“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12
Often our understanding of “forgiveness” is so different than how God looks at forgiveness. We say, “I forgive you, but I really don’t want anything to do with you.” We let past hurts mar future relationships. When we repent of our sins God says, “I forgive you, I will forget the offense and I want to rebuild my relationship with you.” When God forgives, He forgets and no longer remembers our sins. Can we do the same?
To forgive is to set someone free from a debt they owe you because of something done against you. To forgive, is to say, “you don’t owe me anything”. Our human nature wants justice for these wrongs against us…we want to get even. However, God promises that a biblical response will bring joy and peace.
Forgiveness is vitally important in the life of a church and a family. The church is no place for grudges. Likewise, relationships in a family or work situation can be shattered for years because of a refusal to forgive. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ we have received God’s forgiveness. How can we not offer that same forgiveness to those who have hurt us? God has forgiven us completely, without any merit on our part. None of us deserve to be forgiven, but He has lavished it on us anyway. Forgiveness is one the most godlike actions a person can do.
Paul shared this similar truth when he wrote to the church in Colossae, “Bearing with one another and forgiving each other whoever has a complaint against anyone just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” When Paul wrote these words he was unjustly being held in prison. He could have been eaten up with bitterness, but he was committed to the biblical principle of forgiveness.
As followers of Jesus, we are commanded to imitate our Lord. With the power of the Holy Spirit we can eliminate all accumulated bitterness and anger in our relationships. We can look for ways to rebuild any damaged relationships even if we have been the one wronged. We can release what we believe they owe us, instead of pursuing the emotional satisfaction through getting even. God does not keep track of our sin against Him. What a picture of passionate love and grace!