Friday, April 10, 2015

Forgiveness: The Who of It

For those of you who are following this series, this is post number 3. The others have been: Forgiveness Thoughts and Quotes and Forgiveness -- Definition.

One way to learn about something is to ask those "wh" questions we learned in elementary school. There will be six posts dedicated to who, what, when, where, how, and why. Perhaps, with some posts in between.

Who should we forgive?

Short answer: Anyone who has injured us.

Let's look at some Biblical examples:

Esau forgave Jacob, who had stolen his blessing. Jacob had been nervous about that and sent some pretty big gifts ahead when he entered Esau's land,  but Esau greeted him happily. Esau had grown from a foolish boy who had sold his birthright for a mess of pottage (a bowl of porridge) to a mature man who could forgive. Genesis 33

Joseph forgave his brothers -- who had sold him into slavery. He recognized that what they had intended for evil, God had intended for good. This gave him the strength to let his injury at their hands go. Genesis 45

Jesus forgave those who crucified him. "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Luke 23: 33-35

That last one also answers another question: Do we have to forgive those who have not apologized or asked for forgiveness? Well, Jesus did. Those executioners didn't ask forgiveness. We must be ready to forgive regardless of the attitude of the ones who caused us harm.

Also, no one has been so horrible that they we can skip forgiving them. Besides, forgiving those who have deeply hurt us, even caused us incalculable harm, frees us.

One thing as food for thought: We often hear that we should forgive ourselves. The Bible never says anything about that. We need to ask forgiveness when we have done wrong. We need to trust that God forgives us. But we aren't told to forgive ourselves. I don't think that means we can't, but it's not mandated.

Since it is good to do this regularly, over the next few days let's think about whether we have someone to forgive. In our prayer lives, let's ask God to reveal to us any situations in which we are being unforgiving.

God bless you as pursue this.

This is my 9th post for the April 2015 Ultimate Blog Challenge.

If you have teenagers, or know teenagers, consider sending them to the Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park. Quality discipleship training and a wonderful experience of Christian Community. August 2-15, 2015 on the beautiful southern coast of Maine. Celebrating our 100th Anniversary!


  1. Melinda (trying again) this was a great reminder to me about my own trials with forgiveness. And I remember going to these same verses. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your persistence. We have all had trials with forgiveness, I imagine. I am glad these verses helped you.