How well do we understand forgiveness?  I assume most of us think we have a pretty good handle on the idea, but I wonder, have we become calloused to the depth of its meaning?  Or, have we become especially sensitive to how we will or will not offer forgiveness?  There are two aspects of forgiveness that I’m speaking of; receiving and giving. Both are important, and both have much to do with our walk with Christ. Let’s talk first about receiving.
When we speak of our own forgiveness, how much do we understand, or consider all of what has been offered when we are forgiven, especially by God? Do we flippantly accept it and maybe even expect it because, as believers, we know our God is a loving and forgiving God?  It’s who He is and what He does, right? This is what I mean when I ask, have we become calloused to the depth of its meaning? We may not do this intentionally, in fact we most likely don’t, but if we really search our hearts and our honest with ourselves, is this true in us?  
There are a few ways we can respond to God’s forgiveness.  First, we can reject it.  We can choose, instead, to believe that our sin was so grievous that there’s no way God could forgive us, or that we simply don’t deserve His forgiveness.  We know this isn’t true because the Bible tells us in 1 John 1:9 – But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  All wickedness, not some.  All.  But, this doesn’t always stop us from wrestling with those thoughts of being unworthy of His forgiveness, and we find ourselves caught in the enemy’s trap.
Second, we can accept it, but not take into account the depth of all that forgiveness offers us.  Maybe we think our sin wasn’t so bad, so it’s easy to forgive? Or, maybe we just assume that forgiveness for God is an easy thing, so no big deal, really? But, Ephesians 1:7 tells us that we were redeemed by His blood.  It was the cross that brought us forgiveness, and when we stop to consider the cross, I don’t believe any one of us would consider it an “easy” thing.  
Or, third, we can receive forgiveness as David did, or Paul.  Their sin was terrible, both causing death, yet both found forgiveness through repentance, and both were deeply affected.
In Psalm 63 we see the depth of longing that David had for the Lord.  He understood the forgiveness that God had given to him even after taking another man’s wife as his own and then causing that man’s death.  It was that forgiveness that drove him to earnestly seek the Lord.  Early he would rise every morning to sit in relationship with God.  David loved the Lord because the Lord first loved him.
Paul (Saul) was a murderer and persecutor of the children of God.  He was passionate in his pursuit to stop those that were followers of Jesus.  But, on the road to Damascus, Paul met Jesus and was commissioned.  His sins were forgiven and Paul became even more passionate about sharing the gospel than he had previously been to destroy it.  
There are two things our forgiveness should lead us to:
1.  A passionate pursuit of the Lord
2.  Forgiving one another (Col 3:13)
When we are deeply affected by our own forgiveness from God, our hearts will turn towards Him as David’s did and as Paul’s did. We will earnestly desire His will above our own.  There will be no replacement for Him and our hearts will yearn for Him. Our sin, no matter how great or small, should create division between us and God, but out of His great love for us, He created a way to bridge the separation and bring us back into relationship with Him.  We should all find pure joy in His forgiveness, and a desire or longing for Him when we take a reality check of our own lives and begin to understand His love for us, and allow ourselves to be deeply affected by His pursuit of us.  
Hebrews 4:1-3.
Then, when we understand how much we have been loved and forgiven, who would we be to deny that to those that have sinned against us?  Take a moment to read Matthew 18:21-35.  Unforgiveness is a sneaky wickedness the enemy uses to keep us divided from each other.  We all want to see repentance from those who hurt us and sin against us before we offer forgiveness, but let’s remember Paul again.  Paul (Saul) was not seeking God’s forgiveness when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus.  He was actually seeking to arrest the followers of Jesus and to return them to Jerusalem as prisoners, and possibly for execution!  Yet, the Lord met him anyways.  It was the Lord’s pursuit of Paul that led him to repentance.
What if we pursued those who hurt us with the love of Christ just as Jesus pursued Paul?  Is that a hard thing to do?  If so, then maybe we haven’t yet been deeply affected by the Word of God and His pursuit and forgiveness of us?  Or, maybe it is our desire, but we need more time at His feet and in His presence for His help; for Him to speak to us and to show us how to do something that seems so hard to our flesh.  (Matthew 26:41 –  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.)
I want His Word, His love, and my forgiveness from Him to change me, and that change to be reflected in my own pursuit of God and in the way I love others.  Today I choose to humble myself, desire His presence, and let go of any hurt, offering forgiveness rather than harboring unforgiveness.  I even choose to pray for those who have hurt me, with a heart that desires for them to know God in a powerful way, because that is where unity lies, and that is where the will of God is found.  Lord, please help us to walk in your ways, with a heart passionate to see You move in us and through us.  Help us to understand forgiveness, and help us to offer to others what you have so freely given to us. 
Quinn Pruett 
Scripture references:
Ephesians 1:7 – He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
Psalm 63:1 – O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you
Colossians 3:13 – Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Hebrews 4:1-3 (TPT) – Now God has offered to us the same promise of entering into his realm of resting in confident faith. So we must be extremely careful to ensure that we all embrace the fullness of that promise and not fail to experience it. For we have heard the good news of deliverance just as they did, yet they didn’t join their faith with the Word. Instead, what they heard didn’t affect them deeply, for they doubted. For those of us who believe, faith activates the promise and we experience the realm of confident rest!
Matthew 18:21-35 – Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”  “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”  “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him.  In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.  “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’  Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded.  But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened.  Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’  Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters[e] from your heart.”