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“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other,
just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:32

We are to forgive as Jesus forgave us. If this is true then we must understand the forgiveness of Christ. Forgiveness has two parts – the forgiving and the receiving. Only when both parts are fulfilled is there complete forgiveness. Jesus’ death on the cross”…having forgive us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us, and He has taken it out of the way having nailed it to the cross.” Forgiveness is a volitional choice to cancel a debt that someone owes you. (“They owe me an apology.”) Refusing to offer that forgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die. It only warps your own soul and makes you bitter and angry and wrathful. We forgive for our own sakes as well as for the sake of the other!

My forgiveness is complete when I have extended that forgiveness to another. “As much as it depends upon you, be at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:18). Whether they choose to accept that forgiveness is not is a different story. Jesus died on the cross that all men might be saved. But only those who receive that forgiveness and allow Christ to apply it to their lives are truly saved and completely forgiven. My forgiveness then is not predicated on the fact that the other person accepts it. And if the other person is not repentant, I do not have to go back into a relationship with that person. “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” Luke 17:3. This is the forgiveness that is extended after there has been a response of repentance. I should have already cancelled the debt against him, but there is no relationship until he repents.

Only God is able to forgive and forget. True forgiveness brings about remembrance without harsh feelings.

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
Matthew 6:14

Forgiveness is a journey. It starts with a volitional choice to cancel a debt that is due you because of a wrong done against you. Then it is a matter of continuing to remind yourself of that decision and of putting your emotions about the person and event under the Lordship of Christ. You know the journey is ended when the event or person is mentioned and there are no strong feelings that emerge. Give yourself grace while on the journey. And really spend time thinking about how very much Christ loves you and how much He forgave you. This can be a humbling and a freeing journey!

May you walk I peace and trust God with all things today.


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