Maybe the reason we have trouble forgiving critical people is because we’re afraid they’re right. By holding the hurt against them we feel we’re pushing back, that we are affirming ourselves against the pain they cause us. We shout back, “No! You’re wrong!” We fume and fret and want to put them in their place. Who are they to talk like that to us, anyways?

But at the root of it is our own insecurity – which is just inverted pride because It’s Still All About Us. As long as we are in that state we can’t help but worry about what others think.

We’re whistling in the dark. What if they’re right? We make an idol out of our desire to be respected.

Against this stands the Christian understanding of our true nature. We are told we are bent, that we were created good but separated ourselves from the only real source of life through our own pride and self-will. We understand right and wrong, but we still make poor choices, and this tendency is so ingrained and our rebellion so heinous that only the sacrifice of God incarnate could make a way back for us.

But the Bible also tells us we were that valuable, so intensely desired by God that He would do such a thing for us. We were built for an eternity with Him.

And that is where our true identity resides: redeemed sons and daughters of the One who made it all. Instead of shouting back at a world that sometimes seems indifferent to us, we can rest in God’s valuation. He thought we were important enough to die for, and if I fill my head and my heart with that, it’s easier to forgive.