Forgiveness is the very special act of releasing someone from the bad feelings that he/she may have because of some harmful or wrong thing that he/she did against you. The person may be feeling guilty about what he/she did or sad because of the way that it has affected the relationship between you. But the decision to forgive that person is up to the one who has been offended, and it is an especially ,strong>GOOD gift!

Special qualities of forgiveness

Forgiveness is priceless

Forgiveness, in my opinion, is somewhat of a gift, because it can’t simply be boughten. A monetary debt can be “forgiven” by paying it off, but the initial cause for it is bigger than the debt itself.

Forgiveness improves relationships

When a person goes into debt or has to get money from a friend or relative, there is usually some need or problem or condition in that person’s life that needs to be met or fixed by the use of resources that are beyond his/her immediate supply. It is this need or problem or condition that is bigger than the debt, and it does have some effects upon each person in the relationship.

Borrowing money from a friend or relative creates some feelings of obligation and guilt toward them that are different than just the IOU. But loaning a friend or a relative some money also creates some feelings in the helpful friend or relative, perhaps of resentment or even anger if the debt isn’t quickly repaid. There is more involved in one’s need to be forgiven than just to have his/her debt paid. There is the need to improve the relationship between the person in need and the giver.

Some of the real consequences from what caused the need or problem in one’s situation and his/her personal relationships are lessened or removed by this personal decision to provide someone with this special gift. When the debt has been paid or the angry remarks or hurtful action has been forgiven, the relationship between the debtor and the giver is improved far beyond the amount of the debt or the few words that were shouted or the duration of the hurtful act or actions.

I’m sure that most of you viewers who are reading this statement can acknowledge this special quality of forgiveness. The relationship may be that of a person running a business and his/her banker, or the relationship between a grown child and his/her parent, or a relationship between friends, or the relationship between spouses, but in any case, relationships are improved when debts are forgiven.

So forgiveness is priceless and it restores good relationships, but it also shares the qualities of GOODness that are common to other GOOD gifts.

The benefits of forgiveness are extensive and long lasting

The gift of forgiveness can make a big difference in one’s family. It can end long-standing feuds and restore good relationships between generations of relatives. It can even transform the relationship that exists between “enemies”. Forgiveness restores trust and confidence in relationships, and this can be extensive, going beyond just the immediate individuals who are involved in the transaction.

And forgiveness has benefits that last for eternity, not just for the next week or so or until the next payday. Individuals may experience new or reoccurring needs, but when they have been forgiven and participated in a relationship where this gift of forgiveness has been given and received, they are changed, and the change can be forever. Both individuals are blessed!

God’s gift of forgiveness

When a sinner repents of his/her sins against God, God forgives him/her of those sins as he/she accepts the righteousness of Jesus who died to pay the penalty of the sinner’s rebellion against God (see Romans 3:19–26 and Romans 5:9–11). Not only does God forgive the sinner for his/her sins, but God also forgets those sins (see Hebrews 10:17), and puts them far away (see Psalms 103:10–11).

When a sinner confesses his/her sin to God, God not only forgives the person for the sin, but he also purifies and cleanses the person (see 1 John 1:9). God makes the “dirty” rebel one of his “cleansed” children. God’s forgiveness not only improves the sinner’s relationship with God, it also improves the sinner’s relationships with other forgiven sinners (see 1 John 1:3–7). And God is glorified in the process.

Because Jesus is the perfect priest, he doesn’t have to die over and over again to pay the debt for a sinner’s obligations with God. He did that once, and that was enough. But as the perfect priest, Jesus is also constantly present with God to be the sinner’s advocate and to intercede with God on his/her behalf (see Hebrews 7:23–25). So God’s forgiveness is an ongoing gift, not just a one-time blessing.

God’s gift of forgiveness is awesome! There is nothing anyone can do to earn it. It is made possible through the sacrificial atonement of Jesus. Not only are the sinner’s sins forgiven, but they are also forgotten. The relationship between God and the forgiven sinful rebel is repaired forever, and the relationships that the forgiven sinner has with other forgiven sinners in God’s family of believers are also improved. What a great blessing!

My appeal to you

If you are a forgiven sinner, thank God every day for his gift of forgiveness and the restored relationship that you have with him. If you have been hurt by someone, forgive him or her and your relationship will be improved. You will both be better persons. If you want to get rid of an “enemy”, forgive him/her and perhaps you will become “friends”.

Forgiveness is a very special gift with some very powerful benefits. Use it often, because it is greatly needed in our world!

If your relationship with God needs to be improved, seek his forgiveness. His Son, Jesus, died to enable God to freely give it to you. A guide for doing this is available in this statement regarding God’s plan of salvation. You can find it at “The Plan of Salvation” on this website.