Forgiveness. It is easy to say that you forgive someone, but what does true forgiveness look like? Do we practice real forgiveness or do we say we forgive someone, but let the issue eat at us? I see a lot of people who practice the latter, not the former.
True forgiveness is the kind of forgiveness that God has shown us. Once God has forgiven us, our slate is clean. When we mess up again, God doesn’t say “There you go again, Donald. I knew you would do it again.” As long as we ask forgiveness, God says “Its ok, Donald. You are forgiven.” Do we forgive like that? When we forgive like that, we heal; not the other person. Forgiving and wiping the slate clean is not condoning the behavior. It is accepting the act of asking forgiveness as a true act and moving forward without letting the past behavior control our present and future actions. Again, forgiving like that is for the forgiver, not the forgiven.
When someone wrongs us, do we forgive, wipe the slate clean and let it go? It is hard to forgive and forget. It is easier to forgive and wait until they make another mistake and say “I told you so”. That is not forgiveness. Does this behavior describe how you forgive someone? If so, do you:
- harbor resentment towards the person
- remember the behavior
- bring up the “forgiven” behavior during arguments
If you do any of those things, you haven’t truly forgiven the person. We need to forgive others as God forgave us. In Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Practice true forgiveness and watch your stress and anxiety levels drop.