5. Forgiveness does not always mean restoration. This woman and I had been friends prior to the affair. We had spent days hanging out at her pool, gone out together to enjoy girls’ night out. However, I don’t see that ever happening again. I can forgive her, but I do not have to include her in my inner circle. However, I can still treat her with kindness and respect, as a sister in Christ.

6. Sometimes forgiveness is not a once-for-all situation. Sometimes, forgiveness becomes a daily choice. It requires letting go of the anger, asking God to daily direct my steps, and allowing God’s forgiveness to flow through me. It requires me taking up the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), being transformed daily by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). I have forgiven my ex-husband, but it has been a daily process of choosing God’s way over my own.

This woman did not deserve my forgiveness that day. Then again, I didn’t deserve Christ’s forgiveness when He willingly laid down His life at Calvary for me. I didn’t have to change for Christ to forgive me. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8 NLT). If this is the type of forgiveness He offers me, shouldn’t I be willing to extend that same forgiveness to others?

Perhaps there is someone in your life that has wronged you, someone that you need to forgive. They may not deserve your forgiveness, but I remind you that you didn’t deserve Christ’s forgiveness. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:31-32). You are not capable of forgiving on your own; however, God is waiting for you to come to Him, to ask Him to allow His forgiveness to flow through you. Take the step of obedience today, and choose forgiveness. You will experience a freedom that only Christ can give!

One final thought… You might need to start by forgiving yourself. Remember, God considered you worthy of forgiveness. Who are you to say that you don’t deserve a gift that Christ so lovingly lavished upon us?

Dena Johnson is a busy single mom of three kids who loves God passionately. She delights in taking the everyday events of life, finding God in them, and impressing them on her children as they sit at home or walk along the way (Deuteronomy 6:7). Her greatest desire is to be a channel of God’s comfort and encouragement. You can read more of Dena’s experiences with her Great I AM on her blog Dena's Devos.

Publication date: August 22, 2013