Forgiving One Another

7.4.23 Devo Image

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”—Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

Let’s face it, forgiveness is hard. We’re not promised an easy walk of faith. We are; however, assured we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).  “All things” includes forgiving those who’ve hurt us, those who aren’t remotely sorry for their behaviors, and even those who repeatedly offend us (Matthew 18:21–22). I’m always impressed by those who forgive quickly. They’re my spiritual heroes! 

For me, getting to a place of forgiveness takes a little more time. And honestly, during that time there’s a real battle between flesh and spirit that wars in my heart. It’s helpful to recognize the deeper the wound and the more frequent the offense occurs (such as a hurtful pattern), the longer it might take for some, like myself, to let go of the hurt.

However, to walk in the newness of life the Lord has promised us (2 Corinthians 5:17), we must walk towards forgiveness in the strength Jesus Christ provides. To better wrap our hearts and minds around the idea of forgiveness, we must first look at what forgiveness is NOT

  1. Forgiveness is NOT claiming our pain isn’t genuine. We can forgive and still acknowledge our broken hearts.
  2. Forgiveness is NOT condoning or saying someone’s behavior was appropriate.
  3. Forgiveness is NOT forgetting. We aren’t wired this way. 
  4. Forgiveness is NOT a feeling. The Bible teaches us the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). If we’re waiting to feel forgiving towards someone, it may never happen.
  5. Forgiveness is NOT an invitation to be a doormat. Expressing clear boundaries of what’s ok and what’s not is very important.
  6. Forgiveness is NOT trust. Trust is earned. It requires the offender to repent and show consistency in healthy behaviors for trust to return.
  7. Holding on to unforgiveness is NOT powerful. It doesn’t give us control, it deceives and enslaves us. 

Now let’s explore what forgiveness IS to get a clearer picture of its attributes and benefits.

  1. Forgiveness IS a decision. Sometimes our feelings and intentions to forgive aren’t always in sync, but the Lord will help us align our heads and hearts in obedience to His will. 
  2. Forgiveness IS strength and courage. Courage is the ability to be strong amidst pain and grief.
  3. Forgiveness IS freedom from the weight and heaviness of the offense we’ve been carrying.
  4. Forgiveness IS freedom from bitterness.
  5. Forgiveness IS costly. It cost Jesus His very life to provide us forgiveness we don’t deserve.
  6. Forgiveness IS a command (Colossians 3:13; Matthew 18:21–22; Luke 17:3–4).

Forgiveness is a command, yet a hard truth to swallow. We forgive because God, through Christ Jesus, forgave us of ALL our wickedness and rebellion. His blood and resurrection washes us clean. Therefore, we extend forgiveness to others from a place of massive gratitude. Remember, God is not asking us to do anything He’s not willing to do Himself.  

Pause: Do you forgive quickly or does it take a little time to process the offense? 

While processing an offense, there’s a warning in Hebrews 12:14–15 (NKJV) we should pay attention to: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.”

Practice: Grab a journal and write Hebrews 12:14–15 on the top of the page. Then spend time recording all the ways Jesus has extended forgiveness toward you. 

Pray: Dear Lord, You have given me so much love and forgiveness. I don’t deserve it. I want to be obedient to Your command to forgive. You ask, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say” (Luke 6:46 NKJV)? I need help, Lord. Allow my head and heart to align. My head knows I’m called to forgive, but my heart still hurts. Please reveal any root of bitterness and heal my hurting heart. Please help me to be kind and tenderhearted, just like You. Amen. 

About the Author

Debra Marsalisi

Deb Marsalisi is an author, public speaker, mentor and Fire Inspector. She began her writing journey to make peace with her challenging past. It has provided her with an outlet for creative self-expression, and a healthy new perspective on life. 

Through God’s amazing grace, she has learned to rejoice in life’s ups and downs, struggles and victories understanding they’ve been given so she can help and inspire others on their own journey of restoration. Her passion is to support others in emotional and spiritual habits that are truly life-changing. She spends her free time loving, encouraging and mentoring young women to grow in their relationship with Jesus. And she also enjoys cooking amazing meals for her friends and family.