“This isn’t fair!” I screamed.
The storm doors never felt like such a terror to open, as I rushed out to the front porch in tears. Just three days after our Macbook tattle-tailed my husband’s double life, God called me to a form of voluntary suffering when He whispered; “Forgive Burris.”
I couldn’t stop shivering.
“I didn’t deserve this! How dare you ask me to forgive him, and this quickly!” I wrestled aloud.
Maybe it was the crisp October evening air in Northern Michigan that sent my body shuddering to keep itself warm, but I am not convinced that it wasn’t the realization of this weighty truth; as a Christian, I have signed my rights away to unforgiveness.
Tears flowing down my face, I winced at the idea of this unreasonable request. You see, when I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I planned to hang my husband for his sin, I wasn’t kidding. This deed of adultery was my royal flush, giving me power to avenge any pay back of my choosing.
Oh I know. I am first in line to admit that I have said yes and amen to many a sermon talking about forgiving your brother. You know the scriptures well, where Peter turns to Jesus and asks him “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (Matthew 18:21)
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:22)
Ok. This is all fine and dandy when we are talking about two believers failing to be kind toward one another when they disagree about an open handed issue in the church, but we are talking about my believer husband who had been caught in adultery.
One time forgiveness felt impossible, let alone seven. It just didn’t make sense.
Forgiveness would be an exchange of my “power” in the flesh, in order to receive healing and power bestowed as a gift from on high. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like a mature Christian at all, rather, I felt like one of the disciples who didn’t count the cost of following Christ;
“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27-33)
Forgiveness, the very basis of Christianity, is a glorious opportunity to understand the weight of the cross.
Could it be that forgiveness, while utterly painful at the beginning, would be the very platform in which I would see the great cost of being a forgiven sinner? Is there a kind of suffering, for the sake of setting someone free their debt, that would usher me into the throne room of grace in a way I would have never otherwise known?
Head in my hands, I couldn’t decide on that porch right then and there, but for reasons of Godly proportions, I was unable to turn away from His Whisper. Who else, but God himself, knows the pain for forgiving an adulterous people?