Week 4 – Love is Forgiving

Week 4 – 1/31/16

Love is Forgiving

Forgiveness (and lack of forgiveness/unforgiveness) is one of the hardest issues a Christian has to deal with.  It is the place where healing is needed the most, because the truth is - we all have an amazing capacity to hurt each other, and we all have our “stuff”!  Forgiveness, though, can also be the greatest source of freedom and relief for both the Forgiver and the “Forgivee”.

Every Sunday, we pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.  What if we have not forgiven someone?  Do we really want the Lord to hold off on His forgiveness the way we sometimes withhold ours?  Praise Him that He does not give us what our sins deserve, but is faithful and merciful to forgive!  (Psalm 103:3 – “He forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases..”)

This is not to say that we will never be hurt or that a relationship will necessarily be restored after a wrong is done.  But forgiving another is more about freedom and release.  It is about letting go of bitterness and the things that hold us back from loving another as much as we love ourselves.  It is about choosing a generous heart and living a life full of grace and mercy that is quick to forgive so the other person is released as well.  Through the Holy Spirit, Christ gives us the power to do just that.

In his book, “Forgiveness”, Christian author Rodney Hogue writes, “Have you ever heard someone say, ‘You owe me an apology!’?  If I offended you, then I have created a debt and am obligated to pay it.  You will want to make sure that I am penalized appropriately – the punishment fitting the crime.  You hope to receive satisfaction as I’m punished for my debt against you.  However, for you to forgive me you must release not only my obligation to you but you also must give up any satisfaction you think you would experience whenever I am punished.  Forgiveness means that you must release what you are owed and not give your offenders what they deserve.  Forgiveness isn’t saying that you are not owed something.  Forgiveness acknowledges the debt but you are choosing to cancel it…”

There is an old praise song that says, “He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed Someone to wash my sins away.  And now I sing a brand new song, ‘Amazing Grace’ all day long, Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay…”

May we be full of grace and mercy, and love each other as Christ has loved us!