What Forgiveness Is
- Forgiveness is always a choice—not a feeling. Feelings and emotions need to come with a warning label! They are not always your friend! Emotions have no brains: they don’t think; they’re not logical; they’re not always reasonable! They just “feel”… and feelings not anchored in truth, mislead. The sad reality is that our feelings fluctuate. They can be like a disobedient child who needs to be directed and taught. So don’t let your feelings ride roughshod over you (Ephesians 4:26-27)! You can make the CHOICE to forgive today—as an act of FAITH—not feelings! (Hebrews 11:6)
- Forgiveness desires what is good—it does not seek revenge or payback by imagining harm towards someone. In other words, it does not delight in “getting even” (Romans 12:17-21). The desire to see someone suffer for their wrongdoing (or perceived wrongdoing) is not the heart of God (Proverbs 24:17). Remember, God did not deal with your personal sin by nailing you personally to the cross (1 John 1:9, Matthew 18:21-35).
- Forgiveness is a debt canceller. No-one can be a righteous judge and juror in their own case. Leave all of it with the Lord and whatever “debt” someone owes to you (and we are not just speaking of money here), let God handle your case (Matthew 6:12). Let forgiveness settle in your heart so that God’s justice can recompense you for any wrong done and supply back to you whatever was owed or lacking.
- Forgiveness is a champion of peace—it holds its peace and does not continue to rehearse an offence. Be careful not to continue talking about a suffered wrong with others—making them a party to the offence (Ephesians 4:30-31), or continue to self-dialogue about it. It will only water the roots of offence rather than wither them.
- Forgiveness is strength—not weakness. The flesh delights in holding a grudge (but the spirit is always willing to forgive). Forgiveness makes way for spiritual growth and renewal in our lives and closes the door to demonic attack (2 Corinthians 2:10-11, Ephesians 4:26-27). Sin will inhibit our effectiveness, cloud our vision and block our ability to receive from God (Mark 11:25). Forgiveness will always add strength to your life; but unforgiveness will always weaken it (Hebrews 12:15).
- Forgiveness is humility—not humiliation. Forgiving does not make you a doormat! It makes you a victor! (1 Peter 5:6-7, Psalm 149:4)
What Forgiveness Is Not
- Forgiveness does not equal trust—if someone steals from you, then don’t trust them with your wallet!
- Forgiveness does not mean you condone or agree with another’s wrong behaviour.
- Forgiveness does not do away with the law of the land—in the case of a criminal offence, you can be forgiven but you still have to serve the time or pay the fine.
- Forgiveness does not always mean forgetting—battle scars are healed reminders of the battle, but they are no longer an open, festering wound! Often our trials become testimonies. How can you testify if you don’t remember what you are testifying about?
- Forgiveness does not necessarily mean keeping company with someone or letting them back into your life. Some relationships might be unhealthy and unwise. Always seek wisdom. Some people you might have to love from a distance.
- Forgiveness is not waiting for an apology—this holds a soul to ransom. The only person you are waiting on in order to forgive, is you! Forgiveness is within your power to give and not someone else’s ability to apologise.
And forgive us our debts (trespasses and wrong doings), as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment].Matthew 6:12