Forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian faith, but it’s such a difficult concept to understand in our culture. Currently, everything is either permitted or unforgivable.
Part of this unwillingness to grapple with the notion is the understandable concern that forgiveness means saying that damaging and painful things that have been done are somehow “okay”. But real biblical forgiveness means recognizing that painful things that have been done to us by someone else are genuinely broken and wrong but choosing to carry that pain on oneself and not turn it back on them. One alternative way to deal with this sort of pain is to avoid the party who has caused pain, but biblical forgiveness means embracing the pain that’s been caused for the purpose of alleviating it from the person who’s caused it.
Chuck and Aaron talk about the problem of forgiving someone who is not willing to ask for forgiveness, and discuss the possibility of fostering a heart that is prepared to forgive when forgiveness is asked for but not feel the pressure to forgive someone who doesn’t want forgiveness. For Christians, all talk about forgiveness must always come from and always circle back to the God who takes the pain of his rebellious creatures on himself, on the cross, in order to forgive us and take that pain away from us.