Ridiculous Forgiveness

The Ridiculousness of Forgiveness Part 2

Dragging myself to bed, it was nearly 1am. Day 4 since the exposure, and 5 hours since The Whisper called me to forgive. Fan humming, my two sleeping girls recharged their bodies with every inhale and exhale, but for me it would be another sleepless night with our unborn. My son tumbling warm in his womb, chiming in to my quiet whimper with the nudge of his heel,  and I am unable to deny that God grows life in the midst of sorrow.

Jesus, I welcome you into this violation.

Hand rubbing belly, the inward conversation began. I had not spoken to the Lord since yelling at him on the porch, but His hovering wouldn’t go away, for where could I go where His presence would not be (psalm 139:7)? “Jesus, I see that cross you are asking me to bear. Its not what I want, but I remember that you also asked our Father for another way (Matt 26:39), to the point of sweating blood. I don’t understand, and haven’t a clue how to do this, because I am not sure I have ever really forgiven anyone of something this costly. Nonetheless, I invite you into this violation.” 

I begin sobbing.

Hot tears streaming down my cheeks, my belly begins to contract. Dehydration was having its way with my body, as stress was making it difficult to drink water without feeling nausea. I may not be sweating blood, but my pain, it matters. I matter. For the first time in my life, I could see how costly it was to forgive my sin upon the cross, and how much I must have mattered to God, that he would take my transgression and suffer in my place.

“I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)

I close my eyes and The Lover of My Soul shows me my cross.

Written on it was the entire affair in all its gory detail. Countless hours of flirtatious conversation, the exchange of many photos, lies upon lies, the double life. Its heavy, full of sensual demise, and I am wondering how its even possible to pick it up, let alone carry it.

Don’t forget the nails. Or the hammer.

Long metal rods driven in by hammer would be every time I chose to hold back taking vengeance into my own hands; every time I chose against reminding Burris of the “great mercy” I had for him by granting pardon (self righteousness); every time I chose to pursue him warm and tenderly instead of avoiding him or being frigid; every time I chose not to diminish him in the presence of others; every time I refuse to ask people to “pray for him” in the spirit of gossip.

Oh, and the spear in the side.

The finale would prove most difficult for me; The refusal of playing back the offense in order to keep the loss fresh in my mind. It would mean relinquishing my fleshly desire to see him suffer, in exchange for the Spirit within me who prays that he would be restored in repentance.

He is not my enemy, but my brother, friend, lover…

Now 3am, I sleep, knowing that my husband would be set free, with great cost, and in no way would I ever be alone in my suffering.

The Ridiculousness of Forgiveness - Part 1

“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?