What is Forgiveness?
Dan Hamilton in his book, Forgiveness, explains it thus:
"If a careless friend breaks a lamp at my home, I will forgive him. That means I will not make him buy a new lamp. I have set him free from the penalty of sin. He is free to go because I say. "I release you from your debt. Go and leave your chains behind"
Forgiveness means to cancel, and the penalty is what we cancel. No one can make us take action against the offender. We cannot be forced to collect from someone who has destroyed our property. No law says that we must stop speaking to one who has slandered us. We are free in forgiveness to renew renewed relationships - as friends and co-workers and family and lovers.
But when the offender has walked away, rejoicing in freedom, we are not finished. We have dealt with the penalty, but the damage remains. There is still a price to be paid.
The lamp is still broken; our reputation is still ruined; there is still a loss to absorb in life. Who will pay for it? I cannot collect money for the lamp from a third party. If I did. I would not be canceling the penalty but merely transferring it to someone else. I have no choice. I must pay for it myself.
A lamp is easy to price and pay for. But what about damage that is intangible, unpriceable, irreparable? broken relationships? Ruined reputations? Shattered bodies?