To err is human; to forgive, divine. How true. And we (should all) know that forgiveness is not just commanded of us, but it is the only way for those that have been hurt to heal. The pain doesn’t go away by reliving the event- it goes away by forgiving and moving on.
And the forgiveness we receive will be based on the forgiveness we give (read Matthew 6:14 if you don’t know that already.)
Now, here’s the kicker: the forgiveness we receive from God is immediate, but we don’t fully realize it until we are dead. Meanwhile, here on Earth we have to suffer the consequences of the sin that we committed.
Actually, I will go as far as to say that, since everyone sins and most people don’t care if they do or not, the ones that usually suffer the most from sin are not the sinners, but the ones sinned against. Oh, yes- the sinners will suffer, but that is also just like forgiveness in that those who sin and continue to sin will cause great pain and suffering while alive, but when they are dead, without the forgiveness of Messiah to protect them, their suffering will be exponentially worse than any and all the suffering they caused while alive. When you find it hard to forgive someone, as I do, try to remember that little tidbit of information and picture in your mind, just for a moment, what they will be facing on Judgement Day and what they will have to endure for all eternity.
As bad as what they may have done, what they will have done to them is much worse.
Let’s see a few examples of what I am talking about from the Manual: Abraham is certainly with God and forgiven for the lies he told about Sarah, causing her to be taken as wife for two different kings, but the people under that king suffered; Moses is most certainly with God and forgiven of his sin of murder and at the rock at Meribah, but he didn’t get to enter the Promised Land; David is most certainly with God and forgiven of his sins of adultery and murder but the son he produced from it died; thousands died from the plague because of the census David ordered; the kingdom was torn apart because of the sins of Solomon and, eventually, because of the sins of the kings of both Shomron (the Northern kingdom, Israel) and Judea, the Jewish people were scattered amongst the Nations and taken into captivity.
Here were sins committed by people that God forgave, yet there was great suffering by many others, who had nothing to do with the origin or commitance of that sin.
Sin sucks; it hurts people that we don’t mean to or want to hurt, and it hurts us, too. The worst thing about sin is that it drives a wedge between us and God. The greater the number of sins, the greater the distance between us and God. The good news is that God is everywhere, so even though sin separates us from God, spiritually, He is still always right there, at arm’s length and ready to reach out His hand so we can take hold of it when we ask for forgiveness: there is no distance between us and God (caused by our sins) that puts us beyond God’s reach.
For me, the desire to not sin, my T’Shuvah, is based mainly on wanting to please God. It is also based on not wanting to hurt anyone, and finally it is also based on my desire to not have to suffer. I am not talking about eternal suffering, because I have that one covered- thank you, Yeshua, for your kippah of forgiveness that protects me from myself for all eternity. No, I mean I do not want to suffer here and now. If I hurt God by sinning against Him, I hurt. If I hurt others by sinning against them, I hurt. It is the Ruach HaKodesh, God’s holy spirit living in me, that causes me pain when I sin. Before I accepted Yeshua and asked (and received) the Ruach, it didn’t hurt me; well, maybe a little, but not as much as now. So now, knowing the pain of sin, I don’t want it!
Sin is one of those things that hurts now and hurts later; it hurts you and it hurts others, and the only way to avoid it is to just not do it. And yet, even if we sin less and less every day (that is an attainable goal) we will still be sinned against and be hurt by the sin of others. The only way to stop that pain is to forgive them.
Ah, but that….is another story!
God’s forgiveness of our sin is like His Kingdom: it exists, but hasn’t arrived yet. God’s forgiveness is given when asked for but not realized until later, yet the suffering our sin causes is here and now, and the “Earthly” consequences of that sin are unavoidable.