ARFinding ForgivenessWhat happens when forgiveness doesn’t come? When all your life you’ve had to live with the burden of what you’ve done, without any release?What do you do when you can't find forgiveness? When all your life you’ve had to live with the burden of what you’ve done, without any release?
A softening in the edges of the jaw. A returned glance. A hand that reaches out to you once again. When we’ve offended someone—be it wife or husband, friend, colleague, or loved one—the smallest sign of acceptance and forgiveness is enough to trigger a tide of shame and relief, remorse, joy, and gratefulness. The sudden flood of our response washes away the anger and bitterness, the quibbles over who was right and who was wrong. It clears the path for healing. Nothing matters as long as everything is right again. As long as equilibrium is restored, as long as there is, once more, an affirmation in “you and me,” there is hope. Hope that you can change for the better. Hope that things will be better from hereon.
What happens, though, when forgiveness doesn’t come? When all your life you’ve had to live with the burden of what you’ve done, without any such release? The knot that was inside of you, that mix of fear and anger and need, has become a cancer sucking all of your energy and hope. You become a shell, nursing a bitter core. When we can’t find forgiveness, it becomes very hard for us to forgive the world.
We humans are funny creatures, in that our very resilience and resolve can also be our greatest weakness. We display our toughness in both our refusal to relent and forgive, and our refusal to turn and seek forgiveness. But sometimes the burden seems so great that no other human being could provide a resolution. What do you do when it seems there is no way out—nowhere to turn?
The only way to make things right is to find the source of true forgiveness. The only one who can give you true forgiveness is God, who created you and knows best. Only the One who has control over your life has the power to renew your life.
How do you know God forgives? Because He came in person to grant it to you. He demonstrated His forgiveness with hands outstretched on a cross. There, the Lord Jesus Christ, our God, bore the full consequences of our human failings by giving up His own life in our stead. He “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Rom 4:25). That means that you do not have to carry your burden—Jesus Christ came to take it away.
Today, the fountain of His grace is ready to wash away the sin and pain and bitterness in you. You need only turn to the Lord and seek His forgiveness, and He will justify—He will make things right. New life, with new hope, has been prepared for you. God is willing to receive you. Are you willing to believe in Him?
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon you. —Psalm 86:5
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