Here are some incomplete thoughts I had last year when I was thinking about how Christians talk a lot about forgiveness but what actually is it? Here goes…
To not forgive is to hold on to someone else’s guilt, believing you have the rights to it because of how they’ve hurt you, and what they’ve taken from you. It is to say, “You now owe me for that, and until you pay it, I will use your guilt to define your character”. To not forgive is easier but hurts more.
To forgive is not to say it doesn’t matter, and is not to forget. It is something we choose but only God can do in us. To forgive is impossible, but also miraculous.
To forgive is to see their guilt, your hurt, and your guilt of holding on until now all mixed up together in the cross – in the violence of nails hammered in to the body of Jesus, because somehow he is also God of the universe and more. It is to let go of your rights to their guilt and to allow yourself to be lowered in status, because now you are equal to them – they owe you nothing and you owe them nothing. It is to trust God to hold the guilt and the hurt of the past so that you no longer live with the weight of it.
To forgive is to trust that it is the Father who fulfils all love deficits.