anyone whom you forgive, i also forgive. indeed, what i have forgiven, if i have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, [2 corinthians 2:10]
when was the last time you said the words, “i forgive you”?
not just casually, or jokingly, but actually said, and meant, “i forgive you.” a week ago? a month ago? 6 months ago? if forgiveness is at the core of the character of God and the calling of believers, why is it that forgiveness is not a regular part of our daily lives. we would certainly say sin is part of our daily life – so then it should follow that forgiveness is as well. i think there are a few things we need to recognize before forgiveness will become a common occurrence for us.
1) the weight of sin
if sin is equivalent to “messing up,” then there really isn’t a reason to seek or extend forgiveness. saying, “don’t worry about it” or “it’s not a big deal,” reflects an attitude that the sin never really was that large of offense to begin with. but the reality is, sin is deadly. all sin.
then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. [james 1:15]
the weight of sin is measured based on the glory of the one sinned against. since sin is an offense against man and God, all sin carries this weight. when david sinned against bathsheba, uriah, and others, his confession showed he understood his sin was not just against those people…
david said to nathan, “i have sinned against the LORD.” [2 samuel 12:13a]
2) the completeness of our forgiveness through Christ
forgiveness means we are completely freed from the debt we owed and the chains that bind us to that sin. think about having your student loans forgiven (boy wouldn’t that be awesome?!). it means you no longer owe that debt. yet we live as though our sins are unforgiven – still needing to repay the debt. if we understood fully our forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice then we would live as ones who have been freed.
as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. [psalm 103:12]
3) forgiving others matters
like we just said, forgiveness breaks chains that tie people to sin. and we have the privilege of being called to participate in that work. however, we will often avoid pursuing forgiveness because it seems easier to let things go unaddressed. but that fails to account for the freedom that is experienced when forgiveness is extended.
put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. [colossians 3:12–13]
which one of these areas is the most challenging for you to fully believe? spend time today asking God to cause you to believe this. as we believe these truths, this will propel us into the action of forgiveness and seeking forgiveness ourselves. but first, we must understand the Lord’s forgiveness and his invitation into that work ourselves.
~ keith kozlowski