From childhood we are taught how to succeed in the world of ungrace. ‘You get what you pay for.’ ‘The early bird gets the worm.’ ‘No pain, no gain.’ I know these rules well because I live by them. I work for what I earn; I like to win; I insist on my rights. I want people to get what they deserve. 
  
…If I care to listen, I hear a loud whisper from the gospel that I did not get what I deserved. I deserved punishment and got forgiveness. I deserved wrath and got love. I deserved debtor’s prison and got instead a clean credit history. I deserved stern lectures and crawl-on-your-knees repentance. Instead, I got a banquet spread for me.  ~Philip Yancey, in ‘Our Daily Bread’
  
Seems I struggle to forgive. I might restrain myself when it comes to the eye for an eye thing, but if  you haul off and hit me, I might just slug you back in the mouth.  Sometimes I am impressed at how well I forgive, only to be flat out embarrassed at how poorly I do the next time I get the unwelcome opportunity. 
                           
It’d be a whole lot easier if this forgiveness thing could be just straight up fair and square.
 
‘To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously (Jesus, Luke 6:27-30, The Message).’
 
Forgiveness makes no economical sense.  You see, if we grant forgiveness on a merit basis, we will never extend it to one another.  If you come over to my house tomorrow morning and steal my computer, you certainly wouldn’t be silly enough to call  me later in the afternoon and demand that I forgive you because you “deserve it.”  That’s nonsense.  You’d deserve a visit over at county jail.  But many of us treat forgiveness as such, as something to be earned.  My point is this: You wouldn’t deserve forgiveness for your crime, but that doesn’t mean I would owe you less.  It’s not my role to decide who should be forgiven, and for what offenses.  God has decided that.  He has forgiven me for every last despicable sin of mine—past, present, and future—Thus, I have no right to withhold forgiveness from you in any case presented.
                     
You can’t purchase or sell forgiveness like a stock to be traded because the only forgiveness worth a dime costs nothing.
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