The Pain of Forgiveness



Key Bible Verse: Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. (Proverbs 10:12, NIV)

Dig Deeper: Romans 12:17-21

Bishop John Rucyahana, serving amidst the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide said, “If a woman who was raped and beaten and forced to watch as her husband and children were tortured and killed before her very eyes can forgive in the name of Jesus Christ those who did such a horrible thing, then any victim anywhere, can forgive in the same way.”

To forgive is to experience pain twice. First, there is the pain of the offence, and then there is the pain of forgiving. Jesus felt this double-pain as well. First He experienced the broken heart of having his creation defiantly choose the path apart from him, and then he endured the second pain of the cross. In Christ we see that to forgive is a pain-absorbing way of life.

This is what make forgiveness so difficult. It requires that we take on more pain in the midst of pain. Jesus didn’t wait for the pain of the cross to pass before offering forgiveness. he didn’t speak the words, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing, ” after the resurrection but during the crucifixion (Luke 23:34).

Source of the quote: John Rucyahana with James Riordan, the Bishop of Rwanda: Finding Forgiveness Amidst a Pile of Bones (Thomas Nelson, 2007), 221.

– Robert Gelinas in Living Sacrifice

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