Last evening, some one very dear to my heart asked me to forgive them for things they had done to me wihin the past ten years. Without a moment's hesitation, I accepted their apology and assured them I forgave them unconditionally. Whereas my brain and tongue were most eager to offer forgiveness, it is from my heart where true forgiveness must spring, and it is my heart that I have been examining this morning.
What is forgiveness? I am no Biblical scholar adept at translating out of the three Biblical langauges, but any dictionary or Greek lexicon can assist in illustrating that the act of forgiveness is also the act of release. So, when I forgive someone, I am actually releasing my ownership of the transgression. Without ownership of the transgression, I can no longer stew about it, recall it in an argument, pout about it, relive it, cry over it, rehash it in my mind, or harbor bitter resentment toward the person committing the trespass. I depend upon God's forgiveness daily and when I ask His forgiveness of one of my trespasses, I desire him to remove my trespass far from me….to remove it as far as the east is from the west….to bury it in the deepest parts of the ocean…to release me from the guilt and shame of it…to release me from its bondage. Since I expect this of God's forgiveness, can I offer anything less to someone seeking forgiveness from me?
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you… -Luke 6:37
This verse out of Luke contains two negative terms and two positive terms. Which of us ever want to stand in judgement or condemnation? We might say that we do not, but many of us today are constantly judging and condeming those who stand in need of our love, compassion, and mercy. Today, let us examine our own hearts and become a people who exemplify the attributes of God rather than the attributes of the devil.
Go in peace, serve the Lord!