Forgiveness is so good and, I think, is the best thing about being a Christian. Yet, even though it is so basic to Christianity, there seems to be many ideas of what it is and actually requires.
Some people say we must always forgive, and it must be automatic and unconditional. Interestingly, though, God does not forgive in that way.
God’s forgiveness is conditional. He only forgives those who accept his gift of forgiveness by repentance and faith.
God certainly loves all people, and offers forgiveness to all – even his enemies – but only those who accept his offer are forgiven.
In his book Unpacking Forgiveness, Chris Brauns uses the helpful illustration that forgiveness is like a wrapped present. We only receive the gift inside if we accept the gift and open it. Similarly, the gift of God’s forgiveness is only accepted on the condition of our repentance and faith.
As we forgive others it’s important that we model God’s forgiveness: forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).
Let’s pray that our forgiveness is shaped by God’s, and that we can help each other apply that to our lives as we delve into forgiveness over the next 4 weeks.
In Christ, Tory.