Part 2: What Is Heart-Based Forgiveness?

Posted by on Jun 18, 2016 in Forgiveness, Heart-Based | 0 comments

Part 2: What Is Heart-Based Forgiveness?

To forgive our offenders their debt, usually requires some type of groundwork must take place. Our negative emotions (resentment, anger, revenge) must become available to us. These destructive feelings do us great harm, actually holding us in bondage to the past.

Negative emotions will continue to rob us of our God-given creative energy that enables us to live life more creatively and fully. Until we forgive our offenders, our energy will be tied up with them.

Blog #22 listed 14 aspects of forgiving from the heart. Here I’ll discuss the next four aspects.

4. Anger is a normal reaction to injustice & must be released

When the king came to realize the seriousness of the situation, he reacted with anger. He commanded the servant to be sold into slavery with his wife & children until he could repay his debt.

Anger is a normal reaction to injustice but must be acknowledged and released before freedom will come. The king’s anger was a very healthy response to this apparently totally irresponsible behavior. How could his servant ever have gotten so deeply in debt? But the king realized that the money was gone and he would never get it back. His first reaction was to take revenge and punish the servant.

Anger is an emotion for which the Christian community has little tolerance. If you get angry, you are often scolded and shamed. Anger is seen as a sin and unbecoming. The family has also taught this belief.

But the Bible tells us to be angry but don’t sin: “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger or you will give the devil an opportunity” (Eph. 4:26).

The length of time you hold on to anger and what you do with it has much to do with whether it becomes sin or not. We must not be too quick to tell someone to forgive, especially if they are not in touch with their pain and anger yet.

Satan wants us to dwell on anger and do nothing about it. He wants us to turn the anger inward and bury it deeply. So demonic forces will take the opportunity to stir up this old anger and we will express old anger in a new situation. Expressing old anger never depletes the anger. Until the anger is expressed and released by the Lord Jesus, we are destined to perpetually dump it on whoever happens to trigger it (Ed. Smith).

5. Recognize the transgressor is unable to repay the debt

The king recognized that the servant would never be able to repay the debt. 

When the servant begged for forgiveness, the king realized that he’d never have the means to repay the debt.

When we are hurt, we look to our offender for repayment. We want to make them pay for our loss, thinking it will take away our pain. But in most cases, they do not have the power (resources) to do this. They may even be dead. Only Jesus has the power to take away our pain and heal our wounds. He is the only one who can pay back and restore the debt of the losses we have incurred in our lives.

Does apologizing help?

Research establishes that, if someone apologizes, it makes it easier for us to give some measure of forgiveness because it reduces the gap of injustice. But it seems the offender needs to apologize at least four times, because it takes that long to open the wounded person’s heart to receive it.

6. Stop demanding the transgressor changes

In heart-forgiveness, we stop all demands that offenders change. Forgiveness is never a means of changing someone, but rather the avenue of release for us. We do not say, “I’ll forgive you, if you do this or that.” If so, then we are still trying to make our offender pay down the debt they owe us. Once we forgive them, they owe us nothing.

7. Disconnect transgressors from their sin

Forgiveness becomes easier if we can separate transgressors from their sins. They are not our enemy; it is their sins that are our enemy. When we equate the person with the sin, we not only hate what they did but also hate the person who sinned.

When God saved us, He separated us from our sin. Although He saw our sin, He also saw us without it. He loved us even in our sin, because He was able to separate us from our sin. This means that we too can forgive others of their failures, yet love them.


Do you know in your heart that you have received forgiveness from God for your sins?

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