What is forgiveness? The dictionary definition is ‘to stop blaming or being angry with someone for something that a person has done, or not to punish them for something’. However, my definition is a decision to release yourself from anger, resentment, hate, or the urge for revenge despite the injury you have suffered (or in other words to let go). Christians believe that forgiveness is their trademark and is essential that you call yourself a Christian. Jesus had more to say about forgiveness than anything else throughout his teaching, so this shows us how important it is to us today. He taught forgiveness and carried his teaching into his own life. The golden rule that Christians must obey as every action taken should be guided by these principles:
“Love God and love your neighbour as you love yourself.”
Christians believe that God called us to forgive as he forgave us. This is very important because when Jesus died on the cross for us, and he asked God to forgive our sins.
“And when you stand to pray, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28
As a Christian, while I have been commanded that forgiveness is not optional, I don’t just forgive to obey the command, I forgive because I love the people in my life, and their trust and faith in me, is so much more important to me, than my pride, my selfishness, my hurt and my anger. I try to forgive, as no matter what reason or right I have to these things, there will never be a good enough reason for me not to love them. I forgive because I know I have done things that are wrong and people have forgiven me, so why should I not forgive them? I should treat everyone the way they would want to be treated (which is what Jesus taught us). Moreover, Jesus died for us, and God forgave our sins, so why should we not do the same? An example of forgiveness was when a man, in America, shot a woman’s only child. Even though she lost her only precious child, she still forgave him, and today, the killer lives next door to the woman. This is very outstanding and is what God wants us to do. Also forgiveness affects other people by making them feel better and it could change their life because if someone who had a very bad background (e.g. the person was child abused and hung out with people who were bad influences) and they did something to you that was wrong, i.e. murdered your friend or stole your laptop, and you forgave them, it might make them happier and would encourage them want to be a better person.
The parable of the unforgiving servant is about a man who owed the king ten thousand bags of gold but could not afford to pay it back – therefore the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant begged him not to do this and the master took pity on him, cancelled the debt and let him go. However, the man’s servant owed him a hundred silver coins but refused to let him go like the king and threw him into prison until he could pay the debt. As soon as the king heard about this, he was furious and shouted at the servant that even though he could not pay him the debt, he let him go, but did not do the same to his fellow-servant; the king handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay his debt. The meaning of this parable is that forgiveness should be in like proportion to the amount forgiven. The first servant was forgiven so he should have then forgiven his servant. In like manner, a child of God by faith in Christ has had all sins forgiven. Therefore, when someone offends or sins against us, we should be willing to forgive him/her from a heart of gratitude. Or in other terms, we should always forgive as God has forgiven us (treat people the way you would like to be treated).
In Christianity, you are taught always to forgive and forget. However, I find it hard to do this because, for example, if your friend dropped your phone and it broke then you forgave them, and the next phone you got is an iPhone 7+. If your friend, who dropped your phone wanted to see it, you would be very cautious as you do not want the same thing that happened to your old phone to happen your new phone – so the most likely thing you would do is that you would step back (still holding your phone) and tell them they can look at it. You would have still forgiven them, but you have not forgotten because God would have expected us to give your iPhone 7+ to a friend so she can touch it and feel it.
I think forgiveness is still relevant in today’s society. This is because if we lived a life of revenge and hatred, it is not going to benefit us in any way as we are wasting years of our lives in bitterness and resentment when they could, through forgiveness, have lived that time in joy and happiness.
Forgiveness leads to purification of the spirit:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
I would find it hard to forgive if my best friend spread rumours about me and posted it onto social media for everyone to see. First of all, I would have lost my best friend as now I cannot trust her anymore, which would break my heart because I trusted her, told her all my secrets and she was like my sister, so as well as losing a friend I would have lost my ‘sister’. Moreover, it would ruin my future because if I was looking for a job or wanted to go to university, and they saw that the picture that my best friend sent onto Facebook (for an example) the most likely thing they would do is not to accept me as they would think that I am not serious and silly etc. At the same time, this could lead to bullying as they would make fun of me, laugh and start insulting me, which could lead me to not have any friends and be lonely.
However, I would find it easy to forgive if someone accidentally fractured my elbow because firstly, it was an accident, we are all humans, and we are not perfect; as long as they say they are truly sorry I would easily forgive them because what else would I want from them?