Every day should be Forgiveness Day

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Forgiveness Day takes place on June 26, a time set aside to forgive and to be forgiven. Often overlooked, this designation spotlights forgiveness, a vitally important concept not only in Christianity but one with universal implications as well. My newly released book Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Your Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs recognizes forgiveness as an often forgotten spiritual component of the healing process in responding to a life-threatening disease, such as cancer. Chapter 7 discusses both aspects of forgiveness, examining notable examples from the Bible, as well as my personal application of the principles of forgiveness. In addition, the book discusses some of the benefits that come: to those who practice forgiveness, both in terms of improved mental and physical health. Here is an excerpt

What does it mean to forgive?

To forgive means: to send away, dismiss, set free; to acquit by a verdict; to give no punishment to the guilty person and to view the guilty person as if he is innocent. Another definition means to let loose or set at liberty (a debtor). Dr. Arch Hart has said, “I forgive when I give up my right to hurt you because you hurt me.”

Simply put, to forgive is to love, and to love is to forgive. Remember, however, that “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” I learned this firsthand in a very graphic way when late one night after getting off from work, I was accosted by a man who demanded that I give him my wallet. As I reluctantly complied, do you think I loved giving him my wallet? Nonetheless, I complied with his demand that I “give.” As I recall, when I went to my car, hurt and humiliated, I prayed and asked God to forgive the man who was in such desperate straits that he resorted to robbery.

Literally to forgive means to “give for.” You give to those who choose not to give. John Oxenham expresses a profound truth about love and giving:

Love ever lives, outlives forgives,
And while it stands with open hands it lives,
For this is love’s prerogative:
To give and give and give.

You actually could keep adding “and give” to last line ad infinitum. For such love expresses endless giving.

Jesus Christ, of course, is the quintessential example of forgiveness. As he is dying on the cross, having been brutalized and humiliated beyond any atrocious behavior inflicted upon any mortal, among the last words spoken by the Lord are recorded in Luke 23:34:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Some of the lyrics to the original song “Please Forgive Me” reinforce this truth.

God first gave to us so that we might live.
We give to others when we learn to forgive.
Jesus, our example so perfect and true,
Said, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”

I forgive you. I forgive you.
I forgive you. I forgive you.
I forgive you this time. I forgive you each time.
I forgive you.

When we practice forgiving, we apply the principle of “giving and receiving.”

Luke 6:38 relates this principle:

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

When we forgive, we also recall another expression of truth by Jesus who said, “It more blessed to give than to receive.” In a situation where one person offers forgiveness and another receives forgiveness. Who is more blessed? I often say, “When you choose to give, you cannot lose, but when you choose not to give you cannot win.” In his book Total Forgiveness, R. T. Kendall states,

“Forgiveness is not total forgiveness until we bless our enemies—and pray for them to be blessed. Forgiving them is a major step; totally forgiving them has fully been achieved when we set God free to bless them. But in this, we are the first to be blessed, and those who totally forgive are blessed the most.”

When it comes to abounding in God’s grace and abiding in His will in the area of forgiveness:

I Choose to Forgive

I choose to forgive and to release from payment,
To clear the account and forego the debt once more.
Though rightfully owed to me, I choose to forgive,
To be gracious, despite all the ingratitude.
My desire is to be kind and tenderhearted;
Even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven me,
I rise to the occasion of the Word of God.
Not keeping a record of any wrongs suffered,
I seek to walk in the footsteps of the Savior.
As Joseph, in compassion, assured his brothers
What Satan meant for evil, God fashions for good,
Widen my vision to see a much more grand scope:
May I also see all things working together
For the good, even in perilous times as these.

When it comes to “forgiving and being forgiven,” individuals should not have to wait until the 26th of June. Ideally, every day should be Forgiveness Day. Ideally, every day should be Forgiveness Day.

We close with “A Heart That Forgives,” powerful song by Kevin Levar:

 

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5 Responses to “Every day should be Forgiveness Day”

  1. Deborah Ann Says:

    Never knew there was an actual day to forgive . . . I always thought like you it was a daily, sometimes minute by minute thing we need to do! ~ Blessings ~

  2. apocalypse2blog Says:

    forgive us as we forgive them

  3. Lynn Walker Says:

    Thank you and God Bless you Lonnell. I shared on Love and Forgiveness in fellowship this week.

    • Dr. J Says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I apologize I didn’t acknowledge your sharing what happened in your fellowship that week. God is always at work within us to accomplish His purposes. Be blessed.

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