What is it?

Does it mean just forgetting? No more pain? No more anger? Letting bygones be bygones? Letting someone off the hook? Unfairness? Injustice?

I don't believe the Bible teaches us to unconditionally release others from past wrongs. Some people believe you have to forgive in order to love. Others adopt the “I forgive you for my own sake” attitude that advocates forgiveness as a means of releasing ourselves from the cancer or bitterness and the fire of anger. In many ways, forgiveness if seen, then, as an unconditional offering of pardon that says, “No matter what you did to me, I forgive you.”

The results of this kind of forgiveness are not always positive. Such forgiveness is not the type a perpetrator of abuse needs, that’s for sure. It is not in his best interest to release him from his accountability for vicious acts.

The scripture teaches that whether or not we forgive depends on our answer to the question, “What does Christ-like love require?” The answer, in turn, depends on the circumstances where we are asking the question. Sometimes, it requires us to say “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. ”(Luke 23:24)
Sometimes, love requires us to forgive over and over.

Matt 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

And sometimes, love requires us to withhold forgiveness for the sake of the one who has harmed us.

Forgiveness throughout the Bible carries the idea of “release,” “sending away,” or “letting go.” The Greek word most often translated as “forgiveness” was used to indicate release from an office, marriage, obligation, debt, or punishment. The idea of a debt or something owed is inherent to the concept of forgiveness.

So, in Biblical terms, forgiveness is the loving, voluntary, cancellation of a debt. It’s the kind of release Jesus spoke of when, during a teaching moment at Simon the Pharisee’s house, He compared forgiveness to the cancellation of a financial obligation.

Luke 7:36-47 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.

When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is--that she is a sinner."

Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said.

"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"

Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.

You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

Sin incurs a debt that must be canceled or forgiven. The more aware we are of how much we’ve been forgiven, the more love we will have toward the one who cancels the debt.

Luke 17:3-4 So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."

The offense

The confrontation


        2 Sam 12:1-4  Luke 10:41-42

        Luke 23:34  Acts 7:60

        1 Peter 4:8  Eph 4:29

        Prov 27:6  Luke 17:1-10

 The repentance

      Luke 17

      2 Sam 12:13-23

      Sometimes repentance is impossible. the offender may have dies. In such cases, we can only prayerfully and mercifully “release” the offender into the arms of God.

The forgiveness

      Remember the definition, “Forgiveness is the loving, voluntary cancellation of a debt.” Forgiveness removes the obstacles to loving, honest, growing relationships. It removes reasons for avoidance, distance, and coolness.

      When an offense is dealt with, a forgiving heart can rightly say, “I will no longer hold this against you. I can see you know you’ve hurt me and that it was wrong to do so.”

      On the other hand, if there is no repentance, withholding forgiveness may be necessary. It’s easy for some to assume that the one who withholds forgiveness is to blame for problems in the relationship. that is true only if the offender has already shown signs of repentance. We must remember, too, that it is not right for offended persons to withhold forgiveness if they have not been willing to offer the loving, honest confrontation Christ calls for.

      Forgiveness can rightly be withheld only if motivated by a Christ-like love, the kind of love that cares enough to do the difficult work of serving notice that there is a relationship-threatening problem.

      Forgiveness does not mean we ignore the consequences of forgiven sin. Love for a repentant child abuser, thief, alcoholic, or drug abuser well mean exercising wise caution to avoid placing the person in circumstances that will play to his weaknesses or endanger others. God Himself does not suspend the natural law of “sowing and reaping.” He does not forgive so all the consequences of our sin be removed. He forgives us so that we can enjoy His loving acceptance of us. He forgives to offer a relationship in spite of the losses incurred by our sin. He removes eternal guilt and shame, but not all of the scars and consequences that we must live with.


The restoration

There is a wonderful release when things are made right after a separation in a relationship. Neh 9:17

This is the story of the Gospel. Forgiveness that leads to reconciliation

      Rom 5:8-11

      Col 2:12-19

Is Forgiveness Possible? Is it Necessary?

Jesus shares our pain and bears our sins. He takes our unintentional as well as our intentional sins for us, so we can be forgiven. So, for these child/adult people, He is there the whole time, knowing the cause of their behaviors and sins, and knows the way to healing and forgiveness.

It’s important to remember, that God will forgive even the perpetrator if he/she is repentant. He is the God of restoration for all of us. As hard as it is for us to comprehend, Jesus died for the one who victimizes as well as the one who was the victim - and part of the victim’s healing includes the willingness to allow God to teach them forgiveness.

Isa 53

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied ; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Forgiveness is possible for all....even the perpetrator.
Matt 5:23-24

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
Luke 19:8-9 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.

In the Old Testament, God provided a means of repentance for ever imaginable sin. Christ became the sacrifice to replace all of these. (Read Leviticus if you want a real appreciation for the complicated sacrifices they had to prepare!) If God was and is so insistent on ways for repentance and forgiveness, we have no place to say forgiveness is not possible.

Confessing wrongs and making things right are discussed a lot in the Bible. If we fail to do so, torture follows - the loss of a relationship with God, and an unspeakable agony separated from Him.


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