What Forgiveness Is Not
Forgiveness is not circumventing God’s justice…
— God will execute justice in His time and in His way.
Forgiveness is not waiting for “time to heal all wounds.”…
— Time does not heal wounds—some people will not allow healing.
Forgiveness is not letting the guilty “off the hook.”…
— It is moving the guilty from your hook onto God’s hook.
Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation…
— It takes two for reconciliation, only one for forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not being a weak martyr…
— It is being strong enough to be Christlike.
Forgiveness is not stuffing your anger…
— It is resolving your anger by releasing the offense to God.
Forgiveness is not a natural response…
— It is a supernatural one, empowered by God.
Forgiveness is not denying the hurt…
— It is feeling the hurt and releasing it.
Forgiveness is not being a doormat…
— That would make Jesus the greatest doormat of all!
Forgiveness is not conditional…
— It is unconditional, a mandate from God for everyone.
Forgiveness is not forgetting…
— To forgive, you must remember.
Forgiveness is not a feeling…
— It is a choice—an act of the will.
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” -Hebrews 10:36
What Forgiveness Is
Forgiveness is dismissing a debt.
Forgiveness is dismissing your demand that others owe you something, especially when . . .
— They fail to meet your expectations.
— They fail to keep a promise.
— They fail to treat you justly.
Forgiveness is dismissing, cancelling, or setting someone free from the consequence of falling short of God’s standard.
Forgiveness is extended even if it is never, ever earned.
Forgiveness is extended regardless of a lack of repentance.
Forgiveness is releasing your resentment toward your offender.
— Releasing your right to hear “I’m sorry”
— Releasing your right to be bitter
— Releasing your right to get even
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.” -Romans 12:17
Forgiveness is releasing your rights regarding the offense.
— Releasing your right to dwell on the offense
— Releasing your right to hold on to the offense
— Releasing your right to keep bringing up the offense
“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” -Proverbs 17:9
Forgiveness is reflecting on the character of God. Just as God is willing to forgive us, we are called to forgive others.
— To forgive is to extend mercy.
— To forgive is to give a gift of grace.
— To forgive is to set the offender free.
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” -Colossians 3:13
Prayer of Forgiveness
“Lord Jesus, thank You for caring about how much my heart has been hurt. You know the pain I have felt because of (list every offense). Right now I release all that pain into Your hands. Thank You, Lord, for dying on the cross for me and extending Your forgiveness to me. As an act of my will, I choose to forgive (name). Right now, I move (name) off of my emotional hook to Your hook. I refuse all thoughts of revenge. I trust that in Your time and in Your way You will deal with (name) as You see fit. And Lord, thank You for giving me Your power to forgive so that I can be set free. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.”
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” -Ephesians 4:32