The old adage “It’s more blessed to give than to receive” is especially true for this gift. And its the gift that never goes out of style or needs to be exchanged because it didn’t fit. I’m speaking of the gift of…
Many of us are still weighed down by bitterness and anger and hurt feelings over something that happened in the past. And the other old adage that “Time heals all wounds” is a lie. Only forgiveness heals all wounds. And only God can enable us to extend it.
Most of us know that as followers of Jesus extending forgiveness is not an option. And yet we wrestle with it perhaps because we misunderstand it. Ron Edmondson offers this list of seven things forgiveness is NOT.
Forgetting – When you forgive someone, your memory isn’t suddenly wiped clean of the offense. I know God could do that, but it seems that would be the easy way. I suspect God wants forgiveness to be more intentional than that.
Regaining automatic trust – You don’t immediately trust the person who injured you when you forgive them. That wouldn’t even be logical. Trust is earned, and they must earn trust again.
Removal of consequences – Even though you forgive someone, they may still have consequences to face because of their actions.
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.
Instant emotional healing – Emotions heal with time. Some pain runs deep and takes longer to heal.
Restoring the same relationship – The relationship may be closer than before or not, but most likely, it will never be the same.
A leverage of power – Granting forgiveness does not give a person power over the person being forgiven. That would violate the entire principle and purpose of forgiveness.
God knew this would be an issue for us. That’s why Jesus includes forgiveness in his sample prayer for the disciples (Matthew 6) and then follows that prayer up with another admonition to forgive in order to experience forgiveness from the Father.