Is Forgiveness a Right? | UMC YoungPeople
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January 2017

Is Forgiveness a Right?

By Previous Sadadzi

The Lord’s Prayer says: “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us.” Forgiveness is an important trait in any Christian and, in my view, it’s a vital aspect of any relationship. But before we talk about forgiveness, we must talk about rights and privileges.

First, a “right” is something that a person is guaranteed and can never be taken away from them. On the other hand, “privileges” are opportunities, status, or objects that can be denied a person. This minor difference is what makes forgiveness so complicated.

The Lord’s Prayer says that our sins are forgiven as we forgive others. It might seem like God is placing a condition on our forgiveness. However, another way of looking at this passage is that forgiveness is a right that we all have. If you forgive someone, the Lord has guaranteed that your sins will also be forgiven. This is the Father who has the unconditional love for us.

In today’s relationships it seems that people tend to forgive people less. Forgiveness now seems like a privilege to be earned, rather than something we are all called to do. Now this does not mean that forgiveness is easy, nor does it mean that every sin has the same effect on relationships. The Lord’s Prayer doesn’t specify the length or depth of the sin. It merely calls us to forgive.

Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy-seven times. - Mathew 18:22

Why does it seem that so many people are not willing to forgive others? Is it because we have interpreted the bible into the way we want to perceive it – to see it as a call for punishment rather than reconciliation? In my understanding of the bible, forgiveness is a right everyone deserves, not a privilege. If our Father in heaven was like most of us he would have never looked past our many sins. But he still forgives us and blesses us.

Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool - Isaiah 1:18

Let us strive to live as Christ lived and to forgive as we have been forgiven.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Would you consider forgiveness as a right or a privilege?

  2. Why do you think it is so hard to forgive? Do you understand how important is forgiveness is in our daily lives?

  3. Can we measure the type or the depth of the sin for us to forgive? Is it right in the eyes of the Lord?

Young Adult devotions by Previous Sadadzi.