We all do wrong. We all hurt other people. Sometimes the hurt we deliver is the result of oversight, ignorance or immaturity, or careless words and actions or sloppy and selfish thinking. We hurt someone, but we don’t really mean it. Sometimes the hurt we deliver is a result of anger or vengeance or jealousy and we absolutely mean to create havoc and turmoil. Either way we do hurt others and we therefore do need forgiveness. So how do we receive forgiveness from others and especially from God? What do we have to do or say or think for forgiveness to take hold? How can we truly know that we are forgiven? Is forgiveness really worth the effort?
To begin with, we need to understand that forgiveness is perhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts that the Bible teaches. Most of us think of forgiveness as the removing of the consequences of a wrong action from the person who did the wrong thing - and in some cases we would be right. While the Bible does describe this type of forgiveness, it clearly does not apply this type of forgiveness to your forgiving me and me forgiving you. This type of forgiveness, described as a “pardon,” is only applied to the forgiveness given as a result of the sacrifice of Jesus on behalf of the whole world. The significance of this narrow application of a “pardon” is twofold. First, it shows the magnitude of the plan, love and mercy of God as He executes His eternal purposes on behalf of His human creation. Second, it clearly announces to us that we are not in any sort of position to “pardon” others when they have wronged us. So, if we are not in a position to pardon others then how is it that we can forgive?
Another Bible definition for forgiveness is "to send something away from you." It turns out this definition aptly fits what forgiveness truly means for us in the one-to-one experiences of our lives. How many stories have you heard of people who have been able to forgive those who perpetrated horrible crimes against them? We look at these stories and are drawn to the freedom with which those who forgive seem to live. We look at these stories and begin to wonder if we could ever do what they were able to do. We look at these stories and see the true definition of human forgiveness in action.
So, how can we make true forgiveness apply in our individual lives? How can we reap the benefits of forgiveness whether we are the one who needs to forgive or the one who needs to be forgiven? Check out our September 12, 2016 broadcast, “Does God Really Forgive Me?” and join us as we observe the pattern of God’s forgiveness and learn the steps needed to apply that pattern to our own personal experiences. Giving and receiving forgiveness can change your life...so what are you waiting for?
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