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July 10, 2023

Ep.1289: How Do I Know If I Have Really Forgiven Someone?

The depth, power and appropriate applications of true forgiveness

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Since we can't pardon sin like Jesus did, what kind of forgiveness can we give?

What are our responsibilities of forgiveness towards fellow believers?

What are our responsibilities of forgiveness towards unbelievers?

Theme Scripture: Matthew 6:14

We have all been wronged by someone. Sometimes the wrong is especially deep and hurtful, and we are debilitated by it. We have all also heard the saying “forgive and forget." The forgiving part sounds like a really magnanimous Christian thing to do. However, it can be deeply challenging, depending upon the hurt we have suffered. The “forgetting” part? Well, that can be overwhelmingly difficult - and in many cases may not even be possible. So, what is a Christian to do? How do we know who and when to forgive? Are the biblical “rules” for forgiving others always the same? What if I forgive and really mean it but then begin to feel like I want to change my mind?

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Forgiveness can be tricky.

As Christians, we know we should work to develop an instinctively forgiving attitude. After all, that’s what Jesus lived. The whole reason he came was to forgive sin and create the opportunity for resurrection and future judgment and reconciliation for all. While he preached the message of the kingdom, he was tolerant and forgiving of people because he understood their sinful nature. The question is, can we do what Jesus did? Can we be forgiving like he was?

The answer is...sometimes.

In the New Testament, there are different words that define different kinds of forgiveness. One specific word is only used to describe a pardon for sins that is exclusive to God and to Jesus. This word carries the thought of the actual removal of sins from someone. It is about giving them an opportunity for life without any recollection of or reference to their previous sinful nature. This pardon can only come once the blood of Jesus has been applied to them.

The other kind of forgiveness is a very different story. The word here essentially means “to send away.” It is also used in the New Testament regarding a man divorcing, as in "sending away" his wife. Great! What does this mean for us? How is it possible to send someone’s sins away from us but not actually remove them? Does this mean that we treat them as though nothing happened and just wipe the slate clean? What about the natural consequences of doing wrong to others and hurting them? What if they never say they are sorry for what they did?

So many questions, and every one of them needs a clear and direct response. Check out our July 10, 2023 podcast, “How Do I Know if I Have Really Forgiven Someone?” for more. We establish the kind of forgiveness that the blood of Jesus gives and compare it with the "sending away" concept. We look at the psychology of forgiveness and follow the four phases suggested by some studies. What we find in all of this is a deeper understanding of the healing power that true and appropriate forgiveness can bring. Join us and learn more. This biblical approach might be just what you need to be freed from the pain you’ve been carrying from someone hurting you.


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