Think About This: “[F]orgiveness is not saying it didn’t matter; it is not saying we simply choose to overlook the offense. Forgiveness is saying the cross is enough—we require no further payment than Jesus paid. Forgiveness is releasing the person to God for him to deal with.” ― John Eldredge
Posted on September 26, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Victory Call
A friend recently posted a question on Facebook: Why do we find it so difficult to ask for forgiveness? I replied: For me, it’s my pride.
It is not easy to ask forgiveness, period.
I always found it a bit confusing that David says in Psalm 51: Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight (vs. 4) but as I have reviewed a few commentaries and heard several sermons on this Psalm, we are cautioned that he was NOT saying that he had NOT sinned against Uriah (whom he had murdered), Bathsheba (whom he sinned against morally), his family (whom he betrayed), his kingdom (whom he lied to), etc. He had more confessions to make and forgiveness of others to seek, but he started with the most egregious of his offenses, his offense against Almighty God.
Before we have offended another person, we have first and foremost offended our perfect, pure and holy heavenly Father. I think sometimes in my focus to ask another’s forgiveness I never actually ask God for His forgiveness. If I have offended another, then I have offended God first. So our first conversation needs to be with God in confession and godly repentance. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.[i] …For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.[ii]
Second, we need to go to the other whom we have sinned against whether they are young or old. When we sin against a child or youth, do we think it any less important to go to that child and ask forgiveness? Asking forgiveness with humble confession of our specific sins against them, models asking forgiveness, a lesson we all must learn and use our entire lives.
What are we modeling if we sin against another but refuse to humble ourselves and seek their forgiveness? We are NOT modeling Christ to be sure.
I was recently helping my sister pack and move. I had a plan in my head to make things run smoothly but my plan didn’t seem to translate well to the younger children. My well-laid plan was moving along but they were going behind me UNDOING what I was doing. In my frustration, impatience and arrogance I spoke harshly to them. I’m not their favorite aunt. Correction may have been appropriate but I know my words that day were void of love.
Convicted by the Holy Spirit I had to go to each of them the next morning to ask their forgiveness for being unkind, harsh and impatient with them, which they kindly granted. That day went much better than the previous one. I held no ill will towards them, but had I not obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I think I would have still been bound by my flesh and annoyance.
I did not go to my nieces so I could model asking forgiveness, I went to them because I sinned against God and against them. The Holy Spirit prompted me to confess my sin to them and to ask their forgiveness. I went in obedience. But later in the day, I believe the Holy Spirit showed me that He used me to model asking forgiveness, a lesson they need to learn and will use all their lives too.
Lord, teach me to be humble as You are humble, to be long-suffering as You are long-suffering, to be kind as You are kind, and to love as You love.
[i] 1 John 1:9
[ii] 2 Corinthians 7:10
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” Hebrews 9:27-28