Jesus said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37 NIV) Forgiveness is something many of us struggle with. It is harder to forgive, and it is harder to keep forgiving. We often hear people say that we must “forgive and forget.” However, while it is true that God both forgives and forgets, when it comes to us forgiving, scripturally, forgetting plays only a minor role if any role at all. What is interesting in this scripture is that the word translated here as “forgive” is a Greek word that means to “release.” The key aspect of our forgiveness is the releasing of the offending party from any debt they may owe us due to their offense against us. Paul, writing of love, puts it this way, “it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Cor 13:5) While we may not be able to forget the offense, we can release the one who offended us from the condemnation and judgment of the offense. True forgiveness happens, not when we forgive, but when we forgive and release.
This scripture causes me to ask myself, “Is there anything I am holding against anyone else?” If so, it is only in forgiving and releasing that I myself will be forgiven and released by God.