Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as ‘to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt’.
In my language: If someone hurt you, took advantage of you, stole from you, badmouthed you, etc, etc. – you let the offence go without expectation of having the same kindness returned to you.
When we hear of forgiveness we think “God forgave my sins through Jesus Christ”, and that’s very true. But with the Lord doing all the forgiving, what about us? We have been forgiven so much, but are we forgiving others? Also, lack of forgiveness on our part has it consequences. Pain left unchecked can turn into bitterness, bitterness into revenge, revenge into more pain or even murder. And the cycle goes on…
and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. Matthew 6:12-13
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. ” Mark 11:25
By accepting the hurt caused by others and not forgiving them of their wrong doings, is that not judgment on our part?
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37
How many times must I be hurt? How many times must I suffer? How many times must I endure?
“If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.” Luke 17:3-4
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someonewho sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! Matthew 18:21-22
I was wondering what to write about today and the Holy Spirit led me to write this post because of the forgiveness I had to give to a friend of mine. I wasn’t expecting what the Lord showed me this morning. This friend has been my friend for at least 7 years now. And unknowingly to her, she has hurt me over and over again. But I realized that by God letting her into my life, I have suffered, yes, but I have also seen scripture come alive because that suffering.
By forgiving and really letting go of the pain, you start to see inside yourself and exactly how tightly you hold on to things that are harmful to you. It was only by God’s precious Holy Spirit that I realized I was indeed holding on to the pain she caused and allowed it to hurt me repeatedly. I realized I was bitter toward her and that hindered our relationship.
The enemy will more than likely use those old thoughts to provoke me into the same pattern of bitter living. But I will remind him that through my forgiving I have also been forgiven. And I won’t live that way anymore.
Forgiveness can be very hard sometimes. How one sees or experiences that pain is very different from person to person. As Christian brothers and sisters we must help those who want to forgive, and just need love and understanding from us, to let that pain go.
*** a big thank you to Wikipedia for the Forgiveness definition