Genuine and complete forgiveness is more than just transacting forgiveness.  There are further implications when we forgive those who sin against us.  Forgiveness means that we will go beyond what is “required” (Philemon 21).

Remember, forgiveness is granted in two ways:  forgiveness is transacted when a sinner confesses his sin to the one he has sinned against and the offended person grants forgiveness to the sinner; and secondly, when the sinner is unwilling to confess his sin, the one who is sinned against cannot transact forgiveness, but he does cultivate an attitude, readiness, and willingness to forgive.

Relationships will be more difficult if forgiveness is not transacted; yet it is in those very circumstances that the one who is sinned against will have greater opportunity to demonstrate his willingness to go beyond what is required of him.

So just what kinds of things does the forgiver do to demonstrate that he is going beyond the requirements of forgiveness?  Jesus provides three actions that the forgiver can take when someone is unwilling to confess and be reconciled to the person he has sinned against.  The believer then cultivates and attitude of forgiveness and a willingness to forgive that is demonstrated with the overall attitudes of love and mercy that overflow into three actions:  doing good, speaking words of blessing, and praying (Luke 6:27-28, 35-36).  Because he loves (makes a commitment to do what is best and most needful for the other person regardless of the personal cost and as a reflection of his love for Christ) and because he is merciful (looking for opportunities to withhold his right to carry out justice), he will look for opportunities to do good, bless, and pray.

To carry out these forgiving actions may be difficult at times, so it might be helpful to fill out the following chart (adapted from Robert Jones, Pursuing Peace) to serve as a reminder of the tangible efforts one is making to be a forgiver.

Beyond Forgiveness Chart