I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness recently.

It’s felt like there was something brewing inside of me and I couldn’t quite figure it out. So today I sat down and really dove in to it.

I know about forgiveness. I know how important it is. Growing up in the church, it’s preached everywhere and often.

I thought I was doing a good job of practising forgiveness. It’s not always easy but you choose to walk in forgiveness even if you don’t feel like it because holding on to un-forgiveness leads to bitterness and resentment and I don’t want to live like that.

I really thought I was walking in forgiveness but today as I searched the scripture, something came alive to me.

Don’t you just love when revelation hits?

It’s so amazing.

So often, we feel wronged. We are human.

It can be something as simple as someone cutting us off while we are driving, or maybe a neighbour takes advantage of our good nature and generosity, or it can be as serious as having someone slander us. There are countless reasons and ways for us to “feel wronged”.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced situations or circumstances where others have wronged us. It’s a pretty human feeling to want them to pay for what they’ve done or to feel like you’re owed something to compensate for the hurt or loss that you’ve felt.

But… the Bible, God says that unselfish love is the basis for forgiveness because it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).

That means letting go of resentment and giving up any claim to be compensated for the hurt or loss we have suffered.

Giving up any claim to be compensated for the hurt or loss we have suffered.

That’s huge.

Can I do that?

Will I give up my perceived right to expect an apology and any form of compensation for wrongs done to me?

Forgiveness is not an option according to the Bible, it’s a command. We have been commanded to forgive, in the same way that God has forgiven us; and if we don’t forgive then God will not forgive us.

“And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.”

Matthew 6:14-15 TPT

When I really think about that, it’s sobering. I have been forgiven of so much. He died for me. He gave His life so that I wouldn’t have to die for my sins. And I AM a sinner. I make mistakes. I do wrong, even when I want or try to do right.

I have been forgiven and continue to be forgiven for the wrongs that I do. Will I choose to offer forgiveness to those who wrong me? Will I forgive completely and let go of any desire to be acknowledged or apologized to?

In Luke 23, while hanging on the cross, Jesus said,

“Father, forgive them for they don’t even know what they are doing.”

There was no repentance by “the others”, at that moment. There was no acknowledgement of wrong doing; and even so, He forgave. He continued to lay down His life even though he was being hurt and betrayed by the very ones he was dying for.

He didn’t hold them accountable. He said,

“Father, don’t hold them accountable for their wrong doing. Don’t make them pay. Forgive them.”

In the middle of the hardship, hurt, pain, betrayal; while the offences were still happening – He forgave. He didn’t hold anything against them. He let them off the hook.

What an example! Can we live like that? Will we choose to live like that? I want to.

I know that, in the past, I have looked for “repentance” or a recognition of wrong doing but from what I read and understand, we are to offer forgiveness freely. It’s not based on contrition or apology or acknowledgement of wrong doing. It has nothing to do with the other party!

So what does it look like to give up the right to be compensated for the hurt we have felt or experienced?

What does it look like to forgive?

I guess for me, it’s a choice to continually let go.

  • Letting go of my perceived right to be apologized to.
  • Letting go of the desire to be vindicated.
  • Letting go of the need to punish.
  • Letting go of the want to see the other party hurt as bad as I have.
  • Letting go of thinking that I know what’s right or best.
  • Letting go of expecting accountability.

It’s letting go, giving up, surrendering my wants and giving it all to God to hold and care for.

If you really think about it, there’s such a beauty and freedom in that “letting go.”

In our own strength, forgiveness is impossible but with God, nothing is impossible and we can walk the path of forgiveness with grace and joy.

I’ve been a bit emotional thinking about this all today. It’s really quite incredible.