At times I can be a very emotional person. There are times that I cry. There, I said it. Something like that is hard for a man to own up to but as I sat in the movie theater Sunday wiping away tears from my eyes after watching the movie “I Can Only Imagine” the power of redemption overtook my emotions.
I wasn’t the only one. I heard many sniffles from the people around me. We were all taken in from the emotional workout we had just experienced from watching the story of Bart Millard of the Christian Music group MercyMe.
As I think about this movie, I can tell you that as long as there is a God there is a chance and a hope for redemption. I’m just crazy enough to believe that.
Forgiveness is hard. Let’s be honest. In fact, I think it is the hardest thing that a person can do. The only way it can truly work is from both sides. It is especially difficult if you are the person who was wronged to let go of the hurt and the memories that are burned into the scars of your life and to set the offender free. We don’t like pardoning people. Not in this day and world that we live. We want people to pay. We want revenge. We want them to hurt as badly as they hurt us. We don’t want to hear about forgiving anyone or cutting someone loose.
It’s hard I won’t lie. I have always been passionate about defending myself when I have been wrongly accused. I can get pretty worked up about it too. I don’t like to be wrongly accused but it happens. It’s not right or fair. Life isn’t fair. If we live and we feel we will most assuredly be hurt by someone. I know you don’t like reading this and I honestly don’t like writing it.
Redemption is hard. We want people to pay.
In the movie, Dennis Quaid plays, Arthur, the abusive father who tries to make things right with his son, Bart. Bart has a hard time dealing with the change in his father. His father is at a loss on how he can possibly make up for the years of hurt and pain he caused his son. Sometimes we all have relationships that have gone past the point of no return. The hurts run deep. So deep that there is no possible way to make up for it. Unfortunately none of us have a time machine that can go back and correct the hurts we have caused in the past.
So what does God expect from us? Well, you’re not going to like this but He expects us to forgive – and not just one time either. He’s also not into the “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” rule. When Jesus was asked about this He said 70 x 7. So, in other words, we are ALWAYS supposed to be good at forgiving. Let me say that God also expects us to use our brains too and not keep put ourselves in a position to where we have to forgive someone that is taking advantage of us either. If someone keeps stealing from you at some people you need to forgive them and stop giving them money.
God is kinda big on forgiveness. We also hear the other part that is usually tagged onto this and that is forgetting. Letting it go. Now that’s a hard one to digest isn’t it? Love is the key to letting things go. It has to be. If you don’t let things go then there is no forgiveness.
Sometimes the forgiveness never comes and the other party dies. What then? Are we doomed forever in the land of unforgiveness? No. Even if the deceased person is no longer here, we still must deal with it. Some suggest getting a chair and talking it out as if the other person is sitting there. I’m not sure if that works or not but we must do what works to resolve it. We hold onto things way too long and it messes up every other relationship we have with people. We hurt so we unintentionally hurt others when we don’t deal with it. Get it resolved one way or the other.
What if the other person is unwilling?
That’s a hard one. Maybe you want to redeem your relationship but the other person does not give a thought about it and has no interest in it. All I can tell you is to let it go on your end and be open. Never shut the door. Believe in the power of redemption. You know, if one thing I learned from the movie is that God is always working and sometimes we never see what He’s doing in people or how He’s working behind the scenes. As hard as it is for us to believe that God does not give us a report of what He’s doing, He’s doing what He wants and will work in whatever way to bring redemption.
Yes, I’m crazy enough to believe that.
I am an emotional guy. I can’t help it. That’s who I am. I believe that redemption is possible. It’s hard to believe it when you can’t see it happening.
It’s true that there are some relationships that are never restored but, as the old hymnal goes – “We’ll Understand It Better By and By”. As long as there is a God, there is a hope for redemption.