Jack Hayford on ‘Forgiveness’
"Forgiving others is the key to living in the liberty of the freeing forgiveness Jesus has given us."
Jack Hayford – known throughout much of the church world as the beloved “Pastor Jack” – passed away Sunday. A more influential man you may never know. A more humble man you’ll never meet.
Pastor Jack wrote and spoke on an endless list of Biblical topics. Literally enough to fill 100 books, including Hayford’s Bible Dictionary and turn his Spirit-Filled Bible. Both musts for your reference library.
In his book Hope for a Hopeless Day: Encouragement and Inspiration When You Need It Most, Pastor Jack offered his thoughts on Forgiveness.
Forgiving those who assail you is the key to not being permanently victimized by them. Whatever the initial impact of any offense done to us by others, our refusal to react, to carry a grudge or to retaliate in-kind secures the high ground. But that must be as real on our part as the Savior’s forgiveness, not merely a humanistic, self-willed exercise in self-control. The latter may appear noble, but it only breeds an internalized pride.
True forgiveness springs from gratitude to God for His forgiving me. True forgiveness is born of my remembrance that I have been forgiven so great a debt through God’s love that there is no justification for my being less than fully forgiving to others. Because I have “freely received,” my Lord calls me to “freely give.” To forgive those seeking to injure you or me is to remove ourselves from their control and to be unfettered by the anger, pain or disappointment that would seek to attach itself to us.
(Forgiveness) is not in denying the hopeless days that take place when others reject us or turn on us. It is not in minimizing the pain we experience at the hands of those who seem bent on ruining our lives. People turn on people. They betray one another. Crass unkindness, vicious plottings, horrible and intentional antagonisms are shown, and calling it a hopeless day hardly describes the extended season of struggle that many of us face at times.
But there is a lesson at Calvary. Forgive everyone — anyone — whom you think has failed you, hurt you, offended you. If you think they’ve done anything to ruin your day, ruin your life, ruin your opportunities, ruin your dreams, or block your goals — forgive them. Forgiving others is the key to living in the liberty of the freeing forgiveness Jesus has given us, and it’s the first step toward finding hope for a hopeless day, not to mention opening the door to new days unimagined.