I felt led to write about forgiveness. Not because I am an expert on the matter, but because I think it is so vital in living a joyful Christian life. Forgiveness is hard, nobody claims it is not. When somebody hurts us, it is hard to rebuild trust and move on from the wrongs that they committed. What reasons are we to give that would force us to forgive, instead of just abandoning the friendship, or avoiding the person all together?
Definition of Forgiveness
To excuse for a fault or an offense; to pass over a mistake or fault without demanding punishment or redress.
Why is Forgiveness so important?
God commanded us to
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’
In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Keep no record of wrongs
1 Cor 13:5
Although we have a memory, I believe this verse is trying to make us understand that we aren’t supposed to use past offenses against others. Every day should indeed be a new day, and fresh start for those who have offended us.
Why is it is Hard to Forgive?
We feel forgiving others would allow our abuser to feel justified for what they did.
Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian woman who survived a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust, said, “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you.”
We want others to feel the same pain they have caused us.
Lack of Trust
We don’t want to be vulnerable again.
We can’t forgive in our own strength
We have to seek God, and ask Him to help us pardon others.
It is easier to focus on someone else’s flaws, then focus on our own.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
Result of True forgiveness
When we forgive, we can feel forgiven
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
In Matthew 18, Jesus presents a parable to us of a ruler who cancelled the debt of his servant, only to find that his servant sought revenge on someone who owed him a significantly less amount. The ruler sought out the person who he originally cancelled the debt, and placed the debt back on his shoulders, sending him to jail to be tortured until he could repay. This story speaks to me of our relationship with Jesus Christ. He has forgiven us of our sins. No matter how good we think we are, we can never measure up. Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Since we have received this undeserved grace, shouldn’t we offer others the same opportunity? If we can’t, we shouldn’t expect to receive it.
We are Blessed
Blessed (happy) is he whose transgressions are forgiven, who sins are covered. Blessed (happy) is the man whose sin the Lord doesn’t count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.
Facts to Consider:
- Forgiveness isn’t minimizing the wrong done to you; it is forgiving them despite the wrong done to you.
- Forgiveness may be a daily thing for you. Something may remind you of a hurt that you encountered, but be diligent to consistently lay your pain at the cross. Only Jesus can truly release you from your pain.
- Choosing to forgive is an intentional choice. It does not come naturally.