The Challenge of Forgiveness


Yesterday I was reading in a book and the sentence that stood out to me said,

“Do not fear a challenge; see it as an opportunity.”

Oh yes.  Good one.

I often shy away from challenges. I think I can’t do it. I would rather not. But reading this sentence and noting some of the examples of people who embraced (rather than ran from) challenges made me pause for a moment. I wondered if I too, could become part of the tribe that loves a good challenge, rather than shrinks in the face of one.

After school one of my little ones was upset about a situation at school where he had been falsely accused of an aggressive act by another child in his class. Let’s just say that this is not the first time this has occurred this year. And we’ll just concede that there is obviously something going on inside the other child that makes him do {strange and injust} things like lie about getting punched by my child.

So after supper I got out my Bible and asked him what he thought the Bible said about this type of situation. “I dunno,” he responded grumpily. I then read the {rather tough} verses about loving our enemies. We talked about how difficult that was. We prayed. And we forgave. Definitely a challenge to forgive someone who hurts us. (Or someone who hurts our child). And yet, that is what Jesus says we are to do as followers of his.

I had posted that quote about challenges on our little white board, as a reminder to myself about choosing to see challenges as opportunities, rather than scary things that I want to run the other way from. When I returned from taking the kids to school this morning, I noticed that the quote had been modified:


I recognized the writing of my little guy.  He was trying to do what we had read about the evening before; he was trying not to hate the person who had hurt him. He was seeing it as a challenge and trying to see it as an opportunity.

God uses challenges to grow us to be more like His son. Sometimes it feels really hard.

Later on that day I read this quote from Joyce Meyer in her book Battlefield of the Mind:

When I initially began to see from the Word of God how I was supposed to live and behave, and compared it to where I was, I was always saying, “I want to do things Your way, God, but it is so hard.” The Lord led me to Deuteronomy 30:11 in which He says that His commandments are not too difficult or too far away. The reason our Lord’s commands are not too difficult for us is because He gives us His Spirit to work in us powerfully and to help us in all He has asked of us.  Things get hard when we are trying to do them independently without leaning on and relying on God’s grace… The Holy Spirit is in us and with us all the time to help us, to enable us to do what we cannot do – and, I might add, to do with ease what would be hard without Him.

Again, I was reminded of the importance of not relying on ourselves for the strength, but asking the Holy Spirit to ‘enable us to do what we cannot do’. This is the mystery of the Christian walk – that things we are not able to do in our own strength, we are able to do because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of Christ within.

We cannot.    But He can.    And He does.

Praise be to God!







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