There are two competing ideas about how difficult it is to be a Christian. The first is that “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11.30). The competition starts when living like Jesus requires us to do something we do not desire. Maybe even more- what we cannot fathom doing, such as forgiving others.
Forgiveness is easy to do sometimes. Often, I will tell my boys that I need their forgiveness because of my quick temper. They say they forgive me, and we move on trying to become better Christians and a better family. But larger offenses are not easily forgiven. Great challenges present greater obstacles to acting Christlike. i.e., how does one go about forgiving a thief, adulterer, or murderer?
Christ’s call in Matthew 11 is about looking to the work He has done for salvation. Jesus put off immortality, becoming a human, so that He could willingly suffer at the hands of His created creatures, to the point of death. We will never be called upon to do this, only the lesser burden of living for Him. Lesser? -yes but Christlikeness is still a burden. Consider Colossians 3.13, “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Jesus forgave the very men who, quite literally, drove spikes into His hands and feet while the iron was still rubbing His bones! Which of us could offer this level of Christlikeness? This calling is not an easy yoke, but it is possible. Jesus relates our burdens as easier: “less difficult”, not “free of any degree of difficulty”. A yoke is still a burden laid on the shoulders of a worker to complete a task. Sometimes the task of forgiving others is like pulling a yoke that is plowing soft ground, but not always. There are times when we have been sinned against and that boulder causes the yoke to dig into us. Pulling one’s weight as a Christian becomes painful when we have been wronged. At times like this; slow down, allow the Father to work the soil and remove the stone. They that wait on the Lord will renew their strength.
While I was imperfect, an enemy of God, Jesus died for my sins, my wrongs, my weaknesses. Christ offers us forgiveness that we do not deserve. He is concerned about my soul. May we ever strive to be concerned about the souls of those who have sinned against us. I want to forgive, may the Father work the soil.