October 30, 2023

Divine Forgiveness

Written by Boyd Bailey

Those who are relationally rich are good forgivers.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 30, 2023

Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins. Psalm 103:2-3

God freely forgives, not demanding, not expecting anything in return, a true pardon. My struggle is I want something in return for my forgiveness. At least a smile, a thank you, some praise for my good deed. Yet, my conditional forgiveness is not what I desire from others and certainly not from the Lord. I want a free gift without conditions so I can move forward, free to live without guilt and shame. Think about the peace divine forgiveness gives as a result of unconditional love. His pardon is what causes me to fall to my knees and lift up my hands in grateful praise. A peace that passes all understanding is a gift we enjoy when our heart freely receives forgiveness.

Once again, Henri Nouwen majestically portrays divine forgiveness, “But God’s forgiveness is unconditional; it comes from a heart that does not demand anything of itself, a heart that is completely empty of self-seeking. It is this divine forgiveness that I have to practice in my daily life. It calls me to keep stepping over all my arguments that say forgiveness is unwise, unhealthy, and impractical. It challenges me to step over all my needs for gratitude and compliments. Finally, it demands of me that I step over that wounded part of my heart that feels hurt and wronged and that wants to stay in control and put a few conditions between me and the one whom I am asked to forgive…Only when I remember that I am the Beloved Child can I welcome those who want to return with the same compassion as that with which the Father welcomes me.” As Henri emphasizes, in our belovedness, we are able to forgive like our heavenly Father.

The individuals I have known over the years who are relationally rich are good forgivers. Why are they relationally rich? Because they are loved, and they love well. They truly love others with a goal to help them discover the Lord’s best for their life. No pretense or pride, just a humble heart to obey God and love like Jesus. And, out of their gratitude for Christ’s generous riches of love, forgiveness, peace, and hope, they are predisposed to forgive. They are compelled to forgive out of being lavishly loved by the Lord. They are good forgivers. Good forgivers forgive in the moment, seek healing from the Holy Spirit, and pray for grace and wisdom to initiate relational repair. Good forgivers forgive generously because they understand how their forgiveness helps others experience divine healing. Good forgivers also forgive themselves.  

Maybe a good first step to free yourself from anger, shame, or blame is to forgive yourself. Stop beating yourself up for what you wished you had done differently…release your regrets and receive the gift of self-forgiveness. Obsessing over negative people and events only elevates your stress level and robs your joy. Be compassionate to your heart by removing the expectation of never saying or doing anything wrong. Yes, in Christ, aspire to His righteousness, but let go of being so hard on yourself. You are not alone in your struggles; we all need care and compassion. Emotions are tricky; don’t make the mistake of either downplaying them or exaggerating them. Make sure your feelings are the caboose that follows, not the engine that drives your thinking and actions. See yourself as a beloved child of God who is precious and adored by your Father. As you are able to receive forgiveness from your heavenly Father and forgive yourself as He has forgiven you…you will be able to forgive others freely. Freedom flows out of divine forgiveness.

“Love others in the same way you love yourself” (Mark 12:31, VOICE).


Heavenly Father, I celebrate the gift of your divine forgiveness for me to receive and model toward others through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name.


How does divine forgiveness define your thoughts and actions?

Related Reading

Numbers 14:17-20; Psalm 32:1-2; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13

Worship Resource

Crowder: Forgiven


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