“I may never know why this happened to me on this side of eternity. But even though I don’t have all the answers, I’ve learned that God will never leave me – and that he can take a broken heart and mend it back together again.” – Me Ra Koh, “Beauty Restored”
“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
In her book, Me Ra Koh tells her story of criminal abuse by a boyfriend, struggle, and victory. Her key to victory? Forgiveness. She forgave the man who, even though she pressed charges against him, “got away with it.” She forgave the man who had driven her almost to suicide. She forgave the man she hated. She forgave the man who deserved hatred. It makes no sense in the eyes of one unenlightened by the Gospel to forgive in the face of abuse and injustice. Yet that is how she set herself free.
Truth be told, much of what we believe in the Gospel makes no sense if we use only human reasoning. Why does a holy God put up with us? Why did a sinless Deity send His perfect Son not only to teach us but to save us through awful suffering – at our hands? Why did a perfect God create imperfect humanity in the first place, knowing what He would be doing to redeem His imperfect creation? So many questions.
Nevertheless, here we are, questions and all. And if we have learned anything from Scripture, we have learned that much good that comes from foregoing vengeance. Joseph participated in the advance of the Kingdom of God when he forgave his brothers. David showed us the true meaning of love and loyalty when he not only refused to destroy wicked Saul, but also blessed his last surviving descendant, Mephibosheth. Stephen imitated Christ when he, dying, said, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” And Jesus, though “He could have called ten thousand angels” nevertheless died for us, paying the awful price our sin demanded.
When we, imitating Christ, leave vengeance to God, we set ourselves free. To do so makes no sense to those driven by desire rather than walking in the Spirit. To do so is contrary to human reasoning. The very idea that forgiving one who “has it coming to him” will bless us now and in Eternity seems, to the world and to worldly “Christians,” preposterous!
But it works. God makes it work. Love your enemies and do good to them. It’ll be good for you!