On Forgiveness: A Fight for the Promise of More?
The afternoon sun reached through the window, shining on my morning coffee. The day had passed without me. I pretended to not think about that Big Thing I really didn’t want to think about, but I’ve dealt with this heart of mine long enough to know that I can’t keep sneaking around it. When I finally invited God to speak into it, I heard a whisper: “It’s hard to forgive someone when they haven’t said they’re sorry.”
My tears fell. God summed up years of pain and confusion so gently. He validated my hurt — but with the same gentleness, exposed to me that I hadn’t forgiven. Over the years, I’ve done heart-work with God to erase these wounds, but as life kept going and paths kept crossing, new hurts and rejections and confusions layered on thicker. I knew I needed to forgive, but honestly, I didn’t see how forgiving would fix anything. It felt hopeless.
So some time ago, I just kind of tossed this prayer to the foot of the cross: “Jesus, just please fix it.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever thrown a prayer at Jesus, but in my experience, those sorts of prayers come back around for further examination. Here it stood, waiting in front of me, because what needed fixing resided inside of me. I could pretend it wasn’t there. God was saying that, even though this big, painful thing happened, what was happening inside of me held even greater consequence to my heart. Unforgiveness was tethering me to the pain.
I think of Jesus and how He, too, endured rejection and torment and anguish, with no apology or remorse from those who put Him there. But He didn’t fling a prayer at God. Instead, He suffered through the pain because He focused on what waited beyond it. He was pierced for us. He was crushed for us. He was beaten for us. By his wounds, we are healed (from Isaiah 53:5).
So, what if forgiving is actually about fighting for what follows the forgiveness? If Jesus could fight through the agony of the crucifixion because of the promise that He knew was waiting, then can I, too, see through my own hurt to the other side of forgiveness?
When I live from my unforgiveness, I lose sight of the rest of the beautiful story that Jesus wrote from the cross and the empty tomb. Sure, I fully embraced the part where He forgives me — yes, Lord, please and thank you. I need it. But when Jesus declared it was finished, He was claiming more for me than this. Tucked in those verses are victories that I’d overlooked: “…upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5, ESV).
He brought us peace.
He bought our healing.
When I’m paralyzed by unforgiveness, I miss the fullness of this new ending. If I haven’t forgiven, I’m not living in the peace He secured for me. When I don’t forgive, I’m not walking in the healing He bought with His life.
Am I so attached to the pain that I’m willing to give up peace?
As I write this, I can’t offer you a shiny bow or a victory lap, because this story is still unfolding. But I know this: wrapped up in this revelation over my cold coffee lies the gift of His wisdom. I think back to the prayer I tossed at Jesus, and I get it now. When I asked Jesus to fix it, I didn’t understand that He already did.
When I can empty those bitter, painful places, and invite His divine peace and healing to fill that freed space, I can finally, fully, receive the exchange that Jesus already made. From pain to victory. From sacrifice to restoration. From surrender to peace.
Not every hurt comes with an apology.
Not every rejection offers explanation.
Not every betrayal will reach resolution.
Not every pain will have an acknowledgement.
But. Even when forgiveness doesn’t come with reconciliation in my relationships, forgiveness will always reconcile me to God.
He already fixed it. It’s mine for the taking.
To receive email updates and insider-y scoop from Marnie, subscribe here.