by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
I’m angry right now. A deep down hurt laced with anger, and it’s stuck in my craw. I’m holding a grudge and trying to justify it to God. It won’t work. Unforgiveness is never justified. I know I’m being stubborn. So I’m wrestling it out with God. Here are the rules of our wrestling match; I can tell Him it hurts, and I can say to Him I was wounded, but I can’t tell Him forgiveness is hard. Especially not at Christmas time, when I’m surrounded by evidence of how hard it was for Him to forgive me.
We look at the manger scene and take it for granted. Yep, there’s baby Jesus, asleep in the hay. Do you ever stop and think what it took to get Him there? Prior to Him being placed as an embryo in Mary’s womb, He had existed for all eternity. I don’t know what form He had, but it was not flesh, or the Bible wouldn’t say “the Word became flesh.” I bet He looked a lot like unapproachable light. Breathtaking and beautiful. He was never tired, hungry, felt pain, or had a hard day. He had never been separated from the Father. He existed in an eternal state of bliss and held all the wisdom of the universe in His omnipresent brain.
He went from that to this. The Father had to entrust His beloved Son to the care of a teenage girl. I know parents who won’t leave their kids in the church nursery, but God placed Jesus in the hands of men. Jesus had to experience dirty diapers, hunger, pain, dependency, and submission. The Word had to learn to speak Hebrew. And He, who had written the Torah (Law), had to learn it.
If that isn’t astonishing enough, He did it all without sin. He never had evil thoughts about His parents or his siblings. He was always humble. He was the only one on the face of the planet who had a reason to feel uppity, and He didn’t. He never held a grudge, not even when they nailed Him to a tree. Then He became our sin. My current sins of unforgiveness and pride were placed in His body as He died. He took the judgment for our sin and buried it in the grave. Then He rose from the dead. All this was so we could be reconciled to the Father. Geez and Wow!! Now that’s the definition of hard!
I used to wonder why Jesus had to come in the flesh. But now (especially whenI’m being a stubborn a**) I realize He had to come because I am so bad Jesus had to die to move my mountain of sin off me. So are you. That’s why, even when I’m sitting here, all up in my emotions and feeling hurt, I won’t tell God that forgiving someone is hard. Forgiving me was hard. Forgiving you was hard.
Now that he lives inside me, He won’t let me rest until I extend forgiveness to others. Even as I write this, I feel Him winning the wrestling match. I’m so grateful to Him for that because being hurt and angry is awful!
How about you? As Christmas approaches is there anyone you should be in contact with, but can’t bring yourself to forgive because you think it’s too “hard?” This is my plea for you to wrestle it out with God. You already know the rules. You can cry, you can tell Him why it hurts, you can do all that. You just can’t tell Him it’s hard. Not in the light of what hard really is. Now, it’s Christmas. Quit being a stubborn a** and extend some Christmas forgiveness.