Forgiveness of God

God forgives


Human life
is a continuous return to the Father’s house. Return through contrition, the conversion of the heart, which presupposes the desire to change, the firm decision to improve our life, and is therefore manifested in works of sacrifice and dedication.

Return to the Father’s house through the Sacrament of Forgiveness, in which, by confessing our sins, we clothe ourselves with Christ and give ourselves back to him as brothers and members of God’s family.
(Saint Josemaría, It is Jesus passing, 64).

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God's Forgiveness

The word "forgiveness", composed of the intensive particle "for" and the verb "give", means "to give completely" and, in reference to a fault, "to put a stone on it", "to condone", cancel the debt or penalty . "Let the wicked abandon his way, the wicked desist from thoughts of him, return to the Lord, who will have mercy, to our God who is generous in forgiving" (Isaiah 55:7). Although it is free, to obtain forgiveness it is necessary to ask for it, so that God can act not against our will.

When God forgives us, He causes our sins to no longer be reckoned against us. However, God's forgiveness is conditional on repentance and confession of one's sins: only then will he be able to forgive us and cleanse us from all iniquity.

We all need God's forgiveness. If we say we have not sinned, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and so He forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness" (1 Jn 1:9). Every sin is an act of rebellion against God, so we desperately need his forgiveness.

We cannot pay or earn forgiveness from God, we can only receive it, by faith, through the grace and mercy of God Himself. It is only by entrusting ourselves to Jesus Christ that we can obtain forgiveness of sins, because He took upon himself the punishment we deserved, stressing suffering and death on the cross. This is why forgiveness becomes an act of love, mercy and grace.

But since God already knows our sins, why does he need our confession? Because he wants us to become aware of them, that we take our sins and forgive them for him, that we confess them without trying to belittle them with justification, presumptuous or superficial attitudes, recognizing our faults without ifs and buts. We must be sincere and honest with the Lord, He promises us that he will listen to us: «Yes, Lord, you are good and grant your forgiveness, you are rich in mercy with those who invoke you. Lend ear, Lord, to my prayer, heed the voice of my plea".
(Psalm 86:5-6).

But if we keep manipulating the truth to make it appear better than it is before God, then we could never experience the reality of His forgiveness. If it is true that God forgave King David for the grave sins he committed, it is also true that he could not protect him from the consequences of his actions. God had David's mistakes written down so that they would not be forgotten (2 Samuel 12:9-13). God does not forget, he has and always will have the knowledge of all things, but he has promised never to use our sin against us or to treat us as if the reality of our sin were present in his mind.

Since God has forgiven us, we too are called to forgive others: "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you" (Eph 4:32). And again: «You therefore, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with tender compassion, with goodness, with humility, with meekness, with long-suffering. Bearing with each other and forgiving each other if it happens that one complains about another: as the Lord has forgiven you, so do you".
(Col 3:12-13).

Forgiveness does not mean ignoring the wrong done to others, denying that we have been harmed or turning a blind eye to moral atrocities. It doesn't mean belittling the seriousness of the offense. Forgiving means deciding to let God do justice. As Paul tells us, "beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but give way to divine wrath: indeed it is written: vengeance is mine, I will give what is due, says the Lord".
(Rom 12:19).

To forgive means not allowing anger, pain, bitterness, resentment, hatred, and despair to destroy the soul. The Bible advises us to leave anger alone and abandon fury (Psalm 37:8); without justifying what happened, one must and can succeed in not being consumed by anger.

"If therefore you present your offering at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother and then return and offer your gift. Arrange quickly with your adversary while you are on the way with him, lest the adversary hand you over to the judge and the judge to the guard, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you: you will not leave there until you have paid every penny!".
(Mt 5, 20-26).

So, if you have offended your brother you have no justification you have to remedy the offense, if instead you are the victim of some insolence you can go to whoever offended you and say: "I forgive you". The other could also deny having sinned against you and offended you, he could refuse your benevolent openness and oppose any attempt at reconciliation. Your responsibility is to do everything in your power to be at peace. If he refuses to be at peace with you, it's his fault. For your part, at least you have fulfilled your duty before God.

When, on the other hand, reconciliation is successful, relationships cannot completely return to the way they were before the offense occurred, because it takes time before trust, confidence and esteem you had of the other person. God does not forgive people who willfully and cruelly commit sins and who refuse to admit their mistakes, to change and to apologize to those they have wronged, and He does not ask us to forgive those He Himself has not forgiven.

One night in the year 1216, Saint Francis was immersed in prayer at the Porziuncola, when suddenly a very bright light flooded in and Francisco saw above the altar the Christ covered in light and to his right the Madonna, surrounded by a multitude of Angels. Francis silently adored his Lord with his face to the ground.

They then asked him what he wanted for the salvation of souls. Francisco's response was immediate: «Most Holy Father, although I am miserable and a sinner, I beg you to grant ample and generous forgiveness, with a complete remission of all faults, to all those who, repenting and confessing, will come to visit this church ».

The Lord said to him: «What you ask for, O Friar Francisco, is great, but you are worthy of greater things and greater things you will have. I therefore accept your prayer, but on the condition that you ask my vicar on earth, for my part, for this indulgence".

Forgiveness is the source of healing for our soul, because it heals the wounds caused by resentment, renews us and restores our relationships with God, with our neighbor and with ourselves. It is also a necessity, because if we do not forgive we could not be forgiven. Forgiveness is not a feeling, but an act of decision that derives from our will, a process of growth towards inner freedom, a necessary step towards the conquest of eternal life.