Forgive, do you know what it means?

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 10.47.17 PMColossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

I thought I knew the meaning of forgive until I took a closer look at it. I was sure it would say this; use the words “I forgive you”, be sincere, don’t carry an offense and then move on. You are not obligated to pick up the relationship immediately because new boundaries need to settle in for everyone’s health. Don’t carry anything negative forward, and never speak ill of the person who you had an offense with. There you have it, clean, tidy easy to wrap your head around.

But then….I took another look and what I found turned me upside down in my thinking! I looked up forgive in the dictionary of etymology and this is what I found:

Forgive: Old English forgiefan “give, grant, allow; forgive,” also “to give up”
The modern sense of “to give up desire or power to punish” is from use of the compound as a Germanic loan-translation of Latin perdonare , see pardon; Pardon: “passing over an offense without punishment”

Wow, I have been hit right between the eyes with this definition. To be truthful I have operated with a definition of ‘forgive’ that looks more like this; let it go, show grace, turn the other cheek, yeah we are ok. But this definition of ‘giving up the desire to punish’….that takes my breath. Even more it says ‘giving up the power to punish.’ It isn’t forgiveness if I still have the desire or power to punish you, what does that mean?  It means if I have still have you on a time out, then I am punishing you.  If I still desire to avoid you at all cost, then I am punishing both of us. If I have the power to influence others to not show you favor, I am in the wrong.  Anyone else feeling as if they are getting hit hard over the head and heart on this one?

Before you jump too far on this, let me say that I know not all relationships are to be restored, but to the best of our ability they are to be reconciled. Either directly with that person, but if not possible then through the path of reconciliation we have through Christ. Why is this reconciliation so important? If we don’t allow it to be reconciled in our spirit it will become a bitter seed with roots that will take hold of the very things we value the most. It won’t be evident right away, but over time it will creep up in our thoughts, conversations and behavior. Yes, it is for our benefit that we really understand what it means to forgive and how to really walk in it.

It is hard not to be totally humbled when you read from today’s scripture as it closes with this, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Really levels the ground doesn’t it? How did the Lord forgive me? Completely, without hesitancy, without me needing to defend myself or having to explain my position, He forgives it all. I am asking today for God to give each of us new seeds of forgiveness to plant into the lives around us; without explanation, no holding someone out at an arms length, just forgive because He forgives you, and He forgives me.

Today’s worksheet, If you haven’t done the downloads yet with this study, please do it today, you don’t want to miss it: handout 9_24_2013

In the Word with You,

Cheryl J

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11 Responses to Forgive, do you know what it means?

  1. Rachel says:

    I too have been hit hard recently with what it truly means to forgive. I was in my car listening to Matthew West’s song titled “:Forgiveness” when the words . . “It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘set it free’ . . . ” that penetrated down to my bones and after almost 30 years of holding them responsible and accountable, I decided it was time to simply let go of the last piece (expecting them to change). I was torn on if I should tell someone. I knew it was real when the need to let them know has since dissipated. The relationship is not perfect, but as the song also states . . .The prisoner that it really frees is you (ME) . . .”

  2. Lori H. says:


    Thank you so much for sharing this today. My husband and I are going through an excruciatingly difficult period right now after infidelity rocked our world. We were blessed to have been able to attend a week long biblical counseling workshop. Much of the work centered on forgiveness and one of the articles that was shared made me look at forgiveness in a new light. I too believe that when we have a hard time forgiving COMPLETELY, it is more about us and not about what the other person has done.

    • Liane says:

      Lory, I believe that happen in our life, that’s God saying for you both that something is nog going very well between you. The, it’s time to pay attention on each other and see what’s going on? But the important thing to do is forgive each other, and start a new way, a new life together, with prays, love, and know God is taking care of you both. What God put together, anybody can separate. Believe that and take care of by yourself and your husband. If you need any help, just talk with somebody, feel free to contact me. I’m married 17 years ago and our relationship started 24 years ago, so I think I can help you with that. If you want, off course. Have a good day and God blesses you both.

  3. Rita Campos says:

    Good afternoon you all….
    Like always a total enlightenment and wisdom with the love of our Lord in this lesson. It is something so wonderful to see and to do. To pardon someone to forget about the hurt and the harm done. It is so easy just to think God and Jesus’s sacrifice to go the next step. I have changed so much since I got closer and started to pay more attention in the way our Lord want us to love Him, not just by saying I love you Lord and feeling it, but by our actions and the way we live our life in a daily constant pattern. Not thinking what others do, but to say to ourselves, what do I do that is a reflection of Jesus? , How can I do more or how can I be like NOE in the Old testament, Noe made God smile because of the love and obedience he had for Him not thinking on how others love Him or if they did. He just knew that he had to obey and follow the commandments, If only we could do that, How different it will. So, I pray more, I praise more, I think Jesus every single second of my life, Yes! sometimes I fall short and act human with the tendency of fear in life and the narrow road and my choices, but as long as I keep constant in the word I know that God will give me wisdom too, and will allow me to follow with out any fears in my action because I am praying in being in His way and I know He is. So, I continue praising, singing and capturing all the blessing that I receive every day. no matter how little or how big I am just thankful to have the opportunities that I do have and one big prayer I share is the continuation of this wonderful Bible studies that we have with the Love that Ms. Cheryl have for Jesus Christ and how shares hers views with us. Thank you and may God continue blessing us with His presence. Much love in Christ…Rita 🙂

  4. Lyndsey Cooper says:

    Thank you for sharing this lesson! I needed to read this today after dealing with a situation at work. It was a great reminder for me to not focus on what the other person did to me, but how I can show grace, forgiveness, and loving-kindness to them.

  5. Marlene says:

    Unforgiveness was a huge issue with me years ago until I realized the person it was hurting the most was ME. The fear of passing this on to my children gave me great impetus to deal with this offensive sin. My long list of wrongs against one of my parents served as fuel to kindle the fire of bitterness in my heart. It took the Holy Spirit to get my attention! I will never forget that day when He said to me, “This parent could not give you what he never had. And I want you to give him what he has never had. I want you to give him ME (Jesus).” Not only was Jesus asking me to forgive this parent, he was asking me to give him what he had never had before….the unconditional love of Jesus. The ice around my heart began to melt that day as I tearfully said, “Yes Lord.”

  6. Mary Kay says:

    To forgive the way Jesus forgives is truly impossible without HIM! He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”. He is Forgiveness in the Flesh. I CAN FORGIVE BECAUSE JESUS IS MY FORGIVER AND HE IS ALIVE IN ME!! In the releasing and letting it go, He proves His God-ness in our lives because He does for us what we can’t do for ourselves. That’s where we experience HIs freedom and joy! If I look at my “effort” to psyche myself up to forgive – it doesn’t go far enough or get the job done. When I fix my eyes and affections on Jesus (going all the way to the cross and grave for me) He pours the power to forgive into my mind, heart and emotions and exults His Lordship in my life by being My Peace, My Comforter, My Healer, My Restorer. And then, all of a sudden, I realize that “thing” doesn’t have a hold on me anymore because I am being “held” by Him alone! Wow! HE IS SO GOOD!

    • Lori H. says:

      Thank you Mary Kay – your words touch me deeply this morning. As believers we can choose to live in an overwhelmingly amazed awareness In Christ that we have been forgiven a debt much larger than all the wrongs ever done against us. We have sinned against God far more than seventy times seven and so who are we to hang on to our judgments and our anger? If we put LOVE where God intends, we exchange anger, judgment and resentments in forgiveness for contrite and tenderhearted joy.

    • Rita Campos says:

      ooohh, my goodness what a heart feeling testimony Mary Kay thank you because when I hear my sisters is Christ and how we depend of His unmeasured love all we need to do is just TRUST and with this I will say it again thank you at this moment I am filling my cup with all the love that comes from Him and from my dear sister that follow our LORD JESUS the Christ. Let us all receive His Grace and let IT fill our cup and overflow it.

  7. Liane says:

    Forgive, this a thing so hard to do with ourself. We can, some time, forgive the person made us sad so easily. Forgive ourself need time, months, years or all our lives. Then, we need to ask God mercy us and try to solve our debt inside us. I’m so glad for I get to forgive what someone else did easily, but forgive by myself, that’s so difficult for me. Our own mistakes, that we have to see when we did, why we did and how we did, and understand all those questions. Reflexions, prays, forgives, and change our attitudes putting us closer of the God, felling He inside us. When we get it, it’ll be our glory. God blesses us and give us your mercy!

  8. mindyrose10 says:

    Cheryl this insight is so inspired. God has truly been speaking these very lessons to me everywhere I turn. I have a situation with an ex-spouse where there was years of emotional abuse and it continues to carry forward as we attempt to co-parent our two beautiful children. I came to a place where I had to set very firm boundaries and no longer have a relationship where we are able to sit down and discuss our parenting as we had for years. I had to draw the line when I saw the very same abusive behavior directed at one of my children. The Lord keeps reassuring me that to let it go and release the anger and the hurt is the best thing for me and my children in order to move forward and beyond the situation. It also takes the burden of of my daughter and her feeling like they she has to chose between households. I want her to carry forward and have a good relationship with her dad. I continue to fight the resentment and anger and have to let it go daily, sometimes many times a day. Mathew West wrote the song Forgiveness which is the beautiful story of a mother forgiving a drunk driver for killing her child so much that they now partner to share the dangers of drunk driving to help prevent it from happening to others. That story hit me like a freight train. If she could provide that grace to a man she didn’t even know, surely I can forgive man I once loved enough to marry. I don’t want to let my anger and hurt keep me separated from the love and blessings
    God has in store for me and my family. It is a process that I have to continue to work on and keep giving my situation up to Him. I know I need to be vigilant to allow His grace to work in my life and that of my family. His love never fails!

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