Forgiving and Forgiveness (2 of 3)

Brussels by Gillham

Brussels by Gillham

Forgiveness: Some need it, some need to give it. Every one of us is on one side or the other of the equation…frequently, if not perpetually. And apparently this is true of God as well.

In His book, Father counsels that we are to forgive one another just as He has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32). I think this means two things: First, the unabridged version of this verse indicates that it was “in Christ” that God forgave us. In other words, God determined that He wanted to forgive us and then made a provision—Jesus Christ—for His desire to be realized.

Second, after a long recounting of myriad offenses against Him, Isaiah records that when God considered this extensive list of grievances He determined to forgive for His own sake (43:25). Evidently, God concluded that holding on to the repentance due Him from His offenders was counterproductive to His wellbeing. And with that realization, He determined to forgive for His own sake. It had nothing to do with us—His offenders—and everything to do with His own health.

Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, not necessarily for the ones who offend us. Our need to forgive need not be held hostage waiting for our offender to come to his senses, repent in dust and ashes, and humbly ask for our forgiveness.

But isn't it important for the one who offended me to apologize? Sure. But what if he/she doesn't? Is forgiveness contingent?