The Freedom of Forgiveness
Do I intercede for those who have done me wrong, who have misunderstood me, who have twisted my words, who have accused me falsely?
I love the book of Job. One reason I love this book is because of the lovely poetic justice at the end. Job’s fortunes are restored and doubled. His “friends” who treated him so poorly have to make sacrifices in front of him. It’s beautiful and satisfying! But God also requires something of Job. He places Job in the position of intercessor. God says,
“And my servant Job will intercede for you, and I will respect him, so that I do not deal with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken about me what is right, as my servant Job has” (42:8).
And Job has the huge responsibility of speaking to God for his friends, friends who have spoken harshly, have doubted him, have tried to “school him” on how God works. These friends have thrown away years of confidence in Job and believed that he was nothing more than a scoundrel with a life full of hidden sin.
I’m guessing that gave Job pause. Maybe there were a few moments in which he actually wanted God to deal with his friends “according to their folly.”
I confess, I think I would have toyed with that idea. But God knows that we will never live in freedom unless we fully and completely forgive. And so Job stood before God on behalf of his friends in a beautiful act of forgiveness.
Are you carrying a burden of unforgiveness today? God doesn’t want you to live under that cloud, in that bondage. So just like Jesus and Stephen, who prayed for their executioners, who stood before God on behalf of those who were killing them, so God asks us to do the same. God asks us to stand in the gap, to intercede for those who do not deserve it. How can we do that? Why can we do that? For this simple reason.
When Jesus spoke those words of forgiveness on the cross, He spoke them for us – for you, for me. We were His executioners. We put Him there. And He hung between us and God’s wrath to give us a chance to experience glorious, life-changing grace. In light of this truth, how can we not forgive? How can we refuse to intercede for those who do us wrong?
Do you want to know true freedom today? Forgive.
Sonja Vernon, RN, BSN is the Vice President for Student Affairs at GBSC. She has been part of Student Affairs since 2000 and is passionate about working with college students.
She also speaks at women’s ministries and youth events.