When one says “I forgive you for. . .” what do they really mean? True forgiveness is a lot more than just saying the words. When it is truly forgiveness, it is complete and unconditional; just as the Lord forgives each of us for our wrongs–justified or not. There are no hidden “strings” or required attitude adjustments from the perpetrator. This is why telling someone they need to ask you for your forgiveness is virtually unrealistic. It is also why sometimes one has to wait to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness involves both sides of the wrong-doing. Just as when we ask the Lord to forgive us, asking someone else to forgive us is a mutual (accepting) attitude. Don’t believe this? Try asking someone to forgive you when they are not in a forgiving mode.
Including in the forgiveness is a form of forgetting. Maybe not forgetting in the sense of remembering not to be the wronged party in the same situation; but forgetting in the sense of not reminding the perpetrator of the previous event again. If one reminds the doer of the same injury again, they have not forgiven. As Jesus said in His description of forgiving for our sins: “they are washed away as if they never occurred”. The proof is in the silence of no reprove for the action against us. No reminder, no hurt, no revenge, no malice, no blaming, no recourse of any kind.
Asking the Lord for forgiveness is easier to do because He does forgive a truly repentant heart without human requirements. He knows what is truly in our heart, unlike humans. Humans are told not to judge whether or not someone else is sorry for the wrong action. This does not stop the accusation of not being repentant. If one does try not to repeat the offense again, it should be “sign” enough they have repented.

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