Why Should We Forgive Those Who Mean Us Harm?
Yesterday, I disclosed My Secret Plan for America. That plan was simple but difficult. Maybe even painful.
The secret plan is to forgive the people who are bent on obliterating the United States. Forgive those who seek to hurt us and cause us to live out our lives in miserable poverty. Forgive those who want us dead. (And they are legion.)
Many people were underwhelmed, and I am grateful to all who commented on the post. (Some actually liked it.)
What if our enemies don’t want our forgiveness? And why should I forgive someone who refuses to acknowledge the great evil they’ve done? Someone who intends to do even more harm?
Those are good questions, and my answers might seem too simple to satisfy them. Nonetheless, let’s give it a shot. First, I will give a very practical reason to forgive enemies who do not repent. Then, I will give a much better reason.
Forgive For Your Own Sake
Until you forgive, you are bound to the offender like a slave. They own your emotional life. They live rent-free in your head. When you hear their name, you get angry. When you learn of something good happening for them, you feel slighted.
Forgiving sets you free.
Once you’ve forgiven your offender, your persecutor, your enemy, the chains that bound you to him melt like wax. Your regain control of your emotional life which had been in the control of your enemy. You might feel a bit superior and magnanimous. You are free to think whatever you wish. The enemy’s name no longer ruins your day.
So, forgive for your own sake, not for theirs. Forgive them so they no longer own your thoughts and feelings. Forgive them to free yourself from bondage. Forgive, bless, thank, and praise.
But that’s not the best reason to forgive.
Forgive For God’s Sake
Do you hate your enemies more than you love God?
As Christians we are called to imitate Christ Jesus. We are promised that if we are willing to imitate Him, the Holy Ghost will give us the grace to do so. When it comes to forgiveness, we will need all the grace we can get if we hope to forgive as Christ did.
I drew a lot of inspiration for this part of the post from an interview with John Piper on DesiringGod.org.
Let’s begin with Christ on the cross who forgave his torturers and executioners even as they continued to torture, belittle, and kill Him:
And Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But they, dividing his garments, cast lots (Luke 23:34).
We forgive our enemies in the first place because God told us to. God did not give us permission to forgive the repentant and contrite only. God forgives us as we forgive others. For myself, I have no idea how many times I’ve offended God. I’m sure I’ve sinned and forgotten to ask His forgiveness.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22)”
So, I am going to try to forgive everyone who sins against me, especially if they don’t ask for forgiveness. Especially if they don’t think they did anything to be forgiven for.
And that includes forgiving my enemies.
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you (Luke 6:27-28)."
So I will try to forgive, bless, and thank my unrepentant enemies and thank God for the opportunity to show mercy.
I know it’s not easy. But I have to do it. I have to. Why lose my salvation because someone else wrongs me?
Forgive to Defy the Devil
Last, consider this: The devil wants as many people as possible to go to hell.
One way the devil accomplishes this is by influencing certain people to offend us. When Antifa and the Democrats do us harm, and we repay them with seething hatred and perpetual grudges, the devil wins two souls instead of just one.
When we don’t forgive our unrepentant enemies, we do the devil’s work.
As I said yesterday, demons run amok in America these days. When we close the door on God, He opens a window for Satan. Every time we wish evil on others, even others who deserve it, we are conjuring demons.
If we truly love America, wouldn’t we try to bind and constrain all those nasty demons? Of course we would. But how?
Why not try forgiveness? Why not free ourselves from the chains that bind us to our oppressors? Why not seek interior freedom from the evil one by forgiving those who do not seek interior freedom? Why not do what Jesus commanded us to do and see it makes us feel? See if it, in some way, reduces all this demonic activity we see in our streets and homes every day?
Take a 9-Day Challenge
If you’re willing to give forgiveness a chance, try this.
For the next nine days, whenever you think about your enemies, especially individual enemies by name or face, silently say this prayer three times:
O God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee. (3x)
At the end of the nine days (January 24), come back to this post and tell us how it worked for you in the comments below.
Remember, happiness loves company.