1. Forgiveness is hard, but the benefits outweigh the costs because bitterness and pride take more from you than any wrong that someone else has done to you. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled;” Heb. 12:15.
2. There is a misconception that forgiveness will get the offending party “off the hook.” Forgiveness may not resolve real or legal consequences for offending actions, and it certainly does not prevent the eternal consequences for sin- “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Romans 13:1.
3. There is a misconception that things have to go back to being the way they were before the offense was committed. There are certainly relational consequences for offenses committed, some of which may never be overcome. But justice is not about equality in relationships, is it? It is about right relationships. And in order for a relationship to remain right, it may have to be redefined in the wake of an offense in order to allow healing or prevent future offenses from occurring. For example- mankind fell a long way from his place in God in the garden of Eden. But through the cross and Christ’s sacrifice, we can come into right relationship with God. Life isn’t the way it would have been before man’s fall from grace, but because Jesus redefined His relationship with us we have “that blessed hope,” and look forward to “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13.
These thoughts have been inspired by a recent Bible study taught by Rev. Jeff Jaco at the church I attend, Blue Goose Pentecostal Church.