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29 November, 2010 / theexpositor

What is forgiveness?

Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity, p. 581:

“When do we forgive others?”

When we strive against all thoughts of revenge; when we will not do our enemies mischief, but wish well to them, grieve at their calamities, pray for them, seek reconciliation with them, and show ourselves ready on all occasions to relieve them.

We forgive others when:

1. We resist taking revenge: Romans 12:19, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

2. We no longer seek to repay evil with evil: 1 Thessalonians 5:15, “See that no one repays another with evil for evil.

3.  We sincerely wish them well: Luke 6:28, “Bless those who curse you.”

4.  We grieve at their calamities: Proverbs 24:17, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.”

5.  We Pray  good for them: Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”

6. We seek reconciliation with them: Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

7.We are willing to come to their aid: Exodus 23:4, “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey wandering away, you shall surely return it to him.”

What Forgiveness is Not:

8.  Forgiveness is not a lack of anger towards sin.

9. Forgiveness is not blind trust

10. Forgiveness is not lack of consequence

11.  Forgiveness is not remaining in an unsafe, unstable, hostile environment.