What is forgiveness? I always kind of had the thought that forgiveness was what you did when you were wronged, a duty you owed people because you’re a Christian. But now I see that forgiveness is nothing more than a side-effect of a choice to not conduct my relationships in a legal fashion, to not relate to people in a rights and duties posture. Forgiveness just is an expression of living generously and going for communion rather than contract in my relationships.

Seeing the gospel through a relationship lens, rather than a legal one, changes everything. Sin is a relational problem not a legal one. Community is at the heart of God and is the focus of the Kingdom message. The liberty that salvation brings means genuine communion. Forgiveness is the healing mechanism between Kingdom citizens when relationships are broken. Because we no longer relate to others out of a concern that our account remains balanced, we are free to pardon any transgressions against us since union is our goal.

Forgiveness is the sometimes difficult, but reasonable (and even joyful) response to an injury for someone seeking to live out the Kingdom vision.