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Celebrate Forgiveness

  • 1999 29 Mar
Celebrate Forgiveness

As Easter approaches we cannot help but celebrate that Jesus' resurrection proved that God had accepted the payment Jesus made for the sins of humanity. In and through Jesus' dying, we receive forgiveness for our sins.

We live in a time when few know much about forgiveness because more and more people are making excuses for their wrongdoing, refusing even to admit that they sin. If they do something wrong, it's blamed on someone else or on the situation. Christians, more than ever, need to share and demonstrate God's Word about forgiveness.

What forgiveness is:



  • Forgiveness does not tolerate wrongdoing. Some Christians have become too easy on sin - and on sinners. Tolerating sin is itself a sin. If we truly care about people and their salvation, we need to care about whether they're living according to God's Word. This attitude should make you helpful, not judgmental.


  • Forgiveness and forgetting don't necessarily happen together. Forgetting should never be a test of whether a person has forgiven. The miracle of forgiveness is that, with God's help, you can forgive even while you still remember. Paul said, God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).


  • Forgiveness is not conditional. God's forgiveness is not conditional on whether we forgive others. If it were, we would never be forgiven. His forgiveness is acceptance - without any exception.


  • Forgiveness costs. The forgiveness we received was costly - it cost Jesus His life. To ask for forgiveness, or to grant it, is often difficult. It's more than just saying I'm sorry, or I forgive you. It means giving up the hatred and resentment that sometimes, sadly, one may even enjoy harboring. It's hard because it doesn't always fit into the judicial way of thinking; forgiveness doesn't always seem fair.


  • Forgiveness includes actions. Jesus not only pronounced forgiveness on His people, He actually won forgiveness by going to the cross.


  • Forgiveness is a present event. Time heals all wounds too often encourages a lengthy process that may even add more resentments and bitterness over time. Don't delay in forgiving someone. For Christians, forgiveness is a lifestyle. It is something that is here and now - not for tomorrow, but for today.


  • Forgiveness is freedom. There is nothing more free than when God says to you Your sins are forgiven. Equally freeing is when you can forgive others immediately. Forgiveness is an act of the will. If you will supply the desire to forgive others, Christ will supply the emotional freedom.


From 501 Practical Ways to Love Your Wife & Kids by Roger Sonnenberg. Copyright (c) 1996 by Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Mo., 1-800-325-0191. Reproduced with permission.

Roger Sonnenberg is a pastor and family psychotherapist in Arcadia, Calif. His numerous works include Parenting with Purpose, Celebrating Life as Grandparents, and 501 Practical Ways to Love Your Husband & Kids.