My Bible defines forgiveness as “to pardon or acquit of sins; acquittal.” Acquittal is a major action. There is a release of guilt. Restoration can begin. A fresh start is set in motion….
People say “forgive and forget,” but often the forgetting doesn’t really happen. Forgiving someone ends up being a temporary reprieve, and we reserve the right to bring a past wrong into a present argument. That’s only human.
It’s hard to forgive. We have to deny ourselves holding grudges. We have to cope with the consequences, the anger, the hurt and disappointment. It doesn’t come naturally to offer forgiveness. It’s a sacrifice.
Confessing my sins keeps me more grounded, because it helps me see how easy it is to fail someone or hurt them without meaning to. With the Holy Spirit teaching me what it really means to forgive, I can start to show more mercy when someone offends me. Feeling resistance rise up inside of you is par for the course. We want to defend ourselves. We may want revenge.
But forgiveness gives us what harboring anger and disappointment can never do–it heals! Forgiving someone soothes our pain, stopping the cycle of reliving our hurt and anger.
In Psalm 86:5, it says: For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You. [ NASB Bible]
Confess your sins to God–don’t hold back! Don’t let guilt or shame keep you from receiving forgiveness from God! When God forgives you, it allows you to start again, and learn from past mistakes.
And then we can pass on the mercy God shows us to those who hurt or offend us.