Thursday, April 22, 2010

Principles of Forgiveness

From Beyond Tolerable Recovery
By Ed M. Smith
Family Care Publishing
Campbellsville, Kentucky

Matthew 6: 12: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Matthew 6: 14-15: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Quotations are from Matthew 18: 21-30:

Principle One: Forgiveness is not a means of changing another but rather is the avenue of release for the one holding the debt. “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Principle Two: Forgiveness requires that we take a full account of the debt. “…a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owned him ten thousand talents was brought to him…”

Principle Three: The debtor does not have the means to repay the debt. “Since he was not able to pay…”

Principle Four: Anger is a normal reaction to injustice, but it must be released before freedom will come. “Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.”

Principle Five: The integrity and sincerity of the indebted offender is not critical for true forgiveness to be administered. “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’”

Principle Six: Genuine forgiveness requires we find compassion. “The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go…”

Principle Seven: Forgiveness benefits the forgiver more than the forgiven. The king “canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.”

Principle Eight: Forgiveness should not be confused with reconciliation.


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  1. So much wisdom in this post! I oftentimes find it difficult to get these points across when I am explaining the importance of forgiveness in relation to the forgiver's victory. This wisdom will help!

  2. The last one was the biggie for me. I had been brought up to believe that if you forgave someone, truely forgave them, then you would pick up where you left off in the relationship, and never speak of it again. But after a while, I learned that accepting the 'I'm sorry', just became another way to set one up for the next abuse. Sometimes, however cold hearted it may appear to to others, it was better to avoid the abuser, (my father, in my case,) if possible.

    My mother suffered from cancer, and a part of me wondered if some of it was because she had still been unable to forgive my father. I like that saying "RESENTMENT IS LIKE TAKING POISON AND THEN WAITING FOR THE OTHER PERSON TO DIE." Sadly, in my mother's case, I think the poison affected her more.

    Do you think that demons are the cause of such evil in others? Believing it could, has helped me to forgive and even pray for others who have hurt me.

    Your sister in Christ,
    C. Dunamis

  3. It is bad to keep certain things inside you. This is why repentance for sin and forgiving others for their offenses are very important for our spiritual growth. It is good to confess these things to the Lord.

    I believe that unforgiveness and unrepentance can lead to mental and physical illnesses--like cancer.

    In my case, forgiving someone for an offense was very difficult--but it sure liberated me from torment. I am very grateful for what the Lord has done in my life.

  4. I love Principle 8 Tim! I have certain people in my life that constantly emotionally torment me and bring me down, who call themselves Christians. The Lord has helped me forgive them but I have come to realise severing the relationship is critical

  5. Kingintraining: Sometimes the Lord tells you to shake the dust from your shoes and move on--especially if you have tried to reach out to them with the Gospel and they continually reject you. We are not here to beat a dead horse or cast pearls before swine.

  6. Forgiveness is truly a gift that you give yourself.