The Bible has much to say about the subject of forgiveness—a subject that certainly we can all benefit from studying more. Topical studies such as these are a great way to approach God’s Word and can be refreshing if you ever feel you are getting into a monotonous rut reading chapter after chapter with no feeling of reward afterward.

To understand biblical forgiveness, we must first understand what God has done for us. Ephesians 4:32 states, ”Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” The moment we accepted Christ as our Savior, we were forgiven, unconditionally and unreservedly.

What God has done for us, He commands we do for others. In the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35), Jesus concludes the parable with this: “And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

For us, it can be hard to forgive and that is due to not fully understanding the concept of forgiveness. To understand biblical forgiveness, we first must understand what forgiveness is not:

1. It is not about feeling something. When you search the Scriptures, nowhere does it indicate we must feel like forgiving in order to forgive.

2. It’s not forgetting. Forgetting is a passive act. Not remembering is an active choice and one made by God when He chooses to forgive us. After all, God is omniscient and cannot forget anything. He chooses not to remember (Jeremiah 31:34; Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12).

Remembering, then, is active. It's something we choose to do with our minds. When we forgive, we are making a promise that we’re not going to bring up a painful video out of our memory archive and use it against someone. It's a declaration that we make. We haven't forgotten the event, but rather we choose to not remember it.

The problem with many of us is we don't forgive biblically. We hold grudges. We give the silent treatment. What is tragic is that God's way is so much better. When we forgive, we make a promise to no longer hold your sin against you. The slate is clean. We can move on.

Yes, it might be hard to do, but living the Christian life is never easy. Jesus made it clear that, "Without Me, you can do nothing." There's a big difference between hard and impossible. We need to realize that we cannot forgive based on our own strength, but we can with God's.

So forgiveness is a declaration, a promise, and choice we can make to do with others what God did with us.

Seek not your own vengeance. Vengeance, after all, belongs to the Lord alone (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:17-19).

Forgive one another and let peace reign in your heart.