WHAT FORGIVENESS IS AND IS NOT


STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM

WHAT FORGIVENESS IS AND IS NOT
==============================
Bear with each other and forgive
whatever grievances you may have against one
another. Forgive as the Lord
forgave you. Colossians 3:13

To understand forgiveness we must realize
what forgiveness is NOT:

· Forgiveness is not forgetting. Deep hurts can
rarely be wiped out of one’s
awareness.

· Forgiveness is not
reconciliation. Reconciliation takes two persons, but an
injured party can
forgive an offender without reconciliation.

· Forgiveness is not condoning. Forgiveness does not necessarily excuse bad or
hurtful
behavior.

· Forgiveness is not dismissing. It involves taking the offense
seriously, not
passing it off as inconsequential or insignificant.

·
Forgiveness is not a vague notion of ‘tolerance’. This is, at best,
a
low-grade parody of forgiveness. At worst, it’s a way of sweeping the
real
issues in life under the carpet.

· Forgiveness is not pardoning.
A pardon is a legal transaction that releases
an offender from the
consequences of an action, such as a penalty.

Throughout the Old
Testament we read that only God can forgive sins. We hear
David exclaim, “He
forgives all my sins…” (Psalm 103:3). We also see examples
of human
forgiveness—even in pain—like Joseph forgiving his brothers for
selling him
into slavery. Joseph gains true freedom. He then names his son
Manasseh, “one
who causes to be forgotten.”

In the New Testament we see Jesus, the Lamb
of God, come into to the world to
die for our sins. Through His shed blood we
can once and for all receive
ultimate forgiveness. This is the pure “gospel
of grace.” This forgiveness is
a gift. We do not deserve it but God, in His
grace, reached out to provide
forgiveness to a dying world.

Then we
read in the verse above the impact of this on those of us who have
received
that forgiveness. Its ethical challenge parallels “love your enemies”
and
“pray for your persecutors.”

In the final analysis, forgiveness is an act
of faith. By forgiving another, I
am trusting that God is a better
justice-maker than I am. By forgiving, I
release my own right to get even and
leave all issues of fairness for God to
work out. I leave in God’s hands the
scales that must balance justice and
mercy. I simply forgive others and leave
them to God.

RESPONSE: Today I will leave fairness and justice in God’s
hands. I will
obediently forgive others just as the Lord forgave
me.

PRAYER: Lord, grant me the faith to trust You with the offenses
committed
against me. I will forgive.

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