There is a unique war between forgiveness and fairness. They are always at odds with each other. I want to start with what you already know. You need to forgive that person in your life, but here’s why…
The “Sunday School” answer is we forgive others because God forgives us. That’s simple and the truth, but there is so much more to it. A lack of forgiveness puts you in a place where you’re not at peace at some level in your heart—especially when you’re around this person or thinking about them. You’re missing out on so much joy. Each moment is an opportunity for joy, but we usually only experience it when there is space in our heart to let it in. If there is someone you’re intentionally not forgiving right now, there is probably too much anger and bitterness in your heart to let lasting joy have a place to live.
Don’t wait for them to be sorry for their role in what happened. Truthfully it doesn’t matter if they’re sorry. Forgiveness isn’t a 50/50 thing. It’s not about what someone else thinks. It’s just you. That might seem unfair, and it is unfair. But it’s a good thing (but more on that in a bit). Human beings are obsessed with trying to make everyone be fair to us and give us what we deserve. But life is seldom (if ever) fair.
Would the world be better if we all got what we deserved, or if life was fair? Think it through with me. If we all got what we deserved, the world would be full of people wanting and waiting for others to be mean so we could get something from them. That’s fair, right? You hurt me; I get something from you. But God knew that fair would leave us focused on how others have hurt us rather than how God heals us. Fair reduces us to the worst we’ve ever done, but forgiveness raises us up to the best we can become. So God made grace so that life can be unfair in the best possible way. Grace makes the focus on what God has done for us rather than what others have done to us.
We are most like God when we forgive, so be unfairly kind, gracious, and forgiving to people. That’s the way you’ll experience God’s joy in your heart. That’s the way you’ll have peace, knowing you’ve done what you can and you’re trusting that God will fill the gaps with His love.
Listen to this Tenth Avenue North song on repeat. Seriously. For like 20 minutes. Really think about what it’s saying. I’m praying for you!