The Expensive Gift – Forgiveness

“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women…” (Phil. 4:2)

In 2 Chronicles 13 and 14 we see how the civil wars increased the bloodshed due to revenge, fear and distrust. When one group was attacked, they had to retaliate. Then when the revenge was complete, the first group felt they had to avenge the deaths of their people, so the wars continued back and forth.

Here in Philippians, Paul is urging two ladies to live in peace, regardless of what happened. He even asks the others to jump in and help. If not, the same thing is repeated where we war with one another.

I am learning that the size of the sin committed against me is immaterial. But our world if filled with reasons to be at war.

But there is a Catch 22.

You see, due to distrust and greed, when one lays down his arms, the other takes advantage of that and attacks. So this causes people to be even cautious of admitting to wrong because the other will have reason for righteous retaliation, or… it makes people unwilling to give forgiveness because they feel that if they do, it lets bad people off the hook without any consequences.

It’s a Catch 22.

Forgiveness is not without its risks, but in the end, it is far better than retaliation. I remember October 2, 2006. A gunman, Charles Roberts, who, in the little Amish town of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, took hostage and finally killed five girls, ages 6-13.

On the day of the shooting, a CNN report said the grandfather of one of the murdered Amish girls was heard warning some young relatives not to hate the killer, saying, “We must not think evil of this man.” Another Amish father noted, “He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he’s standing before a just God.”

Forgiveness is expensive. It costs us our rights to retaliate. Forgiveness is the most expensive gift there is. It bankrupted heaven when Jesus brought forgiveness to us. But it’s the only thing that will stop the plague of retaliation and the endless cycle of counter attacks.

The Catch 22 however, is in place, and I don’t know if it is possible with fallen man. However, for those who are in Christ, we must begin this process. If it cannot happen with us, it will not with others who need His forgiveness so badly.

Dear Father, forgiveness is expensive, It is also risky at times, but at other times, it is not risky … just difficult. Please give us the strength to be quick forgivers. And I ask that you grant us, maybe not the culture of, but at least the courage of the Amish.

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