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How do we forgive? Part 1

In Colossians 3, Paul explains that we become more like Christ as we put off our old ways and put on new ways. One of the ways we become more like Christ is found in 3:13:

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Sometimes bearing with , or putting up with , one another means that we need to respond to being offended. There will be times when others will actually sin against us - intentionally or unintentionally, others will say or do something that causes us pain, humiliation, anger, or any number of emotions.

So how are we to respond when that happens?

We are to forgive. It's right there in the text - forgiving each other. And Paul ties that response directly to our becoming more like Christ - as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

So what does that forgiveness look like? There's a couple of different ways that forgiveness works.

Some suggest that full or true forgiveness can only happen if the offender seeks reconciliation – the offender repents and asks you to forgive them. (Think Luke 17:3-4) That certainly is ideal.

What a great picture it is of the gospel when the one who has sinned against you asks you to forgive them and you forgive! That is what God does with us through the gospel.

When we come to God asking for forgiveness of the sins that we've committed against him, he grants forgiveness, fully and completely. We should pray for and seek for the same thing to happen in our relationships with each other when offense is given.

But what happens when the person who sinned against you doesn't ask for forgiveness?  We will address this again in the next part next week. 

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