When we demonstrate forgiveness, God uses it as a salvation seed in others —in ways and at times that only He can know.
If you kept record of our sins, no one could last long. But you forgive us, and so we will worship you. With all my heart, I am waiting, LORD, for you! I trust your promises. (Psalm 130:3-5, CEV)
It takes faith to forgive. Now, when someone approaches you with a repentant heart, forgiveness is not too difficult. It is unlikely you will harbor bitterness and resentment when someone seeks to send an authentic apology your way. But it is far more difficult to forgive the words, actions, and injustices of an unrepentant perpetrator, or to forgive the wrongs that go unnoticed by everyone but you.
Oswald Chambers said, “Faith is the deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” Knowing and trusting that you are the child of a God who loves justice resolves the issue of forgiveness (see Isaiah 61:8). God is aware that you have been wronged! It is not your job to enforce forgiveness in others. In time, God deals with every unrepentant heart. The more we worry about others’ lack of repentance, the less liberty we walk in. When we chain ourselves to their offenses, we aren’t operating under the full freedom available to us in Christ.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld. (John 20:23 CEV)
The sword of forgiveness also wields the power of salvation—for us and for others. Forgiveness isn’t what the world says. The world says, “Retaliate, and seek your own justice.” God’s Word calls us to something different: to freely forgive because we are freely forgiven. When we choose to forgive, we demonstrate the power of Christ’s forgiveness at work in our own lives. When we demonstrate forgiveness, God uses it as a salvation seed in others—in ways and at times that only He can know.
Whose salvation is on the other side of your forgiveness? What blessing does God desire to bestow upon you when you choose to freely forgive? Ask for His grace to forgive others as He has forgiven you.