Although we must forgive even when the offender is not repentant, forgiveness does not cancel out God’s righteous judgment. God is a just God. He will vindicate the innocent, and He will deal with the guilty. In Exodus 34: 6, 7, God calls Himself, “…The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and trangression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.”
It is our place to make the decision to forgive, but it is God’s place to sort out how to deal with the trespasses that have been committed. Some of us have suffered very deep wrongs — crimes against ourselves and our loved ones that are unthinkable. In the natural world order, we may forgive murderers and molesters who have wreaked havoc in our lives, but their wrongdoing must still be paid for in the criminal court system. Justice will be served. Consequences must be handed out.
The need for justice goes beyond criminal court cases in the natural world. When deep offenses take place, and we do our part to forgive, we can leave the injustices we have suffered in God’s hands. His sense of fairness is bigger than ours. He knows how to deal with it.
You may be thinking, “I forgave ___________, but I don’t think I can trust him anymore.” Maybe not. Forgiveness does not necessarily bring with it automatic trust. Forgiveness is to be given freely, but reestablishing trust takes time. Not trusting someone does not necessarily mean you are harboring unforgiveness toward him. To hand your wallet to a person who recently pilfered from you would not be wisdom. Neither would it be wise to immediately entrust a betrayer of your deepest secrets with more of the same. Restoration is a process.
This concludes the Forever Forgiven series of posts. May you find freedom in knowing that your forgiven sins are completely washed away. May you pass that same freedom on to others by forgiving them from the heart and choosing to remember their sins no longer.