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What Is Forgiveness? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harold Fink Christian Locksmith   
Thursday, 11 February 2010 19:01

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness - the act of forgiving and willingness to forgive

 

The Bible answers this question in Luke 23: 26-43

And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them, Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.' For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!" The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying. "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

"Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children"

When Jesus said to the people who were mourning and lamenting for him "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children", it should be especially meaningful to anyone who has been wronged in life. What Jesus was saying is that they would bear the burden that only forgiveness could remove. It may be especially hard for us to embrace the thought of forgiving someone who has done something terribly wrong to us. If someone you really care about hurts you, it may be even more difficult to forgive. It is necessary and important to not expect anything in return from the person that hurts you if you forgive them. It is more important for us to truly forgive those that harm us and remove anger and resentment from our lives. It will then become the burden of those that choose to live their lives in such a manner that harms others, to do what is necessary to seek their own forgiveness.

 

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"

When Jesus said "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do", while suffering the pain of The Crucifixion, it should serve as the most powerful example to us what we must learn to do when others harm us. These words are most powerful because Jesus, while in the final moments of his life on earth, still had the strength and fortitude, compassion and understanding, and faith in God necessary to forgive those who were causing him such pain.

 

"If you are King of the Jews, save yourself!"

Perhaps more importantly, and worth noting here as a good example of why it may be so difficult to forgive others in extreme circumstances, is that Jesus was clearly humiliated by the soldiers who mocked him and challenged whatever authority he had in this world when they said "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself!" Think of the courage required of Jesus when he heard these words. Think of the terrible loneliness that Jesus would have felt when he was also challenged by the criminal who said "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" He was challenged by both the authorities that were punishing him and the criminal hanging by his side. I can think of no greater display of courage than in that moment, for Jesus to allow God's plan to proceed.

 

Seeking of forgiveness

"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom"

The seeking of forgiveness is exemplified when the second criminal by Jesus' side said: "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

 

Willingness to forgive

"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise"

Jesus forgave this criminal when he said "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." In the agony of crucifixion, Jesus showed the willingness to forgive others. Forgiveness does not mean you absolve someone of the responsibility for the harm they have done. It does not minimize or justify the wrong that has been done. You can forgive a person without excusing responsibility for their own actions. Their actions can be held accountable before God and in our courts of law. To truly forgive makes it abundantly clear to others that you are willing to let go and let God be in control of your life. It shows that you trust in God's infinite wisdom to allow God to be in control, without allowing others to do whatever they please without fear of punishment. You must be willing to let God be in control of the other person's life as well. Forgiveness brings you the peace of mind that allows you to go on with your life. Forgiveness allows us to be more productive and positive with the course of action we take with each day we are blessed with. Forgiveness is what allows us to show that we are leaders who help guide others in a positive direction when many would feel forced into violence or other forms of harmful behavior. Forgiveness is one of God's many blessings for which we must truly be thankful. What better example could Jesus have set for us to follow?

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 11:25