We all know the meaning of forgiveness- pardoning someone for their wrongdoings. Simple, easy to understand. Applying it, though, is another story.
Pastor Garcia states that forgiveness is one of the most compelling examples of love.
If you’re going to love someone, you will face an opportunity to deal with forgiveness at some point in your relationship.
We all know what forgiveness is, but according to Pastor Garcia, let’s look at what it is not to understand it better.
Forgiveness is not:
- Trying to ignore the hurt - We are often taught to “just forgive” and push aside the hurt. We need to deal with the hurt but without obsessing over it. You may not be able to forget, but you must forgive.
- Agreeing with the hurt - means justifying it to ourselves, feeling we deserve to feel hurt. This will also lead to obsessing over it.
- Incomplete; only partial forgiveness - Most of us have done this at one time or another. We make the motion to forgive, but then take it back or continue to dwell on our hurts and anger.
- Attaching conditions for reconciliation - “I’ll forgive you for the adultery, but I’m never going to let you out of my sight again.” is just an example of conditions one might apply. That also falls under partial forgiveness.
- The lessening of anger over a period of time - Holding on to anger is not forgiving. True forgiveness comes from love, not anger. If you still feel anger (different than hurt) you are only partially forgiving.
It can be difficult to forgive when you have been deeply hurt to the core of your spirit. It has to be done, though, for your relationship and for yourself. Unforgiveness will eat away at your body and soul. It’s like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. It will kill you instead.
Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Forgiveness towards other is so important to God that He tells us, in the words of Jesus, that if you don’t forgive others, He will not forgive your sins. These words are not to be taken lightly. God expects us to forgive others as He forgives us.
After Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother, Jesus replies in Matthew 18:22 - “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. That’s a lot of times to forgive one person, but that’s what we’re called to do.