We know we need to forgive. But what about those times when it’s impossible to do so. Then what? Actually, some sins against us really are humanly impossible to forgive, and God knows it. In these cases, we want the other party punished, and that’s natural. We may want them locked up for life without the possibility of parole. And, in some extreme cases, that’s natural. But how long does a life sentence actually last? The world record was served by Charles Fossard who was incarcerated for 70 years, 303 days. His sentence ended in 1974 when, at the age of 92, death finally released him from his cell. But what if it didn’t?
In the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Bootstrap Bill, who was cursed with eternal life, laments: “They strapped me to a cannon, I ended up on the bottom of the ocean, the weight of the water crushing down on me. Unable to move…unable to die”. Now, if you’ve watched this scene, perhaps you felt the horror of such a fate; eternal misery – unable to die. In truth, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.
So, what should you do when it’s impossible to forgive? First, identify the impossible and admit it to God. Say something like: “God, it’s impossible to forgive (this particular harm), and you know that it’s impossible, and you know why it’s impossible. I really want them to suffer. And even though I can’t forgive them, I want you to forgive them eventually so they don’t live for eternity in hell, unable to move…unable to die. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy”.
If you’re this brutally honest and sincere with God in this declaration, God will miraculously empower you to forgive. God will make what’s impossible possible. In fact, that’s exactly what He does all day long. And, the truth is, He wants you to have a miracle. God will take a rock-hard heart, made that way by you for your own emotional protection, and soften it. The weight of the “water crushing down on you” will be lifted from your shoulders. By God’s miraculous power, not by anything humanly possible, you will find yourself truly loving the unlovely.
But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. Psalm 130:4 NLT