Global Christian Forum

Reflection: The Impact of Forgiveness

By: Jean-Daniel Plüss, President, Fondation du Forum Chrétien Mondial


“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

When Jesus teaches us to forgive each other, he is not saying that his forgiveness depends on our forgiveness to others. True forgiveness is not conditional.

To forgive someone means to say that although the other has done something that is very wrong, I do not want to turn my back and exclude this person from our relationship. Although there may be scars and memories that linger, they shall not stand between us.

To accept forgiveness, on the other hand, means that you admit error. Both the one who extends and the one who received forgiveness has to swallow their pride. This is often hard to do and we can pray to receive help from a merciful God who knows all about forgiveness on the cross (Luke 23:34).

As we are rejoicing in the resurrection power of Easter, we may turn our thoughts to our brothers and sisters in other churches who may have wronged us or whom you have wronged with your thoughts, attitudes, or actions. You may pray to God, “I am sorry, Lord, for the division I have sowed among your children. Help me by the power of your Holy Spirit to find ways to say to them, ‘I am sorry for what I have said and done, I still want you for my friend, because you are a brother or sister in our common faith in the risen Christ.’”