“You should forgive him. He really is sorry.”
“But what if he doesn’t deserve it?”
This was part of a conversation I had a couple days ago with a friend about another friend. “What if he doesn’t deserve it?”
It can be extremely difficult to give forgiveness, or for that matter anything, to those who don’t deserve it. There are countless things that I have held back from people with the excuse that they don’t deserve to receive them.
On Friday nights, we (I’m a student aid to the athletic trainer) have electrolyte popsicles for the football players at half-time. Correction: we have popsicles for some of the football players at half-time. We don’t have enough for everyone, so we’re only supposed to give them out to the players who “need” one, have actually played, or in other words, have done something to deserve one. It’s not like there’s a set list of players who get a popsicle because it’s football and it’s not the same eleven guys on the field the whole time. So that leaves us to decide who gets a popsicle and who doesn’t. They either get one, or they get some form of three basic responses.
1. You haven’t played a single down; you don’t need one.
2. What have you done to deserve it?
3. Let me make sure everyone who needs one gets one, and then I’ll come back.
Never have all the players gotten a popsicle.
Do people always deserve our forgiveness? No.
Do football players always deserve popsicles? No.
We use “deserving it” as justification for giving something, and if it’s not deserved, justification for not giving something. But do we really have to justify everything? After all, I didn’t deserve it when Jesus died to save me. I wasn’t even close to deserving it, but He did anyway. I’ve done absolutely nothing to deserve all the blessings God has given me. All I’ve done is sin which means I deserve nothing. Yet God has still blessed me with so much.
The truth is, I don’t deserve anything. I’m a sinful person who has done absolutely nothing to justify God’s gifts to me and the ultimate gift that Jesus gave. But I’m indescribably thankful that those gifts were given anyway. So I’m going to forgive, even when it’s not deserved. I’m going to give players popsicles even if they haven’t touched the field. I’m going to give my brother five dollars when he needs it, and I’m going to love. I’m going to love regardless of beliefs, looks, differences, and whether or not they deserve it.
I want to be generous and big-hearted to everyone, completely disregarding what people deserve. Because that’s the way God has been with me.
1 Corinthians 16:23-24,