Forgiveness requires sacrifice on the part of the forgiver.
God sacrificed His son and Jesus sacrificed His life so that we could be forgiven. God didn't want to be separated from us so He made that sacrifice. So that he could have a relationship with us. That forgiveness offer is available to anyone who accepts it, but it only changes the nature of our relationship with Him when we accept it. If someone doesn't accept it, the relationship is not restored... in fact, there is no relationship. And that sin still separates and grieves the Lord. In fact, my sin still grieves the Lord even though I can ask for forgiveness and receive reconciliation.
Forgiveness is offered over and over again.
God continues to forgive me even when I sin repeatedly. He accepts my repentance every single time. He never says, "Sorry, that is the 70×8th time you've done that... we are done." Oh my, I'm so thankful He doesn't.
The difficulty we have—those of us who forgive because we are called to not because it was asked for by the offender—is that we must often deal with repeatedly being offended and continually having to offer forgiveness.
What has helped me immensely is understanding that I have truly been forgiven so very much and that, but for the grace of God, I could be that offender... that person who rebels. I could be rotten... well, rottener. That gives me a measure of grace for my ex.
I see that often forgiveness is like love... it's a choice I make, something I do even if I don't feel it. I decide I'm going to be gracious and kind, and I act that way. But that gracious kind way might have to come after a little bit of fussiness and anger.
But honestly, to think that the lousy things my ex-husband does are not gonna bug me? Really. (Please comment if you have no problem with that sort of thing and tell me how you do it!)
I love my kids and when they are hurting my mama bear comes out... can't seem to help that.
And that brings me to my second point...
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