Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4.32
Forgiveness is the willingness to relinquish the pursuit of justice in response to who’s wrong you. A willingness to free them of the debt that they owe you. Our motivation to do this is because God forgave us. Because of the shed blood of Jesus, God’s justice was satisfied and He has forgiven us of the debt that we owed to Him.
Even with this great motivation, forgiveness is still one of the most challenging character traits to walk out. What makes it so difficult is our inability to forget the offense. I wish that when I forgave someone the memory of that offense could be wiped from my mind but that is just not the case. When this happens, I often want to seek justice for things that have already been forgiven and shed the blood of war in peacetime as David said to Solomon in I Kings 2:5.
David’s army commander, Joab, lost a brother in war at the hands of the enemy. After the war was over and the peace treaty was signed, Joab went and killed the man who had killed his brother. He sought justice for a wartime offense after peace had been established.
Unfortunately, I can do the exact same thing. Now, it might not be that I go and murder someone but often times I have extended forgiveness to someone, they have responded appropriately and we are fully reconciled. Then, one day, week, decade later the memory comes back and I seek justice, again. I want another, “I’m sorry.” I am seeking forgiveness in peacetime for something that was already covered.
When the memory comes back, instead of going to the forgiven offender, I need to go to God and ask for Him to heal me in that area and to walk out the forgiveness that was freely given to me.