I had a trial over the weekend. So, I grabbed my resources (Bible, certain Christian books that touch on what I was going through, and my spiritual journal), took a ride and talked to Jesus about what I was going through and how to deal with it. At the end of my time with Jesus I asked Him about forgiveness. I said, “Am I truly forgiving a person if I just say I forgive them, or are there signs that accompany true forgiveness?” He responded with bringing some Bible verses to my mind and then dropped into my spirit how He forgives us. From this, I came to understand what biblical forgiveness/true forgiveness really is.
Biblical forgiveness/True forgiveness means:
- Not holding the fault/offense of the person to them (Ps. 103:10, 12).
- Not having any animosity (ill will, hatred, resentment, hostility) toward the person still (Rom. 5:8-11).
- Being able to leave the fault/offense right where it is (the past) and move on (Rom. 6:5-6ff).
These three are based off of how Jesus forgives us.
1. When Jesus forgives us He no longer holds our sins against Him to us.
The Bible says, “He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs… And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.” (Ps. 103:10-12, MSG)
2. When Jesus forgives us He doesn’t have any animosity toward us.
The Bible says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (Rom. 5:8-11, NLT)
3. When Jesus forgives us He leaves our sins right where they are, with our old man, and He moves on to our new man.
The Bible says, “If we shared in Jesus’ death by being baptized, we will be raised to life with him. We know that the persons we used to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus. This was done, so that our sinful bodies would no longer be the slaves of sin.” (Rom. 6:5-6, CEV)
Jesus confirmed in a parable that we are to forgive just as we have been forgiven,
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’” (Matt. 18:32-33, NIV)
Thus, if our forgiveness of a person does not possess the three characteristics of how Jesus forgave us, then we have not completely forgiven that person and we need to be honest about it so to do something about it.
Hopefully what I learned during my trial has been helpful to you.