This is the second part of an earlier blog post. The first post spoke to what a “gift” forgiveness is to both the giver and the receiver. This blog post is about the act of forgiveness. I would often ask myself “What does forgiveness look like?” I was trying to figure out what my mindset should be and how I should behave. After much prayer and study on the subject, I have arrived at what I feel forgiveness looks like for me.
There are general questions that we ask about forgiveness, to which the scriptures provide specific answers:
How Often Should I Forgive? – Answer: There is no limit.
Matthew 18:21-22: Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
What is the Consequence of Not Forgiving? – Answer: If we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us of our sins.
Matthew 6:14-15: For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Mark 11:25: And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Although I understood all of the above, I still struggled with what does actual “forgiveness” look like in my life. I finally realized that God expects my forgiveness to mirror the forgiveness that He provides to me. That I am to afford others the gift, in like manner, which He has afforded to me.
Hebrews 10:17: And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Acts 3:19: Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
Isaiah 1:18: Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
God has provided the example of what forgiveness looks like. When God forgives my sin, He no longer remembers them, He blots them out, and He makes them white as snow and as wool.
When I forgive someone, I should no longer remember the sin and blot it out. I know, personally, how hard this can be, but it is the high level to which God is calling us to rise. We can see how this works when we observe the innocent nature of children.
Take two children playing on the playground. One child becomes angry and hits the other child. After the parent speaks to the child and makes him understand he was wrong, he approaches the other child and apologizes. Within seconds the two children are playing again, as if nothing ever happened.
I know there is an ongoing dialogue between forgiving and forgetting. I believe it is a thin line, but one that can be understood by another example.
Take a wife who emotionally hurt her husband. The wife asks for and receives forgiveness. The husband has forgiven his wife, and over time has healed. The husband still has a memory of the hurt, but he does not charge it to his wife; he does not hold his wife accountable.
This level of innocence (1st example) and forgiveness (2nd example) is what is expected of Christians – and it is a supernatural act for adults, which is only achieved by seeking God’s guidance and strength.
Glory To God For All That He Has Done
Blessings – Janice
Associate Certified Coach, ICF