Forgiveness is from God


I had an epiphany about forgiveness today. Does true forgiveness only come from what God defines as the actual offense? Does all forgiveness stem from Christ’s own forgiveness and our agreement with what He has forgiven?

Forgiving My Personal Wounds

Forgiving My Personal Wounds
Just like everyone else, things can offend me. Tickle my sensitivity bone and offense flares up – “How dare you!” And what I am usually offended by is my personal ‘ouchie.’ But on the totem pole of offenses, my personal offense doesn’t rank very high. It’s usually an, “Ow, that hurts ME!” without a recognition of the true motive of why it was done. In this case, my offense is about the effects on me and how it made me feel more than what was done and why.

God often defines my offenses much higher than I do. For example I say, “You hurt my feelings,” but God defines it for me as, “They scorned the Life of Christ in you.” If I go about forgiving based on my feelings of being hurt, I possibly miss the true offense altogether, an offense against God Himself. Whoa! This changes everything! That means I would’ve never truly forgiven the actual offense. God is the diagnostician and definer of offenses and then He brings forth His forgiveness.

I have to be honest, many of my personal offenses center on and revolve around me. It’s how it hurt me, how it affected me and what it cost me—me, me, and me. The problem with this is that my life is no longer about me. My life is not my own, nor are my offenses mine to defend. My life belongs to Another, and so offenses are about Him.

I’m not exactly saying, “I am God’s, so take it up with Him…” What I am saying is that if I want to be a forgiver, I not only have to inquire of Him about what the offense is but also receive from His Life His forgiveness. This shocks me a bit because I know I have gone through most of my life forgiving my personal offenses and not being a vessel of His forgiveness for His offenses.

Recently I took offense about something. At first it was about ME, but then when I sat and listened to the Lord, I found that it had nothing to do with me. What I was offended by was paltry and petty in comparison to the actual offense. After God had defined what was actually done, my offense just dissolved as insignificant.

Fountain of Forgiveness

Fountain of Forgiveness
I want to live as a fountain of His forgiveness—that is the Life of Christ! But to do this with any eternal significance, I must listen to God about offenses and receive His forgiveness as THE Forgiver. His diagnosis of offenses are always heavenly minded. Though the offense may be towards my person, the solution is Higher than just personal feelings or my forgiveness. Forgiveness concerns God’s offense, and forgiveness emanates from God’s forgiving. Forgiveness is from God.

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:18-19 NIV

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7 years ago

Your additional response brought me more understanding of the post, John. Thank you. I have recently lost my closest local friendship, partly over offense; 6.5 years. I’m terribly grieved but having to surrender it to the Lord. The Enemy twisted what I was saying so it was heard as some judgment instead of what I was trying to convey in the first place — how the situation was affecting my feelings; and how it paralleled with another broken relationship. I had an intimate friendship of transparency, acceptance, love and encouragement. But now, the refusal to reconcile (her choice) is sabotaging… Read more »

7 years ago

Oh, John…so much clearer — the example you give truly helps and I bless God for using you to impart the understanding as well as the revelation. Never, ever thought of this as eternal, just personal. This is a whole different way of looking at this issue: we look to Jesus and listen. And after hearing, it is so much easier to know what to ask Jesus to bless them with . . . it’s kind of off my shoulders when I’m believing Him to act. Really, John, for me the listening, the waiting to hear has never been as… Read more »

7 years ago

Thank you, John. I’m not getting this as much as you get it but what I’m taking away, so far, is that the power of the grace of God can cause US to live with an unoffended heart, as Francis Frangipane writes about, but it doesn’t negate being offended for Christ’s sake. When WE are offended, because Christ is in us, it’s really He Who is offended and He is the One Who has to forgive – ME, because I didn’t discern the offense as His. Am I on the right track, John? And if so, what does that practically… Read more »

7 years ago
Reply to  Pauline

One part of what I am trying to get across Pauline is that I have learned to ask Christ what the actual offense is. Say someone wounds me, I can keep it in the personal realm or I can go to Christ and listen to what the offense is in His estimation. I did this very recently and what I was offended by was so minuscule in comparison to what Jesus said was the offense actually was. I am not by any means saying, “suck it up!” What I am saying is letting Christ define our offenses makes the whole… Read more »