{Forgiveness} What Biblical Forgiveness IS

Posted on: September 7th, 2012 by Laurie Coombs 2 Comments

A letter to Anthony

I am well aware of the fact that we’ve been dealing with some pretty heavy stuff so far. But I’d like to encourage you to hang in there. Don’t let the weightiness of these difficult topics deter you from the blessings that awaits you on the other side of forgiveness.

To be completely honest, healing is hard work. It’s painful. It requires you to go to the hard places––to the deepest darkest crevices of your soul––and to allow Jesus to mine out that darkness and replace it with His light. This is no easy feat. It hurts, but beauty is left behind when we allow Jesus full and complete access to our wounds, our walls, our pain.

Oh, how I love our God!

As mentioned before, I am no expert, and I too, find myself struggling with forgiveness from time to time, but the Lord has taught me much on this topic. I’d be honored if you’ll allow me to share a bit with you. Also, if you’ve yet to read my post on What Biblical Forgiveness is NOT, please be sure to do so!

So, here we go.

Biblical Forgiveness…

…begins with prayer.

As mentioned in prior posts, nothing we do can be of worth if we don’t first invite the Lord to lead us. It all begins with prayer. James 5:16 tells us that “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Prayer is powerful, and it is an essential element to everything we do.

…is a gift Jesus gives to you.

And what a gift it is! There is a common misconception that forgiveness is for the benefit of the offender. Yet, as Matthew West’s song Forgiveness says, “the prisoner that it really frees is you.” How true this is. Forgiveness is for your benefit.

…is a decision.

When called to forgive (as we all are), it comes down to a decision. We must choose to forgive regardless of our feelings. And when we commit to forgive, the Lord faithfully honors our commitment and slowly heals our emotions. Oftentimes, however, you may find that you will have to recommit to your decision to forgive over and over until given the grace to forgive unconditionally.

…is allowing God to be Judge.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them…. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  – Romans 12:14, 17-21

God is judge. We aren’t.

…is a process.

Forgiveness doesn’t happen over night. It takes time, during which time, healing and understanding take place.

…requires close communion with God.

We must stay close to Jesus in the process. Jesus tells us in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

…is unconditional. 

We are called to forgive unconditionally. For me, this took place about nine months after I embarked on my journey toward forgiveness. Along the way, I thought I had forgiven, yet God continually “tested” that forgiveness until He finally gave me the grace to forgive unconditionally.

Thank you for hanging in there. I encourage you, as one who has walked this journey and has come out on the other side, commit yourself to the Lord and choose to follow Him toward forgiveness!

{Biblical forgiveness begins with prayer and ends with healing and peace.}

How about you? Do you have anything to add to what I’ve included here?

Leave a comment below!

If you have yet to read about the what God had done through my journey toward forgiveness, be sure to read my About page or my post Bounty Through Obedience!

  • I choose to forgive but it is so true that it is a process and you have to recommit over and over. In my experience this is the way it is and just choosing is such a hard step to take and I have to recommit time and again. I know God knows it is hard and he understands. I struggle with the whole issue of forgiveness but I am open and I pray and maybe one day it won’t be a struggle with me saying I choose to forgive through gritted teeth and prayer. Thank you for your post.

    • Choosing is a hard step! I commend you for taking that step time and time again. I do believe if you continue praying about it and actively pray for God to show you if there’s anything you need to do to move toward forgiveness that God will heal your heart and allow you to see your situation differently (as He did for me). What I needed was a paradigm shift. I needed to allow God to shed my biases and see my situation more through His eyes, which allowed me to forgive unconditionally… And I can tell you that now it’s no longer a struggle for me in regard to Anthony. That doesn’t mean that I never struggle to forgive others any longer (I am, and will always be, flawed), but now I am quicker to take it to the Lord. Praying for you my dear sister!