I knew forgiveness was important, but I didn’t have a clue as to how to forgive. Our counselor took us to Colossians 2:13-14 and explained to us that Jesus forgave us unconditionally. It says, “And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh (which is how we were born into this world, in Adam), He made you alive together with Him (at salvation) having forgiven us all our transgressions, having cancelled out the certificate of debt (a debt is something we owe) consisting of decrees against us, and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
Don’t you feel like someone owes you something when they hurt you? I know I do. My first reaction is always shock. My next thought is always, “How could you do this to me? You owe me an apology!” “You must make this right!”
Justice is very important to me. I want to be paid back for the wrong done to me. Jesus says that we owed Him a debt. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And Romans 6:23 tell us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The wages or payment for my sin is spiritual death. I deserve to be spiritually separated from God forever; however, He offers to me the free gift of eternal life if I will simply say yes to Him. In Colossians 2, the Word of God tells us that Jesus cancelled out the certificate of debt that we owed Him. When we accept His payment for our sin on the cross, we do not have to pay for our sin any longer through eternal separation. He not only paid for our sin, but His Word says He took it out of the way and nailed it to the cross. He says to us, “You no longer owe me anything. I have released you from your debt.”
This is the greatest example of forgiveness. So, when I decide to forgive someone, (and it is a decision), I must choose to say, “I forgive you; you no longer owe me anything.” You may be thinking right now, “How can I do that? The debt is so huge. If you only knew what they did to me.”
I know exactly how you feel. Being a victim of sexual, physical, emotional, and verbal abuse at different times in my life, I understand. However, can a person truly make it up to you? Can a person truly pay you back for what they have done? Can we allow Jesus’ death on the cross to pay, not only for our personal sin, but also for the sin committed against us? When we forgive, we are not saying that it is okay that the other person hurt us. We are saying, “I will release you from payment, because you can never pay me back anyway. Jesus can pay me back. Jesus can make things right. Jesus can bring justice. Jesus is all I need.”
Forgiveness is for me; it is not for the other person. I must say this again! In your life, forgiveness is for you. It is not a feeling; it is a choice. If I wait until I feel like forgiving a person, it will never happen. We are God’s children with free will, and we can choose to forgive so that we can be the persons God created us to be.
Excerpt from “Can God Really Speak Through a Pelican?” Available on Amazon.