“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:10
“I forgive so and so,” I said. “And this person,” I continued. “And I forgive that person. And oh, yeah, I forgive that one also.” I went on – and on. I was sitting with a friend and sister in the Lord years ago saying aloud to the Lord whom I was choosing to forgive in obedience to His command for us to forgive others. My friend, who was essentially mentoring me at the time, was encouraging me to think of everyone I needed to forgive – and to go ahead and do it. But there were two problems, I see in retrospect. First, saying aloud I forgive someone is entirely different than actually forgiving the person. Forgiveness is not a matter of the mouth; it’s an issue of the heart and ultimately the words and actions that emanate from the heart. The second was this.
“And I forgive you, God,” I said aloud. And just when I was about to continue, my friend cut me off. How dare she! I was so incredibly proud of myself! Suffice it to say I was absolutely oblivious back then to how much God despises the sin of pride, and to how much of it I had – and still do if I don’t stay on top of it and continually repent as needed. In my prideful opinion, I was doing exactly what I was supposed to do! I was forgiving everyone I needed to forgive – including God! How could she interrupt me?! Just when I was on a roll of forgiving everyone!
“Why are you forgiving God?” my friend essentially said, though I can’t all these years later remember the exact words we spoke. The essential conversation, and accompanying message, however, remain with me.
“Because I’ve been angry at God! I need to forgive Him!” surely I exclaimed. As the pride oozed from me – so filled I was with it!
“God hasn’t done anything wrong, Lara,” she explained.
I can’t say I honestly believed her back then. I wasn’t grounded in the Lord and His Word. I am now. So I understand. The truth. God’s Truth.
Why years later now did I recall this? Because I was struggling again with being angry at God about something. But this time I knew better. God is sovereign, all powerful, all wise, all righteous, all holy. He is always right. He always knows what’s best. He never does wrong. He never needs our forgiveness. And my anger against Him is sin I need to repent of. It comes from a lack of trust in Him and from pride and self-righteousness, from being self-centered, etc. All sin I need to repent of. Instead of pridefully telling God I forgive Him, I need to humbly ask Him to forgive me! What a relief, and blessing from God, it is to repent and be forgiven, to place my trust back in Him where it belongs, and instead of being angry with God, to be thankful instead because He is Lord!