Do We Need to Forgive God?

Hello weekend readers. A while ago I listened to a podcast from Lysa TerKuerst, a fellow writer and friend. She has a new book out called Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, and I highly recommend it.

In the “me-first-culture” we live in, forgiveness has taken a back seat. For some, it’s a flippant, “sorry” and for others it’s just a brush-off daily encounter. Whether you are the one who needs that forgiveness or the one who needs to give forgiveness to others, the whole act of forgiveness is always a 2-way street. It hurts when we are hurt, period!

But here’s a new thought: do we need to forgive God? This sounds crazy–who forgives a perfect being? God is never wrong—ever! So, why would I need to forgive God? It’s not because God needs forgiveness, but because WE need to have forgiven God!

Do you know anyone who is harboring a grudge because God didn’t do what they wanted? Is this you? Sometimes we are doing that but we don’t realize it or worse yet, acknowledge it. I remember a time I was so deeply hurt by a pastor that I refused to go to communion if that pastor was on that Sunday. I look back in shame at being so pig-headed, and I regret not coming to the Lord’s Table for healing and wisdom. Oh how we stuff things that simmer in the corners of our mind until forgiveness seems impossible.

We pray but how often is the answer to that prayer not what we thought it would be? And how often have we prayed knowing, deep-down-inside, that this is not something God will even sanction much less do. Like Lysa, I often have prayer requests hoping what God will do without seeing what God has already done today! How many answered prayers do I miss?

God’s love for us is so deep yet we expect to put the prayer in the slot, push what we want, and voila!—it comes out just as we like. God’s answers to us are not from a vending machine or an Amazon Prime delivery! God’s answers are in God’s time and in God’s wisdom. When Amazon is late or the product is not what we want, how do we react? I’m guessing just about the way we react when God doesn’t produce what we want either.

So do we need to forgive God for this? It’s not God we forgive, it’s us that needs to forgive how we’ve acted with our anger and bad thoughts toward God! It’s not a bargaining chip either. It’s a contrite prayer that helps in times of our confusion. 1 Corinthians 13:12 [NLT] explains it this way:

Now we see things imperfectly,
like puzzling reflections in a mirror,
but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.
All that I know now is partial and incomplete,
but then I will know everything completely,
just as God now knows me completely.

No matter what we think we need, in essence, only God can see what’s missing in our lives. Our lives are still a puzzle that isn’t finished, but we need to remember that God sees our lives as crystal clear. C.S. Lewis created a beautiful word picture that is helpful in times of confusion. He wrote: ‘Think of yourself as a house God is renovating. We think we know what work needs to be done…some small repairs here and there…and then God starts knocking down walls! We are confused and feeling the pain of this level of rebuilding. But maybe God’s vision is much different than ours. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but God is building a palace and intends to come and live in it Himself.’

Wow—we see a cottage and God sees a palace! Our lives see destruction, but God sees construction. Our human minds will never comprehend the mind of God and it is no wonder we can get upset when we think God is not doing what WE want. So, go ahead, say “God, I must forgive the thoughts that I have had toward you when I don’t understand your ways. Will you forgive me for my poor understanding? Show me the way I should go, and help me to trust you deeper every day, especially when I am confused and hurting.”

God’s faithfulness doesn’t mean he will align with your prayers. No, God’s faithfulness is bringing you into his heart where you become more and more assured that what God does is always good…even if you are mad at God Remember, God doesn’t need forgiveness but we do and it is in the conversations with our loving God that hope is refreshed and trust is renewed. I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait to enjoy my palace…AMEN!