Every one of us jumped at receiving forgiveness quicker than given it. Most time our relationship becomes strenuous and acidic because we are unable to come to term with what forgiveness is not. We would have a robust relationship if only we understand what forgiveness doesn’t mean and who wins when we forgive.
God commands forgiveness. In fact, we win when we forgive. Understanding what forgiveness doesn’t mean will not only guide us against abusing the right of others but also engender a robust and healthy relationship.
Here I have a few of these things that are not forgiveness.
1. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are a fool. Naturally, we feel cheated when people deny us our rights. At that time, we are tempted to pay them in their own coin. But as a child of God, you bear it not because you are a fool. God repeatedly had compassion on the people of Israelite but when they abused it he punished them. The Bible teaches forgiveness; you forgive people as often as they come repenting. So forgiveness is instantaneous while trust takes time. People must earn your trust when you forgive them. Note it is inherent in man to use everything to his advantage not minding others. Jesus was always willing to accommodate all kinds of people. Yet, he knew when he should say enough Matthew 21:12
2. Forgiveness is not indulging people. The fact that you forgive people does not constitute a license for them to misbehave intentionally. Where I come from someone will enter your room and take whatever he likes in your absence. The worse is that he would not say a thing about it. Why? We are brethren he says. No! That is wrong and should not be promoted. You should forgive an offending Christian but must tell him in clear term such attitude doesn’t behoove a child of God. Gal 2:11-21.
3. It doesn’t mean you do not have the right to compensation. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the offended should not demand a payback where necessary One Biblical teaching we’ve swept under carpet is the teaching on restitution. On that note, forgiveness doesn’t mean the offender doesn’t have the right to compensation. The Bible enjoins the believer to restitute on the wrong acquisition. It is the person’s rights to either accept or reject such compensation. The offended reserves the right to compensation. Mind you, when someone asks for forgiveness and says sorry, he is admitting the right of the offended to compensation.
It is also imperative that the offender should be ready to right his wrong as an appreciation for the injustice done to the offended. Matthew 18:21-35
4. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we should be silent about the issue. Forgiveness does not contest the existence of a crime or sin. In fact, we’ll only talk about forgiveness because someone defaulted or defrauded another person. When we forgive, it does mean an action or inaction of another person has caused havoc. No pretense about this. We must speak out on injury to our emotion, reputation or trust. Indeed, there was a crime committed. Somebody felt cheated. Forgiveness doesn’t mean I shouldn’t vent my anger where and when necessary because I felt cheated. In our attempt to forgive, we must not sweep the offense or the sin under the carpet. The offender and the offender must come to term with the reason of why forgiveness is given.
5. Forgiveness doesn’t cancel the law of karma. Forgiveness doesn’t mean penalty will be averted. Long after a person receives forgiveness the effect of the sin or crime lingers on. Though, God forgave David still the child of that illicit affair died. The penalty for his sin was borne by the entire family. God never shields us from the penalty of our sin and shortcomings. A student who skips school and missed the terminal exam without a make-up exam will repeat the class. Though, he is forgiven by his parent for making them pay for a repeated term. My father in the Lord will say men may forgive you but the record wouldn’t.
6. Forgiveness is not a guarantee of no-repetition. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgiving somebody now guarantees he will not repeat such or worse thing. This was why Jesus said if your brother comes once and again pleading for forgiveness you should forgive him. The reality of life is that we would not have a perfect relationship on this side of life. This is part of the effects of the fall in Eden. You will be susceptible to bitterness, frustration, and disappointment if you think the person you forgave the other time has turned into an angel. There is no such a thing that we can’t offend ourselves. In fact the earlier you accept this truth the better your relationship with people.
7. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten the offense: You’ve heard the statement “forgive and forget”. Unfortunately, that is not true. But, the truth is that you can forgive but you can’t forget. Why? You have memory. A Christian does not dwell on the pain caused by the offense of the offender but sees the offender as a repentant fellow. He realizes he could also commit the same offense and will appreciate the same forgiveness.
In a nutshell, we should freely forgive our offender. Christians should give forgiveness whether the offender asks for it or not. If we do not understand what forgiveness is not, we will keep offending ourselves at will. Apart from this, we will be trapped in immaturity while the devil has a filled day sponsoring resentment and bitterness because we do not forgive.
Do you want forgiveness? Forgive and ask for forgiveness.
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Author: Joseph Akinrinola
Joseph Akinrinola is a Pastor, Sunday school management coach, author, blogger, and a motivational speaker.
Joseph created this blog to help young Christians establish their
feet in Christ, and to provide Biblical time-tested answers to life’s
questions about relationship, christian living and personal development.