are not! Many times after saying “I am the LORD”, He would add “and there is no other”.
The first commandment is FIRST for a reason.
Exodus 20:2-3 “I am the LORD your God … You shall have no other gods before Me.”
We have no right or authority to try to take God’s place as JUDGE of His creation. He alone is God. There is no other. All of creation is His. He alone has the right to stand in judgment over His creation. We are not to try and elbow our way onto His throne. There is only room for Him.
He wants us to fully respect His power, His authority and His Lordship over His creation. He also wants us to fully TRUST Him and His judgment. He wants us to recognize that He is in a much better position to judge than we are. He wants us to trust in His perfect justice, and not seek our own warped version of justice.
He wants us to trust Him to work out His perfect justice, in His way and in His time.