Forgiveness. It’s a basic concept for every Christian. This is the message of the “Good News”: through Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, God offers us forgiveness. Christ took on our sins so we could be reconciled with God, now and eternally. Our sins will no longer be held against us, and we are free from condemnation! We also know God asks us, in turn, to forgive others just as we have been forgiven.
Although every Christian woman can give a passable definition of forgiveness, and most can quote a Bible verse about it, few actually walk in the reality of it. Why? Because forgiveness fights against every desire we have for justice. Intuitively, we know that when we have sinned, we deserve consequences. Without realizing it, we often “sentence ourselves” to periods of depression and guilt to compensate for what we have done. We may sabotage relationships and gifts that could bring us pleasure because we know we don’t deserve such good things.
Although forgiveness is offered to us as a free gift, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost us something. How could something free cost us something? Isn’t that a contradiction? Think of it this way . . .
What if, out of the kindness of my heart, I offer you a free trip to Italy? Imagine I have reserved first-class seats for you to fly to Rome and spend a month roaming around Italy with all expenses paid. My gift to you is free. However, you may not choose to accept the trip because of the cost. Although the expenses are paid, accepting the gift would cost you your agenda for the next month. You would have to cancel everything on your schedule, probably affecting your work, family, and other responsibilities.1