I have just completed the trilogy – three books: Total Forgiveness, Totally Forgiving Ourselves, Totally Forgiving God. I think Total Forgiveness is in three languages. It was my friend Rob Parsons (after reading Totally Forgiving Ourselves) phoned me and said, ‘R T, I know what your next book should be – if you have the courage: Totally Forgiving God. I swallowed. I am ashamed to admit, I only thought of my critics at that moment (I do have them), that they would see the title but not read the book. But I got over that and decided to write the book. Both of my publishers (UK and USA) think this is my most important book. (Mind you, all authors think their most recent book is the best and most important!) But this may well be.
Does God need to be forgiven? What has he done that is wrong? Nothing. Then why forgive him? Because he allows things which he could stop but sometimes doesn’t. He lets things happen to us – bad things, horrible things. He has his reasons for letting them happen. Our responsibility (this pleases him): to let him off the hook, not holding anything against him for what he allows.
An illustration of what I mean: I have a very good friend (renowned theologian) who would not endorse my book The Anointing. I was devastated. But my friend did no wrong; he was being true to himself. I had to forgive him – which I did. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the way we must let God off the hook – set him free and wait for him to clear his Name on the Last Day. He will. Let’s not wait until then to see how he does it; let’s clear his Name now. By faith. Habakkuk did. So can we.
There are two kinds of faith: biblical faith (believing without seeing, as in Hebrews 11:1) and secular faith (seeing is believing, as in Mark 15:32). The only faith that pleases God is believing without seeing. Habakkuk wanted an immediate answer as to why God allows evil. God replied: I will tell you in the ‘end’ (Hab.2:3). Habakkuk might have argued back, ‘That’s not good enough, I want an answer now’. But Habakkuk accepted God’s verdict to wait till the end, and said: ‘Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior’ (Hab.3:17-18).
That was Habakkuk’s way of forgiving God. You and I cannot do better than that.