In Ken Sande’s book, The Peacemaker, he outlines the four promises of forgiveness. In other words, this is what I am saying to someone when I say, “I forgive you.”
- “I will not bring this incident up against (ie, to use against) you again.” (Of course, if someone is struggling with an ongoing pattern of sin, such as an addiction or abusive temper, it is okay to bring it up in order to help them/get them counseling, but not as a means of condemnation.)
- “I will not dwell on this incident.”
- “I will not talk to others about this incident.”
- “I will not let this incident create tension and distance in our relationship.”
This is not only what I say to someone when I forgive, but also it is what God says to me in the gospel when he forgives. Unreal.
For some Scripture references, check out Jeremiah 31:34b, Psalm 103:12, 1 Corinthians 13:5, and Romans 8:1, Colossians 3:13.