“Forgiveness can be given when you think it can’t, ’cause with every passing second comes a second chance.”

Thus claims this song by Relient K, one of my favorite bands ever.

An interesting thing about songs is how accepting we are of their lyrics as truth.  Someone writes a song and claims that shopping at a thrift store is cool, and suddenly people everywhere have the epiphany that it’s cool to shop at thrift stores, though they couldn’t tell you why.

As I was listening to this songs lyrics, I found myself wondering if that claim really is true, that forgiveness can always be given because there is always hope that things will be different.  At least according to my understanding of the song, I don’t think this is true.  There are times when a person might hurt you over and over again, and no number of second chances will see them do anything other than hurt you more.

That doesn’t mean that forgiveness can’t always be given, or that there should be a limited number of times I forgive a person, despite my tendency to feel like Peter asking Jesus how many times I should forgive someone who sins against me (Matt. 18:21-35).

Take a moment to think about the word “forgive.”  Interestingly, in no form does the word refer to the person who is or could be the recipient of forgiveness–“forgivee” is not a word (as the red squiggle under it tell me).  “Forgiver,” now, that is a different story.

The truth is, forgiveness has nothing to do with the injuring party and everything to do with the injured party.  Someone who hurts you could do everything in their power to make it better and to be better in the future–in short, could be the most worthy of forgiveness a person can be–and you could still not forgive them.  On the contrary, someone can be the least worthy of forgiveness, could continually wound you, and you can still forgive them.

Praise the Lord that this is true!! Praise Jesus that my forgiveness has nothing to do with me deserving it, and everything to do with His self!  While I was still a sinner, while I was still spitting in His face and trampling Him underfoot, He died for me (Romans 5:6-8).

I cannot wait until someone deserves my forgiveness.  That day will probably never come, or if it does, you can bet I’d be too stubborn to see it.  No, today is the day to forgive, to let go of my anger and hatred, to choose to love, even if that love is not returned.  I can do no less: This is what the God of Creation did for me.

Praise the Lord!

And so I leave you with the lyrics of a song by another one of my favorites:

I’m the failure
I’m everyone’s fool
And I’m losing my cool at the end
I’m the loser
My number’s come up
I’ve been hung up with thoughts of revenge
Revenge, revenge
I watched you from my terminal view
As you struggled to rise to your end
I laughed hard at the insults we threw
As the weight of the world found revenge
Revenge, revenge
The world hung upside down
I drew first blood
I drew first blood
With my hate for a crown
I drew first blood
I drew first blood
I watched heaven die in the day
And I’m gonna die here tonight
I’m a villian I deserve to be dead
I’ve been hung up for wrecking my life
Revenge, revenge
And so I stopped for a moment
To look at the sun
Die in the day
That’s when the irony hit me
This was revenge
That love had descended
And stolen our pain away
We consumed heaven’s Son
I drew first blood
I drew first blood
My hate was undone
I drew first blood
I drew first blood
Here’s a story
How a thief had been robbed
How a murder had stolen my rage
Think of me, Lord
I’m a few breaths away
As my lungs finally rip from the cage
Revenge, revenge


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