Home > forgiveness > What does it mean to forgive?

What does it mean to forgive?

Each of us has been in situations before where we were in need of forgiveness or where we needed to forgive others. There are so many opinions about this topic and I want to share mine.

When we forgive we are allowing others to be released from a debt with no expectation of future retribution. This is not an easy process because our emotions usually get involved at some point. I remember as child that this was easy to accomplish. I would be mad at someone for a few minutes or days, but within a week I had moved on. I am not sure why this changed as I became an adult, but I think it is just easier to hold a grudge against someone else.

There is, however, some unrealistic expectations when it comes to forgiveness. Some people want you to ‘forgive and forget’ while others think that forgiveness equals loss of consequences. I am not sure about you, but it is impossible for me to forget anything negative people have said or done towards me. I can remember many racial slurs and being picked on due to being a high school nerd just like it was yesterday. I do not let there memories control or define me, but I will never forget them. I also do not feel that people should expect to be released from their consequences just because they are forgiven of their transgression. Imagine a world without consequences for our actions. This would be a scary place! I know that I have grown so much due to consequences I have recieved because of sins I have committed in the past. I am not sure where I would be today if it were not for my consequences.

The question that we must still answer is ‘What does God say about forgiveness?’ I am sure that his standard is more important than what anyone else says on the topic. Luke 23:32-43 gives an account of Him being on the cross and praying for the forgiveness of those who crucified Him. Why would He do such a thing? I think He does this to give us an awesome example about what forgiveness truly means. He was innocent and sinless yet wanted forgiveness for his attackers. When I see this example I cannot help to think how petty the debts owed to me are in comparison to the debt that was already paid by Jesus.

Someone reading this may have had some terrible things done to them that they are holding on to. Situations such as these can bind you with anger and resentment that you may be determined to carry to your grave. Mark 11:25 and Matthew 6:9-15 remind us that if we do not forgive others then God will not forgive us. This is a hard fact to swallow, but our relationship with God will be hindered if I am not willing to forgive those who have offended me.
I believe the only way that we are able to do this is through prayer. We must ask the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to forgive others. I do not believe that forgiveness is natural, but it is still God’s will for us. I pray that each of us will begin to evaluate our relationships with others and begin to forgive because we end up hurting ourselves when we don’t.

Categories: forgiveness
  1. JimmyBob
    October 10, 2006 at 5:24 am

    Right on the money.

    I’ve heard it said that God forgets the sins that we remember and God remembers the good things that we forget.

  2. Michelle
    October 10, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    Elegant blog, my friend. I liked what you had to say. Completely forgiving someone for a hurtful comment can be so hard. I hope that everything in PA is just fantastic! I miss y’all!

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