Forgiveness: Offering and Receiving
My children and I talk often about forgiveness. It’s been a great dinner discussion topic, but in order for my children to truly understand the importance and application I just have to teach through doing, both offering and receiving.
A few days ago I read an article dealing with the issue of forgiving public figures who mess up. One concept the author introduced was that a person only had to appear to repent to be forgiven.
Yikes. Appear to…that’s disappointing. And yet, what God has shown me is that forgiveness is not about the offender deserving it. Forgiveness is about me. It’s me deciding this:
- I trust that God will handle the situation and the offender – revenge is not an option.
- I’m willing to give up the right to be angry and bitter.
- My life no longer needs to be defined by my hurt.
- My hope is to heal.
None of those things have anything to do with whether my offender repented or not. Repentance is a blessed thing…truly, but it’s not imperative for the healing work of forgiveness to begin. I believe to some degree repentance is for the offender and forgiveness is for the offended.
Repentance restores the offender to a relationship with God and others. Forgiveness restores the one who has been offended to a relationship with God and frees him/her from the repercussions of anger and bitterness.
I’d be so grateful if my ex-husband would repent of his adultery and abandonment, but at this point it’s more about my desire for him to be reconciled to God than to me. This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”- Isaiah 30:15
I also believe that his repentance would mean a lot of healing for our children, but forgiveness blesses our children with healing too. Forgiving their father means that I act respectfully, kindly, and maturely towards my ex-husband. Although not done perfectly and sometimes not even remotely well, I hope my actions based on my decision to offer forgiveness will impact my children in extraordinary ways.
Forgiveness is a beautiful thing all the way around. There is no person that is beyond God’s forgiveness.
“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” - Psalm 86:5
I’m so thankful for His forgiveness – I certainly need a fair amount of it. There are so many ways I fail, but God loves me as much today as He did yesterday and will tomorrow. There is nothing I can do, cannot do, did do or will do that is powerful enough to change how God loves me. He loves me completely and perfectly. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:39) I pray that I will effectively communicate that truth to my children by what I say and how I live.
My hope is that my children will learn the beauty of forgiveness – both offering and receiving it.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103: 8-12
Written by Sue Birdseye
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