Restorative Forgiveness

"Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:18, 19)

Forgiveness has a very important place in life for two reasons. First, expressing forgiveness is healthy. When there is genuine forgiveness the cause for offense doesn’t impede recovery, particularly emotional. There can be serious offenses, even encounters resulting in permanent injury, even death. But with forgiveness, there comes emotional healing and a return to life though in some cases life is drastically altered. The second important place of forgiveness is relational. Unless there is true forgiveness relationships remain broken. When an offence occurs, there can be no real restoration without repentance on the part of the offender, and forgiveness on the part of the offended.

Micah informs us about God’s act and attitude about forgiveness. He is the unequivocal standard because he constantly is being offended by sinful humanity. We are given a picture what forgiveness is like. Micah used three word pictures – “pardoning”¸ (a judicial term implying forgiveness is removing guilt for transgressions), “passing over” (a term of action whereby forgiveness is like passing over it, moving beyond the sin,. and “cast” (to throw out of the way so that sin will never stand as a barrier between God and man.)

Within the household of faith the basis for which we should easily forgive is “covenantal love.” Micah said, referring to the redeemed of Israel, “He again will have compassion on us.” We, too, have an everlasting relationship with the Lord in Christ and forgiveness comes to us. Therefore, we forgive because we have been forgiven.

--E.C. Malone 09/25/15

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