Forgiveness Isn’t Just for Fairy Tales

CinderellaI was surrounded by a sea of blue and pink. Tiny three foot princesses excitedly pranced around me. That’s what dads do, isn’t it? They wait patiently in line so their daughters can see Cinderella.

For the most part, this latest adaptation of the Disney classic followed the traditional story line. An orphan girl left to live with her spoiled stepsisters and embittered stepmother. A courageous prince. Friendly mice. A fairy Godmother.

As with many of Disney’s modern adaptations, the creators of Cinderella tried to help us see how the wicked stepmother could become so cruel. Tragedy had traumatized her. She was bitter and afraid. In the end, though, no amount of trauma could excuse her selfishness and cruelty.

The most poignant moment in the movie came at the end, as Cinderella said good-bye to her wicked stepmother. Her scheming had been discovered; her dark heart exposed for all to see.

As Cinderella and her prince turned to leave, Cinderella looked up at her former taskmaster and quietly whispered the most powerful words in the English language.

“I forgive you.”

A dramatic silence followed as those potent words echoed in our ears. But how could anybody be so merciful? Words cannot describe the pain, hurt and shame the stepmother had caused Cinderella. This had to be a fairy tale because no one in the real world could be so gracious and forgiving.

I truly believe forgiving is the most difficult thing our God asks us to do. Your husband of twenty years cheated on you. Your best friend lied to you. Your child disappointed you. Your parent abused you. How can you forgive? How can you let go of all the hurt and anger?

As the soldiers tied his hands to the posts, as they raised the hammer and drove the nails deep into his flesh, pinning him to the wood, as his enemies watched in morbid pleasure, Jesus spoke a word of forgiveness. “Father, forgive them.”

Yet this was no fairy tale. God himself was paying the price of their wickedness. God’s forgiveness isn’t that he simply let’s go of the pain. It isn’t that he somehow forgets or doesn’t care about our sins. God’s forgives you because Jesus suffered your punishment as your substitute. God isn’t going to punish you because he punished Jesus in your place. God turned his anger for your sins onto Jesus.

Every day, even now that you believe in him and love him, you do terrible things to your God. You cause him pain and hurt and shame with your lies, your gossip, your anger, your laziness and your pride. Yet every day he speaks those powerful words, “I forgive you.”

If God can forgive you the millions of sins you have committed against him – if he has let go of his anger forever because of Jesus – you can forgive your wicked stepmother or your cheating husband or your lying friend. Forgiveness isn’t saying it’s okay what they did. Forgiveness is saying, “You hurt me, but I will let go of the anger – I will forgive you – because God has forgiven me.”

It’s hard to do, but it’s not impossible. With God’s help and by his grace, you too can say and mean those powerful words: “I forgive you.”

Forgiveness isn’t just for fairy tales.


  6 comments for “Forgiveness Isn’t Just for Fairy Tales

  1. Jason Henry Kond
    March 16, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Send me some bible texts that will inspire me to forgive others.

    • schroera
      March 16, 2015 at 8:25 am

      Here’s a couple: Genesis 50:15-21 (Joseph forgives his brothers); Luke 23:32-34 (Jesus forgiving at the cross); Matthew 18:23-34 (Parable of the Unmerciful Servant); Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” May God help you find strength in his forgiveness as you struggle to forgive others!

  2. Jean Postema
    March 20, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Spot on!! I’m enjoying your teachings.

    • schroera
      March 20, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Thank you.

  3. August 7, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Excellent posting and needed reminder. I also think of the criminal on the cross, how Christ forgave his initial taunting and said, “Today you shall be with me in paradise.” More often than I like, I am that criminal and so thankful for the forgiveness which is mine, through Christ.

  4. Gregg
    November 17, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    We are to personally forgive from the heart those who hurt and harm us. But this does not mean that there are no earthly and spiritual consequences that occur to the offending individual or that parents are not suppose to discipline their children for disobeying them because they are to be forgiving of their children. Failure of a parent to discipline their children or failure of a government to take decisive action to stop those who are doing wrong and hurting and killing other people in the name of forgiveness, is misapplying Scripture. Looking the other way and allowing your children to disobey you without any correction or discipline because God wants you to forgive them or when a government looks the other way and continues to allow terrorists to hurt, harm, and kill other people because you think it’s wrong for a government or anyone to intervene is not God-pleasing. In fact I’ve even heard people say that it’s wrong for our country to go to war against ISIS and other terrorists because God wants us to be forgiving. Seriously? This is misapplying God’s command to forgive and is treating God’s forgiveness as a license to keep on sinning. Let us not be mistaken. God does not forgive those who are unrepentant and as believers or even as the government, we we are not to give any forgiveness to unrepentant terrorists who see nothing wrong with what they are doing. In fact these people believe that they are serving God by what they are doing. This is the kind of world we are living in that people think that we should never tell anyone that they are doing wrong or sinning because God wants us to love and be forgiving of everyone. Seriously? This is misapplying Scripture. Eli, the priest in the Old Testament thought he was being forgiving of his sons by not disciplining his sons for their evil behavior. But instead. he himself was sinning against God and lost his own life in a very tragic way as a judgment of God against his own unrepentance. When we look the other way and fail to warn others of their sinful behavior, this is a very serious matter with God. Read Ezekiel 33 and in this chapter God makes it very clear that he holds us responsible for the spiritual harm and eternal death we cause other people, by our failure to warn, correct, and discipline those who are sinning. And if we continue to look the other way and say and do nothing about their unrepentant sin, we are being sinful and unrepentant ourself. Certainly, God forgives the sins of pentitent because of what Jesus has for done for us, but God does not forgive the impentitent. Instead of offering the impentitent forgiveness from God, we are to tell them that God does not forgive their sins and if they continue to sin and do evil and do not repentant, they will eternally die in hell. When this happens in the church, despite warnings and admonition from the pastor, elders ,and other members, they are to be excommunicated. In the world when terrorists keep hurting and killing other people, the government as God’s representative is to bring judgment against them by going to war and killing them. And we should not be afraid or hesitant to do this out of love for all the people who are being brutally raped, forced to eat their own children in the food they give them, and beheaded and killed.
    When is our government going to stop playing games with them and take decisive action? Obama says it’s just a little group and hardly represents Muslims. Then why are we having such a difficult time to stop this “little” group? Get real and let’s take our blinders off. This is not a “little” group. Make no mistake about it. This “little” group is controlling our government and lives in the “White” house, but it has been turned into the Black House and we are doing nothing about it. Shame on us! This is not God-pleasing and this is an abuse and misapplication of what God’s forgiveness is all about. I am ashamed to even call myself an American anymore. It is disgusting and our country is going to be severely punished and judged for it’s sinful rebellion, unrepentance, and unbelief just as severely as ancient Israel was. We are no better, in fact in many ways, what we are doing is much worse.

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