I’m swimming upstream today so I’ll hurry before I lose my gumption.

Here goes: Lewis B. Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” This philosophy is highly promoted these days on placards, from the pulpit, by the counselors, about everywhere. Sounds so good.  And if that brings you freedom and peace, good.  Go ahead, do it.

But I’m thinking we should forgive because Jesus said to do so. Bible says, “…forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph. 4:32). Did Jesus forgive me to set HIMSELF free? No, he forgave me to set ME free!

Smedes quote puts the cart before the horse. The freedom of the forgiver is a result; it should not be the motivation. Sort of like a financial advisor telling you to pay your tithes so God will give back to you. Wrong motivation! Do it because God said to. Pay your tithes to achieve financial security?  Forgive to be set free?  Wrong motivation.  Act in obedience.

When we love enough to forgive because Jesus forgave us just because he loved us, maybe the Holy Spirit will make forgiveness an easier thing to do. 

I had to apologize to a friend  because of my snit in response to an issue. I believe she forgives me because she loves me and/or because Jesus said to do so, not just because she wants to be free.


Image from Wiki article “How to Forgive Abusive Parents.”  Practical suggestions – Just remember Jesus will help also.

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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10 Responses to WHY FORGIVE?

  1. Amen! I agree with you. We really are receiving grace,we are setting ourselves free, but we’re doing it because God said, because while we were yet sinners, He died for us. We’re honoring Him when we forgive.

    It’s a crazy world we’re living in. I’ve seen forgiveness actually mangled in an abusive way, as in “you’re a terrible sinner for not yet forgiving the guy who broke into your house,” all the way to forgiveness being a very self serving act, as in I’m only forgiving to set myself free, you, you I still hold in condemnation! It’s tragic,but somewhat comical too. The fact that we as people can make such a mess of a simple thing, kind of speaks to the fact that we really need a Savior…and forgiveness. 🙂

  2. oneta hayes says:

    I answered this this morning, but alas, it is not here. I probably hit enter and blew it out or something. Anyway, I really appreciate your comment. You are right that we sometimes say we forgive just to appear to be more holy than our opponent! Sadly that is not Christ’s way. It seems like it takes a lot of living to make us look/act/feel/love like Jesus! I’m glad he stands in for my holiness/righteousness while I struggle to be more like him. 😀

  3. calmkate says:

    the reason never matters, it is our own counsel and we should not judge others motivation … all apologies should be accepted with an open heart

  4. Faye says:

    My book ‘Beyond the Ashes’ looks in its theme about what you have brought up here. Yes Forgive as I have forgiven you applies to ALL who follow Jesus. The issue of forgiveness becomes very relevant when perhaps one person is not a believer. They have no LOVE of God to enable them to forgive …lack of forgiveness in this sort of scenario can and often does lead to permanent issues of damaged health etc. etc. In my story of real but fiction people what happens to the father when he chooses not to forgive his daughter for taking the car and killing his son is really quite compelling. I am grateful for the inspiration and ability God gave me to write the story.
    Thanks for the interest things you raise on your blogs. (Beyond the Ashes can be looked at and even is an e/book from Amazon). Forgiveness I believe is the KEY to life and why Jesus emphasised it so clearly for His People. Blessings!

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thanks for the comment, Faye, from a more experienced voice into this discussion. I agree that the unbeliever faces difficulties a believer faces but has more Comfort to depend upon. 😀

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