“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” -2 Corinthians 5:15, 17-19
Well, what is forgiveness then? As Bible teacher Doug Easterday says, “Forgiveness is a decision I make to obey God and to walk, as a life-style, in a higher realm by not allowing someone else’s actions or attitudes to dictate my actions or attitudes.” That’s what Sister Corrie did. She made a decision to obey God and she walked in the higher realm of love: through doing this, a wave of freedom swept over her own soul.
Forgiveness is a lifestyle.
In the Lord’s prayer we say, “and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Now, that prayer is a daily prayer. Even as we ask, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we also confess that daily we will forgive. So, forgiveness is a lifestyle. A daily deal. Forgiveness empowers us to stand next to Jesus and say to the person who continues to hurt us, “I’m sorry you feel that way about me, but I’m not going to respond back to you in the same way.” Taking this stand puts your emotional health and destiny in the Lord’s hands. That way, He controls your emotional life and not your offender. Forgiveness says, “No! In the name of Jesus, I am not gong to let your problem become my problem.” How else are we going to rise above the constant conflicts we face in human relationships?
There are some situations where the offense is so agonizing, we just feel, “No way, I can’t forgive.” Corrie felt this way. Her suffering had been so horrible and continual, she was buried under a mountain of trauma. God understood this and He met her in a profound way. He will do the same for you. So, whatever you do, don’t shut out God. He will comfort your heartache and enable you to forgive. (If this is your struggle, we will be discussing this issue on Day 27: “What To Do When I Can’t Forgive”)
Listen to this promise: “You will turn my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.” (Psalm 30:10-12)
Often believers ask, “How do I know if I have really forgiven?” One teacher sums it up like this, “Forgiveness is complete when you are at peace whenever you think your offender.”
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” -Matthew 18:21-22
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” -Romans 12:12