So I've been reading this great book by Tim Keller, The Reason for God. I have to say that I highly recommend it if you haven't already read it. Tim Keller is gracious and wise in this book in which he makes the case that belief in God is more plausible and reasonable than rejecting him. I thought I would share a little bit of his thoughts on forgiveness. Keller is answering the question of why Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins. Couldn't God just forgive us?
"This is what many may ask, but now we can see that no one 'just' forgives, if the evil is serious. Forgiveness means bearing the cost instead of making the wrongdoer do it. Everyone who forgives great evil goes through a death into resurrection, and experiences nails, blood, sweat, and tears... As Bonhoeffer says, everyone who forgives someone bears the other's sins. On the Cross we see God doing visibly and cosmically what every human being must do to forgive someone."
I was struck by how watered down my view of forgiveness is. I find myself thinking it is just some emotional change of heart toward someone. But, as Keller says, it is much more than that. It is bearing a debt they owe you just as Christ did for us on the cross. "You have hurt me (whether its physically, emotionally, etc.) and owe me a debt. But, I will cancel and bear that debt out of love for you." Christ has given me infinite forgiveness in the Cross. Who am I to withhold forgiveness from others?