Relevant Text: Is. 16:9-10

Broken | In Fall 2003, seven weeks before my wedding was meant to take place, my then-fiancé and I were having sushi and working out some of my doubts about our compatibility. Although he assured me that our differences were not dealbreakers, he failed to mention his own doubts – doubts that he had already shared with our pastor. Then, a week later, he called off our wedding. I was shocked and confused. Then sad and angry. By Spring 2004, however, I was pretty much over it. My boss had offered me a new job in New York and I was excited to get a fresh start. From what I heard, however, he wasn’t doing well. He was struggling with guilt, which had become mild depression. How was I supposed to feel about this? Should I have been happy that he was hurting, as he had hurt me? [1]

Weeping | In forgiving others, God calls us to grieve – not gloat – over their calamities. Solomon wrote, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased” [2]. When we do this, we bear the image and heart of our Father – who wept as He justly judged Moab: Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer … for over your summer fruit and your harvest the shout has ceased. And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field … I have put an end to the shouting[3].

Forgiving | No, forgiveness does not require us to ignore sin or its horrible consequences [4]. Yet, that doesn’t mean that we can be vindictive towards those who hurt or wrong us. When Thomas Watson asked, “When do we forgive others?”, he answered, “When we strive against all thoughts of revenge; when we will not do our enemies mischief, but wish well to them, grieve at their calamities, pray for them, seek reconciliation with them, and show ourselves ready on all occasions to relieve them” [5].

Praying | Lord, People wrong us all the time – whether it’s the person who has seriously injured us or the person on the subway who annoyed us. In all these instances, we struggle with wanting to get even. Yet, we know that you died for us when we were still your enemies. Therefore, we pray to stand in the power of your forgiveness, ready to love others with forgiving hearts. Amen.



How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.



[1] I do not mean to give a wrong impression about my ex-fiancé. He was – and is – a wonderful and godly man who made the right decision in a difficult situation. In no way was he my “enemy” in the sense that many in our world have enemies (e.g., victims of the Rwandan genocide or the German concentration camps). He was confused and that confusion unfortunately led to not sharing some relevant information. We have all done this, including me.  |  [2] Prov. 24:17-18 ESV  |  [3] Is. 16:9-10 ESV  |  [4] In his work, A Body of Divinity (published in 1692), Thomas Watson wrote about forgiveness. He said, “We are not bound to trust an enemy; but we are bound to forgive him.” Similarly, he asked, “Is God angry with his pardoned ones?” In other words, do the ones who have His forgiveness still incur punishment? His answer: “Though a child of God, after pardon, may incur his fatherly displeasure, yet his judicial wrath is removed. Though he may lay on the rod, yet has taken away the curse. Correction may befall the saints, but not destruction.” See also Heb. 8:12; 12:6, 10; 1 Sam. 13:14 and 2 Sam. 12:9-14 (David still lost the son he had with Bathsheba after he committed adultery); Num. 14:12-23 (the Israelites were still prohibited from entering the Promised Land after they failed to trust that God would fight for them); Ps. 99:8.  |  [5] A Body of Divinity (published in 1692).