It is a question I don’t ask often enough. I am aware that for some reason it is easier to simply say “I am sorry,” or even in some instances to say nothing at all. Asking “will you forgive me?” seems more humbling, perhaps even more risky. It is also a question that illicits a number of other questions in my mind like:
- What does forgiveness really mean?
- Is the phrase “forgive and forget” true? Is that what forgiveness means?
- Will I be expected to forget it?
- How do I forgive?
- Will he or she hurt me again if I forgive?
- What do I do when I still have feelings of hurt and anger?
- Is forgiveness an event or a process?
- How many times do I have to forgive?
Let’s start with the first question.
What does it mean to forgive?
Is it simply a matter of saying I forgive you?
Think with me a few moments through some dictionary verbiage, OK?
- to give up one’s right to retaliate and instead, grant relief to another from having to pay for what was said or done.
- to pardon…to treat the offender as not guilty.
- to send away, leave alone, to let go, give up, a debt, by not demanding it, i. e. to remit
In the Bible there are two great pictures of what forgiveness looks like.
Early in the Bible there is a ritual described that would take place yearly when the Priest of Israel would take the first of two goats and offer it as a sacrifice. Thereafter, he would confess the sins of all the people over the second goat, and send it into the wilderness. In so doing the sins would be sent away and the people forgiven. From this we derive the concept known as the scapegoat.
In the latter part of the Bible, we read how Jesus is likened to the two goats. The sins of the world were confessed over Him and He was sacrificed on the cross. When this happened, God gave up His right to retaliate against the sins and injustices committed by each one of us to one degree or another. All who are humble enough to admit their own injustices to God and ask forgiveness, receive a pardon. Their sins are sent away. Jesus was the ultimate scapegoat!
To forgive means:
-to give up the right to retaliate
-to send the offense away (let go…bid farewell)
Why is this SO IMPORTANT to understand?
- First, your marriage will not survive without forgiveness being activated on a regular basis.
- Second, we are all in great need of forgiveness from our spouse AND from God. Living with the weight of things we do wrong over time, destroys us.
- Thirdly, when forgiveness takes place, it is one of the greatest feelings in the world–and it draws us closer together.
- Fourthly, to forgive, is to love unconditionally…something we all committed to at the altar, and something we all desperately seek from each other!
What about the other questions listed above? Keep reading my coming blogs!
What questions do you have about forgiveness? Let me know by asking below or sending me an email.
Will you share this with others and help us build marriages to last?