Will You Forgive Me?

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:

ALT="Will you forgive me?"
  • 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?

Pulling from Merriam-Webster Online, Noah Webster written in 1828, and the New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance we understand that forgiveness means:

  • 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 forgivenessreceive a pardon. Their sins are sent away. Jesus was the ultimate scapegoat!

To forgive means:

-to pardon
-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?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Will You Forgive Me?

  1. The questions I have about forgiveness is 1) How does forgiveness work if the offending party does not seek forgiveness? eg. We go to hell and do not receive God’s forgiveness if we do not seek it even though He has extended it to everyone. Is the offending party really forgiven if they do not seek it? even though we have extended it to them. 2) How do you respond to insincere apologies? eg.”I’m sorry that YOU are offended”. The offending party does not accept personal responsibility of their own faults. I do understand the need for us to forgive regardless of others’ responses. It is mandatory for us to receive God’s forgiveness. (Matthew 6 right after the Lord’s prayer) Yet I’m still wondering about how forgiveness really works in the light of how we are not forgiven by God if we do not do certain things. I, also, know very well that as I have forgiven others regardless of their concerns or responses to my forgiveness that I am made free in a very real and trans formative way. 3) Does real, full, complete forgiveness occur if the offending party is in denial or indifference towards their “sin”? Any comments or feed back would be helpful.

    • Those are all great questions Dan. I plan to respond to them in my upcoming blogs on forgiveness – though I will be the first to say I am not sure I understand the answers fully myself. I have often pondered over one of the last phrases Christ said from the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Did that mean those who nailed him to the cross or cursed him while dying were in fact eternally forgiven? Or were they forgiven temporarily so to speak – at that moment, for what they were doing – but they still needed to repent for eternal salvation? They are some tough issues that have been argued over the centuries. I tend to believe it was something along the lines of the second line of thinking, where they were forgiven at the moment for what they had done. More later!!

  2. Good words of encouragment Mark! If we truly take a look at the root cause of many conflicts, we will realize the cause is rooted in selfishness. (James 4:1-2) What are we willing to sacrifice to reconcile? (Philippians 2:3&4…and beyond)

    • Thanks Randy! I totally agree–that the root cause of many conflicts and perhaps even more so, what prolongs them, is selfishness. But really in a way that most of us are blinded to at the moment. I say it this way–what hinders most conflict from getting resolved is that we are far more me-centered than we-centered during the process. I tend to be far more concerned, for example, to get my wife to see my viewpoint than me trying to understand hers. As that is taking place, I am blinded to my selfishness and instead think I am justified in my reactions when she interrupts me and doesn’t get it. We must learn to put each other’s concerns first and in so doing work towards what is best for “we” rather than “me.”