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The Linchpin of Real Forgiveness

Real Forgiveness

“May the LORD judge between you and me, and may the LORD avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you” (1 Samuel 24:12 NASB).

Everyone gets hurt. Therefore, everyone must decide how they will respond when they get hurt. And you really have only one choice: You can forgive or take revenge.

Revenge has many forms. You can withdraw, ignore, retaliate with words or actions, gossip and slander to tear someone down, rise in anger, and on and on. But what you’re saying is: “You’ve hurt me; therefore, I’m going to take this matter into my own hands and hurt you back.”

A Change in Courtrooms

David had every human right to strike out against a man who was chasing him down like a dog, seeking to kill him. We would think retaliation would be reasonable.

But David trusted the sovereignty of God. God had said not to strike His anointed leader (even if he was in the wrong), and David chose to do what God said and leave the results to God.

God is big, and David decided to transfer the case from his courtroom to God’s, believing that the Lord could settle the score if needed. At the end of the day, he held nothing in his hands.

This transfer is called forgiveness. Paul emphasized this truth in Romans 12:17-19.

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

What’s in Your Hand?

Are you still holding a sword, against anyone? If so, relax your hand.

Trust that God is big enough to take care of those who have hurt you. Leave your case in the heavenly courtroom where it belongs.

Only then will you be able to obey the higher kingdom law that Jesus gave us to “love your enemies,” as you let the love of God be poured out in your heart through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 5:44; Romans 5:5).

This conquering love is what distinguishes us from our enemies. It shows a watching world we are united to the One who “demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners [enemies!], Christ died for us.”

Forgiveness is one of the most stunning witnesses you will ever give.

This article originally appeared here.