When forgiveness costs more than you desire to pay

He was lying, and she knew it, but she couldn’t prove it.

After 30 minutes of tears and denial we suspected she was right. But, he clung to his lie like a drowning man, misplaced hope in concrete shoes.

Fearful eyes flashed. Will he be exposed? And what will be the consequence for his dogmatic refusal to repent?

And they face off. Neither budging. Voices rising. Tears flowing.

I tug her aside to consider forgiveness. Undeserved, unmerited mercy gifted to him because she loves him. She can’t make him confess or apologize, but she can forgive him KNOWING he is wrong and unrepentant.

Her wet tears dampen my t-shirt as she considers the cost of letting go of her righteous anger. Forgiveness always comes at a cost.

“Mercy and forgiveness must be free and unmerited to the wrongdoer. If the wrongdoer has to do something to merit it, than it isn’t mercy, but forgiveness always comes at a cost to the one granting the forgiveness.”

~ Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God: Recovering the heart of the Christian faith.

Christ freely extends forgiveness, but it cost Him much. It wasn’t fair. It physically hurt, but he loved us too much to withhold it.

A shuddering cry. She wipes her cheeks. We pray for his repentance. Pray that God does the work we cannot force in the heart of the boy we love. And it is better this way because when God does it, it is done. It is real and it changes you.

And more than her way, she wants lasting change.

She faces his indignant stubbornness and freely extends what will cost her much.

His eyes widen.

A tiny smile turns up the corner of her lips. A hug is exchanged. One is set free. One is weighed down with conviction.

And the sun sets three times before he gathers the courage to fix what he broke. With a trembling frame, he stands before her. “I did it. I lied. It was wrong and I’m sorry. Next time I will be honest. Will you forgive me again?” A single tear marks his cheek. A lower lip quivers, the full weight of conviction heavy on his heart.

She smiles wider, tugs him in, fully restoring what sin had broken.

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