WHAT IS FORGIVENESS LUKE 17:1-5
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. (v3)
Forgiveness is one of the most misunderstood subjects in the Bible. It has become little more than a therapy way of detaching ourselves from those who have harmed us. Yet the heart of true forgiveness is so much richer than we may realize. What is forgiveness? Jesus’ most succinct statement about forgiveness is recorded in Luke 17:3-5. Jesus said to His disciples: “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying,” I repent, “you must forgive them.” The statement about forgiving seven times in one day was so counterintuitive that the disciples knew they needed Jesus’ help to be that forgiving. The use of the term brother or sister puts this in the context of relationship and reminds us that the primary place forgiveness needs to be expressed is in the community of faith. Jesus’ words carry wisdom for everyone, but Christians, more than any others, are to forgive one another. Equally important is the recognition that Jesus was talking about sin – specifically about someone who “sins” against you” (v4) Many things irritate, annoy, or upset us about someone else. Those may require endurance, but they do not involve forgiveness, does not trivialize sin by trying to put it in the best possible light. The only way to truly forgive is by remembering. True forgiveness requires a careful look at what has actually happened.
PRAYER LINE: Lord, it’s our tendency to hide our sins and flaws. May we come to You in full honesty, understanding that we are loved and forgiven by You.
We can’t put our sins behind us until we are ready to face them (ODB)