Who is ultimately to blame for the hurt in your life that you are having difficulty forgiving?
Some years ago my wife picked out a new washing machine, and the store delivered it. However, the transmission was faulty, and it spewed oil on our clothes. So we had it replaced. The second one they delivered had a dent in the front. That was replaced by a third one that was the wrong color. I called the store and complained. They said, “We will credit your account.” A month later the statement came–no credit. So I called again. They said, “Call this 800 number, and we will take care of it that way.” I called the 800 number. The next statement came–no credit. On and on it went. Finally, I’d had enough. I drove to the store and walked into the manager’s office. In a few minutes he fixed the problem. I learned an important lesson that day: when you want a problem solved, you need to go to the top. And it is the same way when it comes to dealing with hurts from your past. As long as you blame only other people, yourself, circumstances, or Satan, you will never complete the forgiveness process. Ultimately you must be willing to go to the top and acknowledge God’s role in the hurt you have experienced.
What is God’s role in our suffering? Job said, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (42:2). God can do whatever He wants to. And that means God has to take some responsibility for the hurt in your life. If God is really in control of everything, then He has to be held accountable for the hurts that we experience.
But this idea of forgiving God is offensive, if not blasphemous. After all, to say we need to forgive God implies that God has done something wrong, that He owes us for the wrong He has committed, and that we have the power to release God of the wrong He has committed. All three of those ideas are absolutely wrong. Make no mistake about it: There is no sin in God. There is nothing but goodness. Psalm 119:68 says, “You are good and do good.” Psalm 100:5 says, “The Lord is good.” Also, the Bible says we have no right to question God. In Romans 9:20-21, Paul said, “Who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay?” God is our creator. He can do whatever He chooses. That’s why I don’t like the term “forgiving God.”
I think a better term is “holding God accountable.” It is very important in the forgiveness process to acknowledge the role God plays in the hurts you experienced. You will never be able to let go of the hurt in your life until you allow God to assume some responsibility for that failed marriage, for that ended career, for that devastating illness, or for that tragic accident. Until you acknowledge God’s role in your suffering, you will never be able to forgive.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Who Do We Forgive?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.