Why Should I Forgive Them?
Do you suffer from road rage?
Honestly, I’m pretty mild-mannered. I don’t anger that easily. I have, however, experienced more road rage that you would expect.
Let me clear this up… it’s not me who’s angry. It’s other people who are mad at me.
In all humility, I’m not exactly the best driver. I’m never going to win any “driver of the year” awards. Also, I wouldn’t be a good hire if you were hiring delivery drivers.
Honestly, I’ve worked on it. I’ve put my phone down. I’m lucky enough now to have a car that warns me when I’m getting close to the lines or too close to someone in front of me.
It hasn’t kept me from the anger of those who experience road rage in the past! There really are countless moments where people have pulled up next to me, while driving, yelling at me through two closed windows. I want to have a sign that reads, “Hey… I’m sorry. Trying to read your lips while driving isn’t going to make me a better driver, though! Have a great day!”
Where does road rage come from? It comes from the same place any other offense comes from. The commonality in driving just leverages a lot of people who know what other people SHOULD do, but then get angry because they don’t do it. They SHOULD have let me in the traffic line. They SHOULD not have stopped so quick. They SHOULD have been paying closer attention.
They SHOULD have…
The SHOULD have stayed faithful. They SHOULD have told the truth. They SHOULD have been on time. They SHOULD have replaced the toilet roll.
And then, all of a sudden, without warning you’re OFFENDED!
Offended hurts. Offended stings. Offended isn’t fun. It’s hard and hard to overcome. But… Offended is also the plan of the enemy to choke the life of Jesus out of you.
When we’re offended, we ask, “Why should I forgive them?”
It feels like a legitimate question. They’ve hurt us. They’ve done us wrong. Why SHOULD we forgive them?
Maybe that’s the wrong question to ask.
I’ve noticed that if you ask the wrong question, you always get the wrong answers! That doesn’t mean there’s a bad question. It does, however, mean there is often a better, more helpful question.
When we ask, “Why should I forgive them?” it places us on a team and them on a team. We’re on team “right”. They’re on team “wrong”.
For those of us in this boat, there’s a working assumption: “I’m right.” There’s also pervasive neglect. When you’re focused on your own “rightness”, you’re neglecting the fact that you, yourself, have been and could be wrong.
You have been wrong. Many times.
And when you’ve been wrong, both with God and other people, you have often experienced both grace and forgiveness.
If we’re honest, the debt that we’ve been forgiven of us is much greater than any debt another will ever owe us. We’ve failed greatly. We’ve also been significantly forgiven.
Maybe a better question is, “How could I not forgive them?”
What is keeping you from forgiving?
Is it that they seem sorry? Were you sorry every time you received grace? Probably not.
Is it that they did something pretty wrong? Have you done something terrible before and been forgiven? If you’re a Christ-follower, you have. You killed God’s Son, and He’s forgiven you for it!
Stop looking for excuses to refuse forgiveness and start forgiving with your own story as the backdrop for the grace you extend.
Forgive and love, and you have been forgiven and loved!
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What’s your most common excuse for not forgiving someone?