Christian ForgivenessQUESTION: What is Christian forgiveness?ANSWER:
Defining Christian forgiveness is done with words and actions. The word “forgive” is a grace word in the English, as well as the Greek, meaning “to give or to grant.” The meaning is “to remit a debt, to give up resentment or claim for requital, or to pardon an offense.”
Christian forgiveness also encompasses action. Our confession with God involves us seeing our sins as He sees it, bringing God’s forgiveness. When we sin against others, we sin against God. For this reason, we ask God to forgive us of our sins, but we must also forgive our fellow man.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:9).
What guides Christian forgiveness if an offender is not willing to repent, when the victim has done nothing wrong? The Lord commands us to forgive, releasing the offense and the offender to Him. This is done in prayer to the Lord. God recognizes these situations with this Scripture.
“Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, ‘I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
When we have been wronged, and know we did nothing to deserve harsh treatment from the offender, we normally begin to think of retaliation. Retaliation or revenge is not the right course of action. We no longer dwell on the offense when we relinquish forgiveness, allowing God to take care of the vengeance in a fair, just, and appropriate manner.
Steps to Christian Forgiveness
- We recognize that we are sinners in need of forgiveness.
- We make the choice to forgive others.
- We believe and experience Christ’s loving forgiveness in our lives.
- Christ helps us to overcome negative thoughts that are blocking our ability to forgive.
- The Holy Spirit empowers us with the right attitude to forgive those who have hurt us.
- Trust that God will judge all the wrongs in the world.
- When struggling with forgiving others, talk with someone you respect and trust to give you wise counsel, such as your pastor or friend.