Maybe we all have a bit of emotional sadism in us – when we have been hurt by someone, a part of us enjoys seeing them suffer as well. And this makes forgiveness difficult.
This is not something we would readily admit, but naming it may help us to move toward forgiveness.
When someone hurts us they are now in our debt. While we hate being hurt, we might still enjoy the fact that they now owe us.
And our pride then makes it very difficult to forgive them of this debt.
To forgive means we no longer have leverage over them. There is nothing they now owe us, or anything we can hold over their heads.
It takes a lot of strength to forgive – to no longer hold someone’s wrongs against them, even though it cost us greatly.
But living as mature men and the true sons of God requires us to learn the art of forgiveness.
And this is an art we need to practice particularly in relationship with our fathers, the church, and with other men.
Forgiving Our Fathers
While well-meaning, our fathers were not perfect. We all suffer from a father wound. It is easy to hold on to bitterness and blame our fathers for not being all we wanted them to be.
And as much as we might want them to suffer for the ways in which they have failed us, it is time for us to forgive. It is time to release our fathers from the debt of their failures.
This does not excuse or minimize the ways in which they have hurt us, but it no longer holds it against them and opens the door for our healing.
Forgiving the Church
The church failed to prepare us to live in this world as sexual men. While a lot of prohibitions were given, a true sexual discipleship was not offered.
Again, it would be easy to blame and leave the church for it’s many shortcomings. Even here, it is time to forgive and offer our strength again.
Forgiving Other Men
We might have hoped other men would have picked up the slack where the church and our fathers failed. But unfortunately, many men in our life remain blissfully shallow and cannot offer a refining strength for our growth into manhood.
Once again, our temptation might be to reject and dismiss the men in our life, but the call remains to humble our pride and forgive.
Forgiveness opens the door for us to receive all that God has for us – from our fathers, the church, and other men. We shortchange his work when we fail to forgive.
Don’t let pride or the pleasure of seeing others suffer hold you back.
Learn the art of forgiveness and grow into the fullness of your strength.