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  • Writer's pictureEster Fernandes-Da Silva

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FORGIVE?

Updated: Apr 24




We have all been hurt one way or another in various ways and degrees, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or physically. However, what does forgive those who have sinned against us actually mean? 

To better understand forgiveness, let's look to the One who has forgiven us first. When God forgives us, he no longer condemns us because Jesus Christ has paid the required ransom to God for our sins through his death on the cross. For "in Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). Because redemption brings in the forgiveness of our sins and the limitless grace of God, He no longer condemns us. God's forgiveness towards us is so complete that He chooses to forget our transgressions, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12).

As God forgives us, we are to forgive our debtors, "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). To forgive as our Father in heaven is to no longer hold sin against the person who has sinned against us. It is to unconditionally "LET GO OR RELEASE" someone from their debt without demanding payment. 


Forgiveness is not connected to emotions but a commandment, an act of the will.

Forgiveness is a conscious and intentional act of compassion and mercy.

Forgiveness is letting the one who owes you walk free.


We do not grant forgiveness because the person who hurt us deserves forgiveness. The truth is, none of us deserve to be forgiven. 

 

Does that mean the offender will not experience consequences?

            Forgiving someone does not mean the offender will not experience consequences for their actions. We can see this in our lives and Scripture. For example, if you steal from someone and repent, God is ready to forgive you. However, when these offenses involve criminal activities, they must be reported to authorities who God ordained to protect us (Romans 13:1-7). God is always ready to forgive those who repent of their sins. However, when dealing with these types of activities, perpetrators are at the mercy of the law.

Furthermore, all offense is a sin against God. He will forgive our sins if we repent, but He does not remove the consequences of our actions. We can see this in King David's life when he sinned with Bathsheba. The Lord forgave him and put away his sins. However, He said to David through Nathan, "The sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me" (2 Samuel 12:10). God forgave David for his sin with Bathsheba, but that sin had severe consequences that followed him for the rest of his life. 

The beauty of our Christian life is that we have the Holy Spirit within us, empowering us to extend the same forgiveness Christ gave us to others. Forgiveness is possible. We can and must forgive those who have sinned against us as our Father in heaven forgave us. 

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