It’s just like God to give me the opportunity to practice forgiveness a day after I write about how important it is to our spiritual and relational health. But isn’t that the way it usually goes? We ask for patience, and we immediately receive situations that require more patience than we have ever exhibited to that point. When you ask God for something that will cause you to grow, He usually gives it to you, but it rarely ever comes in the form we envision it.
As I worked through this new “opportunity” to forgive someone who had gone against his word and against the legal document he had signed, I weighed the pros and cons of forgiving this man, putting all of my thoughts and emotions on the table and sifting through them one by one. It was evident, no matter how I sliced it, that God had given me this moment as an evaluation of my heart, and I decided I would forgive this man, even though it felt awful to do so. I would call him, genuinely thank him for taking care of our house and sincerely wish him the best.
And that’s when it happened. Not five minutes after making this decision, I felt so proud of myself, I started treating the people I love in such an arrogant way as if to say, “Look at me, everybody. I’m such a great person because I chose to forgive someone.” How crazy is that?
If you’re an Evangelical Christan as I am, forgiving others is just par for the course; it’s what’s expected. To treat forgiveness as something great is like someone who wants to be praised for not robbing a bank, as if that were some great feat. But pride has a way of sneaking in and grabbing the spotlight of our hearts if we let it.
It’s important that we do the right thing in all situations, but it’s equally important that we not let pride rob us of the joy of doing the right thing. Because pride is never that far from any of us.