A typical question regarding atonement is, why did Jesus have to die in order to save us? Why couldn't God simply forgive us? After all, doesn't God command us to forgive one another without demanding payment?
But think about a time you or someone you loved was seriously wronged. Were you or the person close to you able to just shrug off the offense or dismiss the wrong without suffering? Of course not! When truly offended, there are two choices. You can either exact revenge and make the one who has wronged you pay, or you can forgive him or her by absorbing the pain of the hurt yourself. On the one hand, you can cause pain to set yourself free; on the other, you can receive the pain of forgiveness and set the other free.
If you think forgiveness is not painful, you have never forgiven someone who hurt you deeply. Whether through revenge or forgiveness, someone always pays for injustice.
- Darrin Patrick