Giving Away the Right to Get Even
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Col 3:12-14 (ESV)
For-give-ness is not getting even: it is giving away the right to get even. [John Piper, The Passion of Jesus Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004), 36.] We have committed grave injustices in the world. In fact, we have acted in such a way that we place ourselves above all others. By our behavior, attitudes, and actions we have turned the world upside down by making ourselves the center of attention instead of God and his glory. When God forgives us, he chooses to forget all the wrongs that we have done to him and all damage that we have done to others. Because of Christ’s awesome and bloody sacrifice, God himself gives away the right to get even with us.
Nothing could be worse than refusing to forgive our neighbor of even the smallest wrongs when Christ died for us.
Gregory Nazianzen, Orations, 33:14.
I can never gain greater victory over the enemy than when, in the full tide of love, I forgive. There is nothing the devil hates more than a man who can forgive, because that man is acting in the very power of the life of God, which is triumph over evil.
G. Campbell Morgan, Petition in Prayer (iii), Daily Thoughts from Keswick: A Year’s Daily Readings, ed., Herbert F. Stevenson (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1980), 297.