23rd November 2023
RT Kendall offers
Why you have to forgive God
In February 1953, when I was 17, the class I was attending at Ashland, Kentucky Senior High School, was suddenly interrupted.
The teacher called me out and said I had a phone call waiting for me in the principal's office.
It was my uncle, who said, 'RT, your mother has had a stroke; she's been taken to the hospital. Your dad is on the way to take you there, so go outside and wait for him.'
Moments later I got into the car with my dad. My mother was paralysed on one side of her body.
We waited day and night for her to improve.
All our friends and loved ones were praying for her.
Eight weeks later my high school band (I played the oboe) journeyed by train to Washington DC, where we had been invited to play
My mother insisted that I go.
On the morning we arrived - 8th April 1953 - I telephoned my aunt, who lived in Washington, to say I was in town.
And she told me my mother had passed away that morning.
My dad's chief concern was my own faith. He feared I would lose it through all this.
Being a believer does not exempt one from suffering.
Becoming a Christian does not remove one from pain.
God allows this. He could stop it.
After all, God by definition is unlimited in power and knowledge.
He sees injustices and apparently does nothing.
If you have been disillusioned that the Creator God - who controls all events - allowed you to suffer as you have, I don't blame you.
How do you know if you are blaming God?
When you realise you are feeling just the way Mary and Martha did.
They were very hurt at Jesus, who could have kept Lazarus from dying, but showed up four days after the funeral.
They blamed Jesus for their brother's death.
But Jesus did not moralise them; he wept with them, feeling their hurt.
Jesus still does that with us.
Why do we need to let God off the hook?
First, because of what it will do for you.
I can safely promise you an inner freedom and release you never dreamed possible.
In much the same way as we experience peace when we totally forgive those who have hurt us,
so too when we come to the place where we totally forgive God.
When we don't forgive God, this will almost certainly have a negative affect on our relationships with people.
Very likely, we will have a problem forgiving them for their wrongs.
Bitterness will be the consequence of unforgiveness.
Totally forgiving God means setting him free, and affirming him - even though he let some horrible things happen to you.
If you do this, your life will be changed, and you will never be the same again.
God the Father is the most maligned person in the universe he made.
What he does and doesn't do at times makes no sense at all.
But when he vindicates himself, he will do it perfectly, before all people who ever lived.
Before the angels. Before the devil and all the evil powers.
Only a fool would claim to solve the eternal philosophical 'problem of evil'
(why God allows suffering), but part of the explanation is that you and I could demonstrate faith.
God is not upset with us for being upset with him.
Jesus is touched by our weaknesses; he feels what we feel and has never forgotten what it was like to live on Earth.
Jesus did not embarrass Mary and Martha for blaming him for not healing their brother.
God knows our frame and remembers that we are dust.
We must also fight against telling others how angry we are with God, although we might tell one other person (such as our vicar or pastor).
The first evidence that we have forgiven those who hurt us is not telling anybody 'what they did'.
But you can tell God - he can handle it.
Also, read the Bible - choosing to believe that the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth).
Climb down from a feeling of entitlement and humbly ask God to show you the next step forward.
Ask yourself if you are better or worse off by angrily claiming that God has a lot to answer for.
In short, you will lead an impoverished life, probably be an unpleasant person, and one devoid of inner peace.
But the good news is, there is a better way to live.
By your setting God free, you will be free.
This is an edited version. The full article and Bible references are avaiable on request
This article is based on RT Kendall's new book, Totally Forgiving God (Hodder and Stoughton) which is out now.
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