Read Ephesians 4:32
32 Be kind to each other, be understanding. Be as ready to forgive others as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. (THE MESSAGE)
We so often misunderstand forgiveness. It is hard enough to practise when we get it right, but having a mistaken idea of it will make things worse. We may think forgiving is all about letting bygones be bygones. Let’s just forget about it and move on. They didn’t mean it. The offence caused doesn’t really matter. I’ll get over it.
None of which is true forgiveness. When God in Christ forgives us, he faces the ugly facts of our failures and offences. He does not shrug his shoulders and say it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t forget about it. He calls a sin a sin. The cross is the great demonstration of the fact that God doesn’t forgive lightly.
When we forgive someone, we face the fact that a wrong has been done and that person is responsible for that wrong. We face the fact of our hurt. Forgiveness is not leniency, not excusing, not forgetting. Forgiveness is recognising what is wrong and yet choosing to not let that wrong dominate us or destroy relationship with the wrongdoer.
Those who sin against us have wounded us. To be ready to forgive is not to dismiss the wound but to give that wound the best possible chance of healing.