Forgiveness, reader, is, I think, something very much like hope and love, a powerful, wonderful thing. And a ridiculous thing, too. Isn’t it ridiculous, after all, to think that a son could forgive his father for beating the drum that sent him to his death? Isn’t it ridiculous to think that a mouse could ever forgive anyone for such perfidy? But still, here are the words Despereaux Tilling spoke to his father. He said, “I forgive you, Pa.”
The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo
Forgiveness is a ridiculous thing.
It doesn’t make sense. It’s ridiculous that after someone has wronged you, that you’d not make them pay for it. It’s ridiculous that you should absorb the cost for the crime someone committed against you and not exact retribution.
It’s ridiculous that God, who is infinitely kind and loving and blessed us with every good thing, after we rejected him, hated him, disobeyed his good and righteous laws, didn’t acknowledge him, failed to thank him for his good gifts, but took his good gifts and abused them for our own satisfaction, should forgive us. It’s ridiculous that after we spit in the face of his holiness and said “What God? I can rule myself,” that he should have any love for us, let alone be willing to absorb the cost himself.
And it’s a ridiculous thing that God should send his one and only Son, the perfectly obedient Son, the one who loved his holiness, the one who deserved honor and glory and praise, to suffer the infinite humiliation of becoming flesh, endure the worst temptations that Satan could throw at him without sinning, to love, feed and heal the rebels, only to be rejected, stripped, scourged, mocked, and nailed to a couple pieces of lumber.
And it’s ridiculous that God should then punish his own Son instead of those who did that to his Son. And it’s ridiculous that Jesus should cry out, “Father, forgive them,” then absorb the infinite fury that these rebels had stored up for themselves.
And it’s ridiculous that God should then call those rebels to himself, and let them off scott free. And not only that, to declare them righteous! When they weren’t righteous. To count his Son’s obedience to them as if they had lived his life. Then to adopt them as his own children. Then to seat them at his wedding feast and fill their souls with infinite joy forever and ever.
Forgiveness, reader is a ridiculous thing. A powerful, wonderful, ridiculous thing. And God now calls us to do to others what he did for us. To absorb the cost of being sinned against without exacting payment. To speak the words that God spoke to us, “I forgive you.”
Oh Father, thank you for speaking those wonderful, ridiculous, amazing words to us because of Jesus. Help us to speak them to those who sin against us. Because of Jesus.