Why do we forgive?

I follow the ELCA on twitter & every morning they post a question or a prayer or a Bible verse, something like that. Most of the time it’s something that goes way over the 140 character limit that twitter gives you but today it was just the question “Why do we forgive?”

My immediate answer was to go back to the line in the Lord’s prayer – ‘Forgive us our trepasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’

We forgive because we want to be forgiven. Then I thought, how shallow is that huh?

Some people were answering the question with things like;

  • to forgive is to be forgiven.
  • we forgive because we are forgiven.
  • you never know when you’ll be on the end needing forgiveness.

I guess that last one is something like a karma kinda thing. What goes around comes around. If you forgive someone now then when you need forgiveness it’ll be right there waiting.

I’m pretty sure I need constant forgiveness. I screw up ALL THE TIME! I do, I guess its part of my charm.

I forgive because I want to be forgiven. That was my immediate response. How greedy does that sound?? Wow. I shocked myself with that answer I guess.

Christ died so that my sins would be forgiven. Thats already a done deal. My sins are forgiven.

I’ve written before about how hard it is for me to forgive some people. For me to say that I am forgiving someone just so I can be forgiven is actually kind of ridiculous the more I write about the idea.

Giving something just so i can get something in return is jealous & defeats the whole purpose.

My sins are already forgiven.

Why do we forgive? To become more Christ-like. He forgives & so should I.

Its not easy to do, but its the way things should be.


3 responses

  1. pastorbrad12

    If we seek out revenge isn’t it like we are telling God, “I think I can handle this better than you!” Isn’t it like us saying to God, “You know what, you don’t understand. What they did to me is so horrible, I will never forgive them, I can’t forgive them for what they did.” But what if God said that to us? Paul reminds us in Romans what God says, “I’ll do the judging. I’ll take care of it.”

    And the thing about revenge is that it isn’t forgiveness and you aren’t really free from it. Revenge itself is a “band aid” response. There isn’t any healing- band-aids don’t heal. Forgiving isn’t easy to do, and true forgiveness is scary. It’s one of the hardest things we are called to do in my opinion. Thanks Robert!

    6 October 2010 at 09:36

  2. I like what you said last Sunday, love with an agenda isn’t really love. Same thing with forgiveness.
    Its just tough because if I’m mad or angry with someone about something I consider significant, its not like I can just quit being mad. I’m not sure if its possible to forgive someone if you are still upset with them.
    This is of course totally different than getting mad because a guy cuts you off while driving or whatever. I get mad then a few minutes later I’m not even thinking about it.
    I think that cliche about time healing wounds is spot on here. Eventually I’m sure I can get over whatever I’m mad about. I just hope that happens before its too late.
    I remember when I was little and my Aunt would watch my brother & me. Like brothers do we’d end up at war with each other sometimes & my aunt would make us hug each other until we both said sorry.
    Its just difficult because forgiveness is this abstract intangible thing that we don’t really have control over. At least I don’t feel like I do. Time has more control than I do.

    6 October 2010 at 15:49

  3. I have forgiven out of selfish reasons, too. The whole reason God designed forgiveness, I think, is to help us let go of the “stuff” that harms us. Holding a grudge, being angry, being hurt… all of that damages our spirit. So, even if someone never apologizes, even if it’s not to get forgiveness, I still forgive to let go, so that I don’t have to carry around all that hateful, spiteful crap with me.

    8 October 2010 at 09:43

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