Welcome to day 20 of STAND OUT: 7 traits of a counter cultural life. You can find every post in the series here.
I’ve been thinking a lot about one of those hard relationships in my life and why it is I struggle with forgiveness. If I were guessing, I’d imagine the reasons I could identify are ones you might recognize in some of those difficult relationships in your life as well. As I talk with my friends and with others who come to me for prayer or counsel finding a way to forgive people is a common theme.
Since I’m really NOT an expert, I find myself continually turning to Scripture to seek wisdom about what forgiveness is and how this broken flesh can actually learn to do.
Forgive and forget.
Ugh, y’all. This one idea has caused me more heartache about relationships than any other. I think I’ve forgiven someone but then something happens and I remember what they’ve done … oops, I did it again. I failed to forget … and the enemy says, “See, you didn’t really forgive.”
But Scripture doesn’t say “forgive and forget.” Here’s what it does say …
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
We forgive as we have been forgiven.
Which, naturally, begs the question, “How have we been forgiven?” As I have studied what the Bible says about forgiveness I’ve found three important truths we need to grasp if we are going to practice biblical forgiveness.We forgive as we have been forgiven. 3 truths about biblical forgiveness. Click To Tweet
Biblical forgiveness involves a conscious choice not to remember.
And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34
God can’t forget our sins. It’s impossible. But He chooses NOT to remember. So, too we must make the choice not to dwell on the wrong someone has done.
Biblical forgiveness refuses to keep score.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 1 Corinthians 13:4 NLT, emphasis added
When we forgive, we decide not to focus on the wrong but instead on the restoration.
Biblical forgiveness is often a process and takes time.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22
We’re going to dig into this deeper in tomorrow’s post, but it is vital that we understand, forgiveness is rarely “one and done.” Sometimes we have to forgive over and over and over. And it isn’t easy. And it isn’t fun. But it is Christlike.
One of the most important truths I have found as I’ve practiced forgiving others is this … how sweet the forgiveness of God is in my own life. All the times people have hurt my feelings or done something against me, all of it is NOTHING compared to the ways I have wronged God. And yet, He has forgiven and continues to forgive me.
More than anything else, the forgiveness I have received keeps me motivated to grow in forgiving others.
Which of the three truths about biblical forgiveness do you find hardest?