Tim Keller writes an essay premised on the concept that grievance is growing as the leveraging authority in contemporary culture. Grievance providing the capacity for superiority in relationships invites grievance to be held onto. If grievance is released, the capacity for its ability to control is let go.
While there is an expectation of sorrow inviting accountability, there is no expectation of a forgiveness that allows for equilibrium to come to the relationship.
Disciples of Jesus should stand in contrast to this cultural tendency.
Not because we ignore the plight of those grieved.
But because we are a people whose very being is defined by forgiveness.
Forgiveness requires two inner resources that the experience of the gospel gives us for a life of forgiveness: First, realistic humility about your sin. You can only stay bitter toward someone if you feel superior, if you feel that you would never do anything like they did. Those who won’t forgive show they have not accepted the fact of their own sinfulness. When Paul says he is the “chief of sinners” he is saying that he is as capable of sin as the worst criminals are. To remain unforgiving means you remain unaware of your own profound, perpetual need for forgiveness.
But this realistic humility must be concomitant with joyful assurance of your acceptance in Christ. You can’t be gracious to someone if you are mainly dependent on the approval of others to shore up your weak sense of self-worth. If you know God’s love and forgiveness, then there is a limit to how deeply another person can hurt you. He or she can’t touch your real identity, wealth, and significance. The more we rejoice in our own forgiveness, the quicker we will be to forgive others.