THE SIDES OF FORGIVENESS
“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Forgiveness is the act of setting someone free from an obligation to you that is a result of a wrong done against you. Several sides are evident in forgiveness.
The practical side of forgiveness means that forgiving someone is simply a deliberate, singular, and volitional decision by which one person chooses to consider another person no longer in debt. It’s like saying, “On February 26, I willfully and deliberately choose to forgive you of the wrong you did to me.”
The theological side of forgiveness means that you place the person’s case in God’s court. You are no longer responsible for the behavior of that person, and you are saying to God, “It’s your business."
The relational side of forgiveness means that you seek reconciliation with the person who has injured you. This does not mean necessarily that you will be best friends with the offensive person or that you will have a relationship with them, but you relinquish repayment for the wrong.
The transformational side of forgiveness means that since God has forgiven us, we are to forgive others.
Forgiveness is difficult because it is costly. The cost may be the pain of expressing our hurt and disappointment without any satisfactory release and restoration from the one who did the offending.
Some Jewish rabbis taught their followers not to forgive beyond three offenses. Peter, no doubt, thought that forgiving seven times equaled going the second mile. Jesus responded to Peter’s inquiry by noting that true forgiveness knows no limits. Go, therefore, and do likewise. ♦
Today I need to forgive …