Several weeks ago, in preparations for teaching, I had what I can only call a “God moment”. (A moment when God “voice” seems so clear you can almost hear it.) The message I was preparing to teach was on FORGIVENESS. I have taught on it a hundred times before and thought I had covered it pretty well with subheadings like… “Receiving Forgiveness from God”, “Forgiving Yourself”, “Forgiving Others”, “What is Forgiveness?”, “Consequences of Holding a Grudge”, etc… pretty cleaver I suppose.
Then I believe that God showed me something about myself that I had really never thought about (much less written about) …. Drumroll….. wait for it……… here it is…… I needed to “FORGIVE HIM”. Yep… a crummy little person, needed to “forgive” an infinitely holy omnipotent God!
I know, I know, I know… there is a ridiculous theological chasm that must be crossed to even put forth this idea…. BUT apart from the obvious problems associated with the idea of “forgiving God”, isn’t this where most of us live? …. In our narcissistic bubble we get offended by how God chooses to “work out His salvation in our lives”? (Phil 2:12)
- Bad boss? (How could God allow…)
- Money issues? (If God would bless me more…)
- Illness? (clearly God’s fault)
- Loss of loved one? (God…)
- Dead end Job? (Why won’t God act on my behalf?)
- Others getting what you think you deserve? (They don’t even deserve it…but I do!)
- God could change all of that so why won’t He? (Well…..?)
I had “forgiven” everyone else of “any and all” malice that I had “suffered” at their hands…… but I continued to hold a “grudge” against God because of how He is “conforming me to the image of Christ”. Not a big enough grudge to end my relationship with him (in fact I did not even see it for a few minutes while God “peeled back” layer after layer of denial and excuses) but big enough to keep a little unhealthy fear in the mix.
Here are some of the tools He used so that I could “forgive God”.
1. Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
2. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
3. 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
4. Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
January 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm
I think there is a lot of merit to what you are saying, and I understand where you are coming from. I had never thought about it before but do you think this is another aspect or view of the importance of a believer getting to know God so well (Who He is and His purposes) that we are better equipped to let God be God in our lives regardless of what it looks like? Maybe our forgiveness is tantamount to saying I am submitting to your will? Thoughts? Thank you for your thought provoking post.
January 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm
I think you are right! It is tantamount to submitting to God. I think in our (my) arrogance we think “equality with God IS something to be grasped.” Crazy but I see it all the time.