The Unforgivable Sin

lionJesus tells us to forgive those who hurt and betray us – not just once, but over and over.

Even in theory this strikes me as an act of madness.

We’re no longer in the playground Lord. Some things can be forgiven. But this?

The cheating.
The porn addiction, every click a statement: You are not enough.
The dark-eyed gambler, laughing and tossing away our future with his dice.
The drinker who never stops… “but sweetheart, this one is the last”.
The parents who didn’t.
The carer who hurt.
The eyes and the fingers that trespassed on what was sacred.
The words that destroyed: a relationship, a reputation, a life.
The lies that struck like fists.

What do I do with this, Lord?

Take it to recycling with the rest of the empties? Crush it and make something beautiful?

Too easy. Too late.

I want to obey but I can’t. I want to speak mercy but then anger rises in my mouth.

“We find that the work of forgiveness has to be done over and over again. We, forgive, we mortify our resentment; a week later some chain of thought carries us back to the original offense and we discover the old resentment blazing away if nothing had been done about it at all. We need to forgive our brother seventy times seven not only for 490 offenses but for one offense.” C S Lewis.

Even if these aren’t current struggles – it’s not a particularly live issue for me right now – at some stage we’re all called to this.

So if you’re trapped in resentment, how do you break free?
How can we forgive? – And how can we not?

7 thoughts on “The Unforgivable Sin

  1. Would like to offer an easy solution to resentment, but it’s just such an evil weevil. The worst part is not so much the original resentment, but the resentment that comes from having to deal with resentment in the first place. I really resent that!

  2. This is unbelievably true. You forgive. Then you remember, and you feel hurt and betrayed and dirty and sore and xyz. And you hate and begrudge. And you have to start again, forgive again. And it never gets easier to do it, nor does it get any less important. It’s this aftermath that’s nearly the worst; worse and more painful than the event in the first place.

  3. Been with me a lot lately. My other half & I had a friendship in our previous church that went up the swanee. He is able to process these things so much better than me and has let things go. And in fact more of the vitriol at the time was directed at him.
    We are facebook friends with the person again, but I keep hovering over the ‘unfriend’ button because what they say to others seems to rake things up for me. Do I keep having to forgive, why can’t I just run away?
    To do with our different wiring, interesting & frustrating all at the same time!

  4. This is a huge struggle for me right now. If I could say “I forgive you. Now, get out of my sight. I never want to see your face again this side of heaven.” It would be fine. I could handle that.
    I’m thinking that is not forgiveness.
    I love the CS Lewis quote. I think our forgiveness does have to be over and over (and over) again. Maybe it gets easier at some point, I don’t know yet! I guess it doesn’t even matter. We forgive, not because it makes life easier, although it might,but because we have been forgiven. If we have to keep doing it, OK. I have been haunted my whole life by ‘forgive and forget’ notions, which I now think are pretty much garbage. (It’s interesting the people who preach it, often won’t forgive or forget your difficulty forgiving! I guess in their mind being victimized must be the only true unforgivable sin.) I’ve seen a lot of denial, and a lot of numbness, but very little forgiveness. I think it’s only looking at Jesus that allows any movement forward. This is at least as hard as walking on water, and twice as scary.

  5. “Forgive!”…sounds so irritatingly simple.

    I’ve found it to be far from simple in reality. In my own experience of forgiveness its been a long ol’ process. From feeling afraid to acknowledge my own hurt feelings, questioning myself (it’s my fault) to being too afraid to express the hurt (in case I offend the offender) burning anger (and lots more)… its been a stage by sage process.

    I heard a timely talk on Heaven & Hell, preaching that Jesus’ agonising death on the cross was precisely due to the sins of my abusers and on judgement day, it would all be TOTALLY accounted for. All of it! This might sound somber but I found it liberating! The seriousness of sin deserves the seriousness of Christ’s death. God demonstrates his wrath and he’s quite clear, he hates sin. That’s his Gospel.

    I say all this because I’ve been told to forgive and forget, move on, get over it etc but this kind of advice always wants to gloss over something that is full of bumps and ridges that really need care and attention.

    In him, I am safe and loved. In him and through him I can face the poison of sin in my life and the sin of my abusers…even to their face! If its not possible to confront the people involved, sharing it with someone to help unravel the hurt caused is part of forgiveness. How can you forgive if you can’t face the reason/issue? It’s easy to say the words, “I forgive you” … but its really hard to forgive!

  6. Maz
    Over simplified indeed!
    Just had a long conversation with a sister I had not talked to in several years. She is not a safe person for me, but somehow I found myself being bullied into sharing way too much. She demanded to have a detailed account of any transgressions so she could decide whether I had grounds to consider it abusive! As if!
    When she uttered the forgive and forget line, I just wanted to weep…for her not me. Because of the lack of grace in her own dealings with me, I’m pretty sure her desire had nothing to do me living free of resentment, (the stated reason for her rabid pursuit), but more likely because she has “forgiven” and “forgotten” without even looking, and wants me to follow suit.
    So far, I can only muster a desire to forgive out of a place of owning of my own need for forgiveness.
    Forgetting takes too much purposeful twisting of the truth and powerful mental disorders to manage completely. I am so utterly tired of that way.

    You are so right. Christs death on the cross was serious because sin is serious and needed a serious remedy.

  7. …its a horrible place to be when your abuser asks for evidence of their abuse. I was once told that that question in it self shows the problem, they’re abusers in the way they treat people. Where’s the love!?

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