The bold act of forgiveness

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By Cynthia A.A. Mahoney

One of the New Testament most quoted verse is 1st John 1;9 which reads “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Many people read and meditate on this verse for reassurance that God will again confess for a recurrent sin, and promise to do better. Sin is deadly and must be avoided as often as possible. We must always bear in mind that God forgives the sinner but not the sin.

The story of the paralytic in the Bible (Matthew 9:1-8) is an example of spiritual healing that preceded physical restoration because of forgiveness. A very popular story on forgiveness recorded in (Luke 15: 11-32), is the story of the Prodigal Son. A story that provides a picture of God’s forgiving spirit toward His own children. Jesus crafted the parable this way to illustrate that there is nothing about His children action we can take, no success we can achieve, no vow we can make that moves God to forgive us of our sin. His motivation for doing so is found entirely within Himself based on His abiding, unconditional love for the humankind.

A special story dear to my heart in the bible is that of Joseph.  This is one of the most beautiful examples of a forgiving spirit. Joseph was the victim of jealousy by the malicious plotting and envy by his bothers.  He knew how to deal with all these ugly characteristics, but he had an attitude of forgiveness that was unmatched in the Old Testament.


God’s unconditional pardon of our sins destroys any excuse we might devise for holding bitterness and unforgiveness towards one another. Very often, we tend to draw a line at the number of times we can accept apologies or even tend to categorise which offense we can pardon – yet Jesus drew no line at the Cross of Calvary.

We can find no relief until we come to the Healer of the Soul. Most often, we find that people who harbour unforgiveness, generally go through a series of resentment, broken relationships, these naturally allow bitterness to take root and of course bitter root produces bitter fruit.  Christian believers are admonished to shun such behaviours because the father’s heart is touched by the sorrows and pains we endure.

Forgiveness is not complete until we forgive ourselves, take authority over our feelings and bring them into submission of the Holy Spirit. An unforgiving heart cannot be healed. it is the love of God that draws us unto HIM, and that love cannot touch our hearts without creating love for one another.