2 Things we often misunderstand about Forgiveness
Peter Hill, Head Life Coach
Faith Forward Coaching
Forgiveness is a bedrock principle for followers of Jesus Christ. On the best moment of my best day I am still in complete need of God’s forgiveness. The question that the apostle Peter asks Jesus about forgiveness reminds us that we are to forgive and forgive those who offend us so many times that we shouldn’t be able to keep count.
Forgiveness is good for soul. It helps stem the tide of anger, bitterness and wrath that can well up inside the heart of a person that chooses not to forgive.
But there is another side of forgiveness that the church seldom discusses and not understanding these two aspects of forgiveness can keep you from moving toward the kind of person that God desires.
When we think about the original sin in the garden with Adam and Eve it shows us how God forgives differently than we often forgive. I have no doubt that both are enjoying their time in heaven and are completely forgiven, but after they sinned their relationship with God was forever changed. I think at first they like many of us believed that forgiveness was a get out of jail free card. The idea of do whatever you want then seek forgiveness. It is true that their sin was forgiven and their eternity with God was restored but they still had to face the consequences on an earthly level. Just because we choose to forgive someone does not mean that short term ramifications will not exist. When we forgive anyone that offends that doesn’t mean that they get let off the hook for everything. It just means that we will no longer hold that offense against them and that we will not allow ourselves to be trapped in a spirit of unforgiveness. If we want to move forward to with Christ we often need to let those consequences happen even if it makes us and them feel uncomfortable.
Like most of us I have a function on my computer that allows me to go back in time. When my computer starts to freak out I can make it go back to a time when it was functioning correctly. This is how many of us view forgiveness. We offend or commit a sin toward someone or it happens toward us and we think we can pull out the forgiveness card and go back to a time before the sin occurred and it will be just like it never happened. This I believe may have been what Adam and Eve thought. We can eat the fruit, find out what we think God is holding back. Ask for His forgiveness and everything will be exactly like it was before we sinned. But it won’t. They no longer were able to stay in the garden. Their relationship with each other and God was forever changed. This often causes a believer to experience guilt and shame. Even when forgive others and ourselves it changes the dynamic of the relationship. If you wish to move forward you can’t allow others that have offended you to continue to believe things are the same. Because they are not even if you want them it to be just like it was before the sin. Maybe one day you will get there again but you will never be able to move forward if you believe things have not changed.
So ask for forgiveness and freely forgive others but remember that things have changed and that is okay.
Praying this helps you move forward today.