Our Story: What is Forgiveness?


This weekend, we went covered the topic of forgiveness in the second part of our current series called “Our Story.” Granted, it’s not an easy topic for anyone, but it is a necessary topic for those of us who would be bold enough to call ourselves Christ followers. So, if you find yourself in a situation that requires you to be forgiving, here are a few things worth considering:

  • Forgiveness isn’t forgetfulness. Painful memories may not be erased in time, or even by forgiveness. If we forget, that doesn’t mean we’ve forgiven. On the other hand, we may never forget a wrong that we have forgiven.
  • Forgiveness isn’t reconciliation. This is commonly confused. Reconciliation may not happen when forgiveness does. A thief may be forgiven without being trusted with money ever again. Here’s something to remember:

Forgiveness can happen without reconciliation, but reconciliation cannot happen without forgiveness. 

So, what is forgiveness? Well, my simple, everyday definition is this: Forgiveness is the release of the need to hunt down or retaliate for a debt that is owed to us. This is exactly what God did in Jesus. Jesus paid a debt to God that we can’t afford to pay, so that, through faith in Him, God no longer requires payment for that debt (Ephesians 1:7). Thus, forgiveness is always costly, but it’s a fundamental aspect to our faith, regardless of the cost. Simply put, there is no such thing as Christianity without forgiveness. As Christians, then, God expects us to model this fundamental of our faith and be forgiving.

Here are some great verses on the topic:

  • Psalm 32:1–“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”
  • Ephesians 4:32–“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”




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