Forgiveness

“We talk glibly about forgiving when we have never been injured; when we are injured, we know that it is not possible, apart from God’s grace, for one human being to forgive another.” - Oswald Chambers

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” - Matthew 6:14-15

I think God wants to change the way we view forgiveness radically. What if the phrase “forgive but never forget” is actually wrong? Disclaimer: I am not saying that we shouldn’t have healthy boundaries with people that abused their proximity and relationship with you or that were detrimental with their actions or words toward you. I don’t think that’s what that phrase refers to in this current culture. Forgive but don’t forget allows you to hold a grudge, resentment and bitterness toward your offender and that is not holy, godly, loving or biblical. 

The forgiveness that Jesus talks about and demonstrates in the gospel does not reflect “forgive but don’t forget”. Jesus is the perfect image of the Father. On the cross, Jesus prays to Our Father and says, “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” (Luke 23: 34). Jesus demonstrates love for us as selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional. God, who is the Creator of the universe, the Almighty God, does not remember our past sins or hold grudges whenever we fail to obey or keep His instruction. He loves us with holy conviction and calls us higher. We are called to be holy, blameless and set apart. If the world is quick to anger, we should be like Our Father who is slow to anger and slow to speak. Forgiveness is not an easy process, but we are called to it. Those of us who walk on the narrow way will learn that forgiveness is part of the walk.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” - Ephesians 4:31-32

“To forgive is to make a decision to cancel a debt that you are owed and not to hold it against your offender. There is no forgiveness without a debt.” - John M. Perkins 

We are the least deserving of forgiveness. Yet, God loves us so much to send His son to cancel a debt we owed. Forgiveness is how we love our neighbor like we love ourselves. If it is a sacrifice to forgive someone, then maybe ask God if you are being called to love them by releasing yourself and them. Maybe you need to forgive yourself. We are called to live a life worthy of the call (Ephesians 4:1); however, that does not mean that we place pressure and unfair performance expectations. God does not hold a record of your wrongs; therefore, you should also not hold a record of your past or wrongs. Confess. Repent and come in agreement with who God made you to be. 

I pray that any bitterness or contempt that has settled in your Spirit would be uprooted and that any forgiveness that you feel is impossible would be possible by the grace of God. May God give you grace to forgive yourself. I pray that the fear of man be broken off and that any habit of people- pleasing would be redeemed by knowing your identity in God. May you be able to release yourself from unforgiveness in the name of Jesus.

Author | Karla Sanchez Tavera

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