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Topic: Womanhood

Our Motivation for Forgiveness

February 20, 2014

courtesy of

By Jasmine Baucham

You say I should stay with you 

That Jesus forgives you

You pray I will, but I won’t

The difference is

Jesus loves you, I don’t  

As a general rule, I am not a country music fan, but the first time I heard Danielle Peck sing this song, I may have played it ten times in one sitting.

Now, at the time, I was a teenager who hadn’t really experienced much in the way of hurt demanding gut-wrenching acts of self-forgetfulness. I didn’t realize then, laughing at the twang of “Jesus loves you” and the pause between the sardonic, “I don’t” that all I needed to do was give it a few years, and it wouldn’t be so funny. Ephesians 4:32 is not easy stuff.

Hard to Heal Hurt

Growing up, I would have told you that I am terrible at holding grudges. My little brother would annoy me, and I’d be cracking up at his antics five minutes later. What I didn’t realize then, and what a lot of us don’t take into account when it comes to forgiveness, is that every single one of us has a little idol in our lives that, when knocked over, makes it tough to forgive.

Mine happens to be my sense of justice, which tends to verge on Sharia law at times.

Upset my idea of what is deserved or undeserved, and I’m all about toeing the hard line.

We all know that forgiveness is a thing that Christians are supposed to do. But some hurts are hard to heal. And some people who hurt us never actually get around to saying they’re sorry. And we know on the very surface that Jesus has to forgive, because Jesus has to love them.

But we don’t.

The Comparison Game 

Think of the hugest hurt you have ever experienced.

All of us have different levels of pain in our lives, different trials. So, give me a minute to explain before you run off thinking that we’re about to play the comparison game. If it makes you feel better, don’t even think about your biggest hurt.

Think about Joseph’s.

Think about the youngest son of a big family who, in trying to please his father, was alienated from his brothers, framed for a crime, and stuck in prison. Think of the opportunity he was faced with upon looking into the eyes of the eleven men -his own flesh and blood -who threw him down a hole and faked his death.

And think of how it pales in comparison to the Lamb of God forgoing a victory march through the very world he created and, instead, choosing a painful death on a cross.

Don’t compare your hurt to mine. And don’t compare your hurt to Joseph’s. Compare your hurt, instead, to the weight of the love that compelled Christ to bleed and die on the behalf of his beloved ones.

Whatever pain we’re holding onto pales in comparison to the weight of glory we behold in Christ.

Justice Juster Than God’s

When it comes to forgiving other believers then, we can continue thinking in that same vein. When I refuse to forgive another believer, I’m proclaiming that Christ’s atonement was enough to satisfy God, but not enough to satisfy me.

Christ’s substitutionary atonement accounted for every single sin committed by another believer against me (Isaiah 53:5). And God’s wrath is reserved for the sins of those who do not call upon his name (Romans 1:18). So, when I withhold my forgiveness from others, I’m either saying, “The sin you committed against me is bigger than Christ’s atoning sacrifice” or “The sin you committed against me merits the weight of my grudge and the wrath of God.”

Who do we think we are?

The failure to forgive treads dangerous ground. We elevate ourselves above God’s command and place ourselves in his judgment seat. “Yeah, yeah, God, I hear you, but you don’t know what I’m dealing with.”

God, I know you forgave my sin against your all-wise holiness. I know you poured out your wrath on your spotless son on my behalf. I know that he deserved none of the suffering of the cross, and that I and I alone should have carried the burden of my sin. I get all of that. But when someone sins against me, I’d rather just focus on my version of justice. Jesus loves me. I don’t love.

Joseph’s God and Ours

When presented with an opportunity to exact vengeance on his brothers, Joseph chose, instead, to point them to the overarching plan that God has for his glory:

His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. {Genesis 50:18-21}

He understood that God’s plan was bigger than his revenge. In this case, God’s plan included preserving the godly seed that would come through Judah’s line… a line that would have been snuffed out through famine had Judah not sold his brother into slavery and given him an opportunity to use his dreams and visions to impact the future of the known world (Genesis 41). This seed would be Christ Jesus (Revelation 5:5)

Joseph served a God that enabled him to love those who had sinned against him. Joseph was able to do this, not because they were inherently deserving or because he was inherently righteous, but because he understood that God’s providential hand had guided them to this point, and that God’s plan was bigger than his hurt, just as it had bigger than the jealousy that lead to that pain.

We serve the same God.

We serve a God who enables us to love and forgive others, not of our own power, but of the fount of forgiveness that has revolutionized our view of the world. Because Jesus loves, we love. Because he forgave, we forgive. Christ’s sacrifice became the bridge between us and God, sating his wrath and snuffing ours with his perfect finished work.


Jasmine is the oldest of Voddie and Bridget Baucham’s eight children. She is a homeschool graduate, holds a BA in English Literature, and is currently pursuing an Master of Arts in Religion.  Jasmine currently serves as a sixth grade teacher at a classical/university model school in Houston. She is the author of Joyfully at Home, and loves living at home where she continues to learn from her mother, enjoy her siblings, assist her father and others in research, and will begin studying at Reformed Theological Seminary this summer.




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