What Forgiveness IS and IS NOT

This past Sunday we spent time in Matthew 6:14-15 where Jesus emphasized the importance of forgiving others.  During the sermon I referenced a chart I had run across to help define what forgiveness is, and what it is not.  I also mentioned that I would put it up on this blog, and am just now getting to that.  Anyways, I pray this helps you as much as it has helped me in understanding the kind of forgiveness I need to be able to offer to others.  Because the Gospel is true, we can trust in Jesus to transform us into forgiving people.  Amen?

Here’s the chart (I did not come up with this, and I don’t know whom to credit, except that I found it at preceptaustin.org, which is a great online Bible study tool):

FORGIVENESS –
WHAT IT IS AND IS NOT

FORGIVENESS IS…

FORGIVENESS IS NOT…

A choice
An act of one’s will.

A
feeling

.Based on the truth that God
in Christ has forgiven us
Eph 4:32

Based on
what is “fair”

Supernatural

Natural

Spirit
empowered

A legalistic or fleshly
“grit your teeth” response

Emanates from a renewed mind
Eph 4:23

“Mind over matter”
2Co 3:56

Unconditional

Conditional

From a new heart
Mt 18:35Ezek 36:2627

Just with your lips…
“I forgive you”

Often a process
Mt 18:22

Usually a one time act
Lk 17:3

To be “holistic”
Canceling the entire debt

Selective or partial
“Stuffing” or suppressing your anger

 Acknowledges
the debt owed you.

Pretend that you
were never hurt

Commanded as a lifestyle
Mk 11:25

A suggestion or
an occasional behavior

Allows God to execute His justice
in His time and way.
Ro 12:19

Circumventing
God’s justice
Ro 12:17

Moving the guilty from
your hook to God’s hook.

Letting the guilty
“off the hook”

Possible with only
one party

Reconciliation
which needs both parties

Acknowledging unjust behavior is
inexcusable, yet still forgiving.

Excusing
unjust behavior

Complete…
Resolving the anger/resentment
by releasing the offense and offender

Incomplete…
Keeping a record of the wrongs
1Cor 13:5

Feeling the hurt
but releasing it.

Denying that
you hurt

Includes remembering
before you can forgive

Forgetting

I added one more in the sermon….forgiveness is not “earned or deserved”….it is given as a gift.

Father, make us more forgiving…in light of the grace with which You have forgiven us!

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One thought on “What Forgiveness IS and IS NOT

  1. Pingback: Grace and My Freeloading Brother. « Cite Simon

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