This is my baby boy, Jack. Better known as Bubba to the rest of us. Every proper Southern family has to have a Bubba. And while every other family has a Bubba, none has one like mine. Mine loves with his whole heart. Gives everything he’s got. Mine forgives to the point of hurting and hugs like a warm blanket. I have a lot to learn from my little guy. He’s teaching me about forgiveness. For him it’s simple. God said do it, so you do it. You cry your tears, because it’s ok for mommies to cry. And you pray, because you need Jesus to do this. Then you forgive.
But I ask my son, “What if I don’t want to forgive?”
“Well, why would you not want to forgive? God said we have to forgive, like He forgave us.”
“Yes, but it hurts. So and so really hurt my feelings. He broke my heart. If I forgive him, then he won” I, the adult, say to the kid.
“Well, what did he win, mom, if you forgive?”
And his question stops me in the middle of my preconceived ideas and answers. What did the other person win if I forgive? Does it mean I let that hurtful person back in my life? Not necessarily. Does it mean that he or she won a spot back in my heart? Nope, not at all. Does it mean that he or she won some epic unseen battle? Nope. Jesus already won the epic unseen battle. So what does the other person win when I choose to forgive? Nothing. Absolutely nothing because it wasn’t a game to begin with.
There is a song out called “Loosing” by Tenth Avenue North that summarizes how I feel about forgiving. I feel like I’m loosing. I have been wronged. Someone did something to me that hurt me. If I forgive him or her, than that means I condone what they’ve done. Right? Wrong! Forgiveness, as I’m learning, does not mean that what the other person did was right. Forgiveness means letting go of something you can’t control so that God can heal your wound. Forgiveness is the first step to righteous and full healing.
But when you forgive, you will lose something. Pride. You’ll lose your pride which is something we desperately cling to. However, is that necessarily a bad thing? I’m pretty sure the Bible says that pride comes before destruction. And holding onto that anger causes destruction. It causes bitterness. And all that anger, bitterness, loathing and hatred doesn’t necessarily affect the other person like we desire. Instead, it destroys us from the inside out. The refrain of the song says this:
Why do we think that hate’s gonna change their heart?
We’re up in arms over wars that don’t need to be fought
But pride won’t let us lay our weapons on the ground
We build our bridges up but just to burn them down
We think pain is owed apologies and then it’ll stop
But truth be told it doesn’t matter if they’re sorry or not
Freedom comes when we surrender to the sound
Of mercy and Your grace, Father, send Your angels down
So, my son, I’ll forgive because in loosing my pride I gain freedom. I find freedom to move beyond the hurt. I find freedom to move beyond the anger. To move beyond the past. God never meant to for us to be held down by another person’s sins. So let it go. You’re not loosing anything but chains. I’m loosing shackles that would hold me down. I’m releasing myself from someone else’s pains and burdens so that I can soar with Christ, run this good race, fight this good fight. God has a calling on my life and it was never meant to be “victim”. It is meant to be “overcomer”.
And does the world understand forgiveness? Nope, they sure don’t. The world doesn’t understand forgiveness because it has never experienced Christ’s forgiveness. How can I hold someone’s sin over his or her head when Christ never once did that to me? How can I be more angry at how someone treated me when I’ve treated my Savior ten times worse yet He still loves me? Oh, the world will call me a fool. As King David said, “I will be even more undignified than this.” Call me a fool. I’m ok with that. God’s ways confuse the wisest of the wise. So let me be a simple child that knows when to let go, when to forgive, when to love, when to hope. After all, Jesus said to come to Him like a little child.
My sweet little Bubba, the wisdom you have at such a young age. You stumped me. I’m loosing nothing, baby, absolutely nothing. 🙂