Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the Russian novelist wrote:
“Of some thoughts one stands perplexed--especially at the sight of men’s sins--and wonders whether one should use force or humble love. Always decide to use humble love. If you resolve on that, once and for all, you may subdue the whole world. Loving humility is marvelously strong, the strongest of all things, and there is nothing like it."
When offended, harmed, or messed over by another, our choices really boil down to a test between love and power.
Will we grasp onto a grudge and demand some unpayable payback price, or will we ask God to help us feel empathy (not sympathy, or condoning, or excusing or agreeing) toward the one who has wronged us?
The pull to power we feel inside comes from pride.
When human sin comes against us or those we love, we feel righteous, right, defenders called to squash the evil and run up the flag of justice. We feel pulled down from our “rightful” throne. At such moments, we seem to most corrupt the image of God within us.
The God who was innocently suffering men’s brutal sins chose humble love over power.
Humility over hubris. Empathy over condemnation. On the cross He prayed for His torturers, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23.34.
“But the harm she did, how he treated me is . . . I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive,” one might say.
And who among us would have blamed Marietta Jaeger if she chose power over love?
Hers is a true journey toward amazing humility, love, and empathy. Empowered by The Innocently Wronged Forgiver Himself. Marietta Jaeger's story, The Power and Reality of Forgiveness: Forgiving the Murderer of One’s Child, gives us hope in God’s working in us to forgive as He has forgiven us, Colossians 3.13.
The very prompting and nudging to forgive comes from God’s Spirit working His good work in you. Listen for Him. Look for Him. Ask for Him. And He will give you all the strength you need to obey Him (Philippians 4.13), to choose humble love.
Always lean toward humble love.
Forgive. Forgive for Good.