Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Forgiveness Defined

I've been doing a little study on forgiveness and thought I would share what I found and is my understanding of what it means to forgive. I'm going to post a little bit each day for the next two weeks or so. My hope is that it makes you think, causes you to have conversations about it, changes your heart and leads you to freedom if you have been withholding forgiveness.


Let’s pick apart the definition of forgive and find out what it really means to forgive an offender.

Definitions from American Dictionary of the English Language- Noah Webster 1828

Forgive- 1. to pardon; to remit, as an offense or debt; to overlook an offense, and treat the offender as not guilty. The original and proper phrase is to forgive the offense, to send it away, to reject it, that is, not to impute it [put it to] the offender. But by an easy transition, we also use the phrase, to forgive the person offending.
2. To remit as a debt, fine or penalty.

Forgiveness- 1.the act of forgiving; the pardon of an offender, by which he is considered and treated as not guilty. The forgiveness of enemies is a Christian duty.
2. The pardon or remission of an offense or crime; as the forgiveness of sin or of injuries

I like to continue defining until I exhaust all words and come full circle so I am going to continue defining words in the definitions above.

Impute- To charge; to attribute; to set to the account of

Pardon- Forgiveness; the release of an offense or of the obligation of the offender to suffer a penalty, or to bear the displeasure of the offended party.

Remit- To forgive; to surrender the right of punishing a crime; as, to remit punishment.

According to these definitions then, to forgive means to no longer call in a debt owed and treat the offender as not guilty. You release the offender from the obligation to “settle matters.” You release the offense. You no longer charge the person for their “crime”.

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