By Pastor J.R. Lee
To forgive or not to forgive – that is the question. As you try to make your decision, you may beasking yourself the following questions.
1. If I forgive, am I condoning what they did?
No. God forgives but does not condone sin. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the offense wasn’t that bad – it means God is that good.
2. What if the other person isn’t sorry?
Forgiveness releases the offense before and even if you never receive an apology. Forgiveness isn’t based on the response of the other person. If you are a follower of Jesus, forgiveness is born out of our response to what Jesus has done on our behalf. Jesus forgave those crucifying him before they ever repented. His forgiveness didn’t guarantee their repentance but it did make it possible.
3. Must I forgive if a person continues to hurt me?
Yes. See Matthew 18:21‐22 in the Bible. It’s not easy but it’s the right thing to do.
4. If I forgive a person, do I stay in an abusive situation?
No!!! Obey God and free yourself from an abusive situation until it is changed. Forgiveness does not mean that you keep yourself in a dangerous situation. You can remove yourself from a dangerous situation and still forgive your offender.
5. How do I forgive when I don’t feel it’s possible?
Sometimes forgiveness is impossible in your own strength. Forgiveness is always possible through the strength that Jesus freely offers to you. We can access that power by asking Jesus to do for us (forgive) what we can’t do for ourselves as a result of what He did for us on the cross.
6. How quickly should I forgive?
Immediately. We’re in a prison cell of sorts until we forgive.
7. How do I know if I have forgiven?
Forgiveness is not a feeling as much as it is a decision. It’s more than being able to be polite.
It’s celebrating and enjoying the freedom that forgiveness enables.
8. What if I don’t want to forgive?
Remember how much God has forgiven you. Grace extended (to others) follows grace received (from God). If you can’t forgive, then I invite you to tap into the forgiveness only Jesus can provide. It’s not until you have been forgiven that forgiveness is truly possible. Forgiven people forgive people.
I’ve heard it said that forgiveness is like setting a prisoner free only to find out that the prisoner was you. Allow yourself that opportunity today!