Receiving and Extending Forgiveness

There is a great misunderstanding about forgiveness. Forgiveness is not bypassing God’s justice; it is not waiting for “time to heal;” It does not deny the hurt that someone caused, nor is it a natural response in a world that demands justice.

The Real You

Forgiveness is a choice, an obedient step to extend mercy to those who have wronged you because God has provided you complete forgiveness and reconciliation from your past faults and failures.

Forgiveness is a free gift given to believers to release them from the pain of their past.

When you commit to following Christ, your goal is to be like Jesus, and forgiveness is a sign of genuine faith-in-action. When Jesus was nailed to the Cross at Calvary, his words to the Roman soldiers below were, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Forgiveness was at the heart of God’s reconciliation plan, and he requires his followers to extend forgiveness to others, just as God has freely forgiven you.

Three key areas of forgiveness:
Knowing you are forgiven, forgiving yourself, and forgiving others are all keys to spiritual growth.

1. Do you believe that there is anything that God has not forgiven you for? 
People who do not believe God has forgiven them for their sinful past get caught up in works-based salvation, meaning the individual feels a burden to earn good deeds to outweigh their past failures. The problem with this thinking is that the Bible makes it abundantly clear that anyone who relies on the works of the law to get right with God is under a curse (Galatians 3:10). Good works are a natural response to our gratefulness for what Christ did, not a payment for earning our way to heaven.

 2. Have you forgiven yourself?
People who surrender to Christ but do not forgive themselves for their sinful past are stuck with pride. It is prideful to believe that God has forgiven you, yet remain in self-bondage. You were purchased with a price to live in freedom, not to live in self-condemnation. The blood of Jesus cleanses all who come to him from all unrighteousness (Hebrews 9:14). Accept the forgiveness God has provided for you through Jesus; otherwise, you are living as though Christ died in vain and his divine sacrifice was not enough to cleanse you of your sinful past.

3. Do you need to forgive others? 
Forgiving others is essential to your new life as a Christian. Unforgiveness hinders the work of the Spirit in your life and causes you to remain under God’s judgment (Matthew 6:15). Unforgiveness opens the door for the enemy (Satan) to invade your thoughts and emotions and blinds you to the real call of being a disciple. Forgiving others is a requirement for those who have been forgiven. Read Matthew 18:21-35.

Ready to learn more about true forgiveness?

Here is a reference guide to teach you more about what the Bible says about forgiveness. Hope for the Heart is a Christian organization that has a wide range of free resources.

Walkthrough forgiveness with our Celebrate Recovery ministry…

Celebrate Recovery (CR) is a discipleship program for anyone dealing with past hurts, present hang-ups, or unhealthy habits who are seeking help. If you are struggling with unforgiveness, or need an accountability group, CR may be right for you. One Love hosts this group each week at both our Kaka’ako and Windward campus. For more information, click here.