What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a worshipful act of releasing to God the hurtful actions and consequences of the wrong done to us.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25).
Forgiveness is a way of saying to God: “You are God; I am not.”
Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” Joseph said, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:15,19-20).
When forgiveness is understood this way (as an act of worship), it gives us the strength to follow the instructions: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
This approach to forgiveness protects us from being overcome by evil and empowers us to overcome evil with good.