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Forgiveness

Forgiveness: Ten Things It's NOT

Definition: “The decision to release a person from the obligation that resulted when they injured you.” or “To no longer count that sin against them.”

Bible verses: Mark 11:25; Luke 6:37; Matthew 6:9-12; James 2:13; Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 17:1-4; Ephesians 4:25-32; Hebrews 12:15

Forgiveness is NOT an option for the believer. We always have to forgive everyone for everything! There is no limit. We are to forgive others as we have been forgiven. For most of us (all of us if we will admit it), that’s a whole lot of forgiveness. Understanding forgiveness doesn’t make it easier to forgive, but it does make it more meaningful, perhaps even tolerable, but I believe understanding the process could make us more likely to offer the forgiveness we are commanded to give.

Forgetting - When you forgive, your memory isn’t suddenly wiped clean of the offense. Forgetting is a long term by product of forgiveness. Once you forgive, then Christ can begin the healing and the memory will not be as painful. (Hebrews 8:12; Isaiah 43:25)

Waiting for them to ask for forgiveness – When someone offends, we should go and tell them (Matthew 18:15). But do not wait for them to come to you. They may never do so. You can forgive them even before you approach them. Jesus forgave us long before we were born which made it possible for us to come to Him (2 Cor. 5:21; Luke 23:34)

Regaining automatic trust - You don’t immediately trust the person who injured you when you forgive them. Trust is a separate issue from forgiveness, but can’t be started without it. Trust is earned, and they must earn trust again, over time. (Luke 16:10)

Removal of consequences (rescuing) – Even though you forgive someone, they may still have consequences to face because of their actions. (2 Samuel 12:14-31)

Ignoring the offense – You don’t have to pretend nothing happened when you forgive. The reality is an offense was made. Acting like it never occurred only builds resentment and anger. (John 7:53ff)

Merely a feeling – Forgiveness is a decision, choice, a crisis of the will. Feelings of anger and bitterness result from unforgiveness. You may never FEEL like forgiving, but you can choose to. (John 13:17)

Instant emotional healing – Like an open wound, emotions heal with time. Some pain runs deep, takes longer to heal and may leave a scar. Forgiveness starts the healing.

Restoring the same relationship – The relationship may be closer than before or not, but most likely, it will never be the same. (Galatians 2:11)

Enabling – Granting forgiveness does not mean that you supply the means for repeated behavior or help them continue to sin. (Luke 17:1-2)

Risking – Granting forgiveness does mean you need to ignore the pattern of abuse that they have shown. You may have to establish healthy boundaries. Forgiveness is not blindness. (Galatians 6:1)

 

 

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