The title of this blog post doesn’t sound quite right, does it? I mean, could the Creator of the universe ever do anything that would require Him to apologize?
Forgiveness is a very complicated and thorny issue. Many people have tried to figure out a way to get free from pain and offenses, whether someone else offended them or hurt them.
Forgiveness means to set free. It means to let go to release, to grant pardon. Forgiveness is not for the person who offended you. Forgiveness is for you.
You are like that caged bird when you don’t practice forgiveness. When you do forgive, the door of the birdcage is opened and you get a chance to fly free because forgiveness is God’s wonderful gift to you.
The subject that we have at hand, however, is, should you forgive God? Should God say, sorry? Should He request your forgiveness?
And a lot of people harbor this ill will and anger towards God because they feel as though somehow God has let them down. God has allowed stuff to come their way, bad things, suffering, pain to come their way. And so they’re angry at God.
The Bible is very sympathetic about your emotions. In fact, the Bible captures wonderful, powerful, godly people like Moses, who was angry with God, David angry with God, Job angry with God, Elijah angry with God. So God is not unsympathetic about how His actions may create pain in you because you had and have one perspective and one thought as to what God should do. And when He doesn’t do that, you’re disappointed.
In Habakkuk chapter one, you can see the prophet struggling with anger towards God. In verse two he says, “How long Lord must I call for help, but you do not listen. Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me. There’s strife and conflict abounds.”
Notice that Habakkuk had a relationship with God where they could be honest with each other. Habakkuk was angry, and he charged God with wrongdoing in four ways.
God ignored his prayers.
God ignores violence.
God makes him see injustice.
God tolerates wrongdoing.
And God didn’t kill him, he wasn’t angry because he shared with God, his anger.
Are you angry with God? Do you think that you can’t tell God that you’re angry and you’ve put God in this position where you feel as if God, should be charged with wrongdoing?
Do you feel God owes you an apology?
The Bible gives us clear instructions on how we should process our feelings and how we should look at this circumstance. And ultimately answer the question, should God say, sorry?
To answer this there are four things we need to understand.
- When I speak of God, I’m referring to the God that’s revealed only in the Bible: The God who was, the God who is, and the God who is to come.
- If you’re to forgive God of anything, it means that you must first be convinced that God is somehow wronged you willfully or through neglect.
- If you forgive God, it means that you’re willing to walk away from anger and resentment towards Him and totally let God off the hook.
- The solution to our dilemma is only found with God as revealed in the Bible.
The Five Reasons You Should Forgive God
ONE: God thinks differently than you.
God has a comprehensive view of the world. He’s omniscient. He sees everything at the same time. God had this comprehensive view of all the nations and He was telling Habakkuk, “I want you to understand that I think differently than you. You’re thinking about your family, your nation. I’m thinking about your family, your nation, and how your nation interacts with the nations of the world, and how those nations interact and interconnect with the welfare of your nation and your family.” So God has this comprehensive view.
Job was in a similar circumstance. When Job was just perturbed with God and the way God was dealing with things, Job didn’t like it. And then God interrupts Job’s thoughts and says, “I am the Lord all-powerful, but you have argued that I’m wrong. Now you must answer me.”
I mean, in other words, when you accuse God of wrongdoing, God says, okay, you want to say that I’ve been wrong. I’ve wronged you. I’m going to ask you some questions now. And I want you to answer me, given your ‘pseudo-omniscience.’ God went on to say to Job, “Are you trying to prove that you are innocent?” God’s asking Job, are you trying to prove that you’re innocent by accusing me of injustice?
God has no problem with you disagreeing with Him or being angry because He did something or did not do something that you thought He should do or thought He should not do. God had no problem and has no problem with you thinking that thought. But you all must realize that when you think that thought you don’t let that thought back you into a corner where you should say, I think God needs to say to me, sorry.
TWO: God acts differently than you.
God is sovereign, which means He’s independent. He’s self-governing, He’s all-powerful. He does what He wants to do when He wants to do it, and how He wants to do it. Here’s the fact that we have to understand about God. And I hate to sound as if I’m defending God, how can I, how can I defend God?
I’m trying to explain God to you as best as I know it from Scripture and from my experience. I’ve been there a number of times over the years of walking with God while I was angry with God. But I had to succumb to the reality that God acts differently than me. And the issue is this—God is, as God is, because that’s the way God is.
God’s ways are not your ways, neither are His thoughts, your thoughts. He acts differently than us.
Have you ever been angry at God? How do you pray when you’re angry with God?
I know when I’m angry with God, I find myself getting to the place where I’m wrestling with God. And then I have to say, God acts differently than me.
Are you angry towards God because somehow God’s disappointed you?
I want you to see that He thinks differently than you. Isaiah 55:9 says, “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
God acts differently than you, but the way He acts that’s different, it’s consistent. He doesn’t change and is consistent with His actions. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus never changes. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
I’ve come to the reality, based on experience and walking with God, that God acts differently than me.
God thinks differently than you. He acts differently than you.
THREE: God even has different goals than you.
His goal is for you to have free will. You were created with freedom of choice. You can use your body, your thoughts, your giftings, your ingenuity for good, or for evil or for nothing. But His goal of creating us as human beings with a free will had a risk involved in it.
So sometimes we can experience the pain of living in a society where freedom of choice exists because the God of the universe that created us gave us free will. And some people have chosen to use their free will to do evil and their evil victimizes us and creates pain for us. And sometimes when that happens, we cry out to God and say I’m angry with you because you allowed this to happen.
Before incriminating God, recognize God has different goals than you. In other words, sometimes suffering, difficulty and pain has some companion benefits that are very wholesome and healthy.
In 2 Corinthians 7:8 Paul says, “I’m no longer sorry that I sent that letter to you, though I was very sorry for a time realizing how painful it would be to you, but it hurt you only for a little while now. I’m glad I sent it. Not because it hurt you, but because the pain turned you to God.”
It was a good kind of sorrow; the kind of sorrow God wants His people to have.
We never wish harm or pain to anyone, but the pain oftentimes turns us to God.
FOUR: God has different traits than your traits.
It means attributes. In other words, there are certain peculiarities about God, the makeup of God, the essence of God, things that are unchangeable, just like there are certain attributes about me, about you that are unchangeable.
I can’t change my height though. I can’t change my skin color. I can’t change the color of my eyes unless I get colorized contact lenses. But there are certain traits about God that God can’t change. And sometimes we’re angry because the traits that God has are His attributes. For example, the Bible tells us in Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change.”
God says I don’t change. God cannot lie. He’s not a liar. So He’ll never lie to you. He’ll never misrepresent himself. He can’t change. He can’t give a white light and shade the truth because God’s not a liar.
Scripture declares that God’s a God of justice. He can never be unjust. He can never be unethical. He could never be despotic and mean-spirited and abusive. Deuteronomy 32:4 says, “The Lord is a mighty rock and He never does wrong. God can always be trusted to bring justice.”
When we’re asking the question, should God say, sorry, I want us to have these thoughts in mind. God has different traits than you. Psalms 145:8-9 says, “the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all. He has compassion on all he has made.”
We have no business or right to incriminate the good name of the Lord because of our limited perspective, or even because of the difficult circumstances that we may find ourselves in. I want you to recognize the danger of accusing God of wrongdoing.
Are you accusing God of mishandling you?
Are you putting yourself in the place of judging the actions of God and then concluding that God has wronged you? Whether willfully or by neglect, when you do that, what you’re also saying is that you’re going to change God.
FIVE: God is different than you.
One of the things I’ve had to come to learn based on reading Scripture and based on living and walking with God is that God’s a bit peculiar. He puzzles me. I don’t get Him sometimes. In other words, He hides without warning.
Habakkuk 1:2 says, “How long Lord must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save.” The prophet was saying, look, I’m befuddled. Why do you act so odd? Why do you act so peculiar? Why do you hide?
There are times you feel like God is hiding from you when you’re praying and crying out to him.
Suffering from confusion and pain occurs in the interim between where you are and where God wants to bring you. Habakkuk 1:5 says, “Look among the nations and watch, wonder and be amazed for doing a work in your days that you would not believe though it were told you.”
God is different than you. Sometimes he shows up at the 11th hour. You’re sitting there and asking why did God let me panic like that? And at one second before midnight, God shows up in that split second.
Why does he do that? He wants our relationship with Him to be built on faith and trust and not on just analytics and just the left brain thinking and pragmatism. There must be this relational piece that says, can you trust Me though you don’t see what I’m doing?
Can you walk with Me though you don’t understand a lot of things about me? Moses was told by God to go and tell Pharaoh to let My people go. Nothing happened for quite some time. Moses confronted Pharaoh, 10 miracles later, a devastated Egypt, a complaining Israel, a heartbroken Moses, and all of a sudden, suddenly God does it and lets the children of Israel leave Egypt and go towards Canaan land, the promised land.
Why did it take all of that?
I don’t have an answer, but one thing I can say, God does what He does because of the way He is. He’s different than you and He’s unpredictable. But this unpredictable God can move through someone that is unexpected in order to help you come to a place of deliverance but don’t get stuck.
When you get stuck, walking around with unforgiveness in your heart towards God, you are stuck, it’s costly. It builds up, it affects your family. It affects your career. It affects your spiritual life. It affects people who are joined to you. It affects your ministry. It affects every aspect of you and you have to see it doesn’t affect God. It affects you.
I pray that this message gives you a push to say, God, I let you off the hook. You think differently than me. You act differently than me. You have different goals than I do. God, you are different than I am. You have different traits than me. God, I let you off the hook.
I forgive you. And I do that because it’s the right thing to do. And it’s the only move I have to make.
Does God need to say to you, sorry?
No, he does not.
But can you still forgive him? Yes. And when you do, you are able to move forward. Your life is able to be dislodged from being stuck and you can move forward.