Forgiveness is hard – a lot of times because of what we think forgiveness is.
- “I HATE her, I will NEVER forgive her!” (be able to treat her as though the sin action/offense never happened)
- “I will stay married to him, but things will never be the same, and I will never forgive him.” (Continue to treat/love as before the sin action)
- “My family member abused me and I can not forgive them.” (as it feels like it would excuse what they did)
- “I tried to forgive them, and it only made things worse.” (went face to face and told them what they did and that I would forgive them for it)
We all have a lot of things and people in our lives to forgive.
Most people know the forgiveness part of the Lord’s prayer: forgive others as we have been forgiven.”
But sometimes we struggle with the idea of forgiving because we don’t know what forgiveness is NOT.
- An act of forgiveness is NOT a feeling
- Forgiveness is NOT a confrontation
- Forgiveness is NOT a desire for God to help us punish someone
- Forgiveness is NOT requiring the acknowledgment of the offense by the offender
- Forgiveness is NOT between you and your earthly offender
What! How can I forgive others if the act of forgiveness is not between me and the one who offended me?
All five of these “knots” are answered in the last phrase of the Lord’s Prayer – as we have been forgiven.
How was that? How have I been forgiven?
I was forgiven, according to I John 1:9 and other verses
- Willingly – by choice
- While I was still a sinner (capable and even likely of repeating the offense)
- With a permanent release (put away) from any punishment or guilting – (no whining, reminding, or haunting)
So if I forgive as I have been forgiven. . .
I will choose to release that offense/grievance/sin and the person to God without waiting for or expecting change, regret or response from them.
It made me chuckle to think that we puny humans think we can change a person’s heart. Only God can do that.
Embracing unforgiveness (the choice not to release the offense and the offender to God)
is NOT an act of righteousness. Even if we were/are in the right.
Every offense comes with a choice and an opportunity.
A choice to receive it and nurse it
a choice and opportunity to Forgive – as God has forgiven me