Curt Coleman teaches a fantastic Bible study at Santa Cruz Bible Church. He's a scholar, and he expounds God's word on a super deep level. I'm very grateful that he agreed to share these beautiful insights about forgiveness on my blog. Thanks so much, Curt and Catina!
Looking at the origin of words can often result in nuggets of gold being found. For example, the word “forgive” is a word that is full of Grace (in both English and Greek). The original word meant “to give or to grant”. Later, forgive came to mean “to remit a debt; to give up resentment or claim for requital; to pardon an offense.”
Where is the nugget of gold? Stay with me just a little bit longer and you will find the nugget.
We feel that others owe us courtesy and consideration. Sometimes in the workplace we feel that we are owed a reward or promotion. We especially feel we are owed justice and fair treatment. Unfortunately, it seems that most of the people we encounter in society are spiritually, ethically and morally bankrupt! They cannot pay what they owe. These people are thoughtless, selfish, and ungracious. Both carnal Christians and pagans (non-believers) act this way.
Yes, Jesus taught forgiveness in his parable of the rich man who forgave two debts, but we must also remember that the rich man was able to forgive because he was prosperous. [Principle: we can only give out of what we have; you cannot give what you do not have.]
So what is a Christian to do with all the debt owed to her? Answer: confess your own debts, be filled with the Spirit, and forgive others debts as Christ forgave yours.
This answer is not a Christian cliché, but a powerful outcome when a Christian practices being filled with the Spirit and looks at her situation through the eyes of her Heavenly Father. That is, a person that practices Grace thinking (divine viewpoint) will become a forgiving person, because out of her inner most being will flow rivers of living water. A person can only give to others out of what God has already provided to them. To forgive means “to give up a claim; to remit a debt.” Since we have received the grace of God and have all our debts forgiven, out of that abundance of grace, we can forgive others. Thus, we see a nugget of gold here in that forgive is to remit a debt, and to do so only comes from abundance and out of want.
Therefore, whenever in your life you find that someone owes you something, you now have the wherewithal to forgive him! Christians are called by God to be ambassadors and channels of grace and forgiveness. Be reminded that it is his grace that you are giving when you forgive what is owed you.