Janet Aucoin August 26, 2022

Forgiving those who have hurt us can be one of the most difficult challenges as a Christian. In this episode, Janet and Jocelyn link Christ’s forgiving heart with our own to show that we can follow Christ’s example in how we forgive one another.

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Episode Transcript


Unpacking Forgiveness - Chris Brauns

Gospel Primer - Milton Vincent

Podcast Episodes

Purpose: The Creation Mandate - Joyful Journey

Repentance vs. Penance - Joyful Journey


Pursuing and Grant Forgiveness - Timothy Lane

Therapeutic vs. Biblical Forgiveness - Chris Brauns


Janet’s Speaking Website

Jocelyn’s Speaking Information


Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.

Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no brainer as possible for ladies to see that the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.

Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.

Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy.

Janet: Well, hello. Welcome back. This is Janet, once again, here with Jocelyn.

Jocelyn: Hey there.

Janet: And today's episode, we're attempting another big topic.

Jocelyn: Oh, how exciting.

Janet: A word we use a lot: forgiveness. But

Jocelyn: This is going to be good.

Janet: What I had to wonder is how many of us use that word, but we don't really understand what we mean.

Jocelyn: Yep.

Janet: And then I just have to tell you. Why is it a word we don't really always care for? Cause we don't want to do it. I don't know about you, but I don't find that forgiveness comes naturally to me.

Jocelyn: Yeah, no. Not me either.

Janet: So you know how we are about definitions here.

Jocelyn: So how about if you define it for us, Janet.

Janet: Let's start with that. the big picture of what forgiveness is about, it's God's plan for how we're going to deal with sin. First between us and God, and then between each other, as his children. So yes, there's more to say about practically what forgiveness is, but to realize that's the purpose of it. There needs to be a plan to deal with sin. Which can we just say assumes that there's going to be problems and sin?

Jocelyn: Probably a lot of them.

Janet: Even between God's children. So we should expect that and then know that God gave us a way to deal with it. I remember our former pastor, pastor Goode, saying this, he used to say, God expects his children to get along.

Jocelyn: How helpful.

Janet: It was great. I loved that because he would talk about that when people were being petty. You know, we are his children in this church family, and he expects his children to get along. And really the only way that's going to happen in a sin cursed world is if we understand the concept of forgiveness.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Absolutely.

Janet: So, what I wanted to do is really start with God's forgiveness. Because before we can even start thinking about how we should forgive each other, what's going to motivate that? Why would we want to do that? Well, we have been forgiven so much by God. That's so important. And I think we really need to know what that means. What does it mean to be forgiven by God? Then after being forgive, we've been given this glorious purpose that we get to represent him to the rest of creation. See episode two, if you want to know more about that. And that's going to include, then if I'm going to be like him and represent him, I'm going to forgive others the way he's forgiven me.

Jocelyn: It's so cool that it's not nebulous or mystical. Like, Ooh, represent God. Like it's specific. God forgives us. And so we represent him when we forgive the same way that he forgives.

Janet: Chris Brauns has, I found, a very helpful book called Unpacking Forgiveness. And here is his definition of God's forgiveness. It's a commitment by the one, true God to pardon graciously those who repent and believe so that they're reconciled to him. Although this commitment does not eliminate all consequences.

Jocelyn: That's a very thorough definition.

Janet: It is. And we'll talk about more, what different pieces of it mean. But then he goes on to say, if we start with God's forgiveness and then we're supposed to represent God, forgiveness between us is going to be a commitment by the offended, the one who was sinned against, to pardon graciously the repentant from moral liability and to be reconciled to that person. Again, although not all consequences are necessarily eliminated.

Jocelyn: I love that definition. That's really helpful.

Janet: Yeah. And it's interesting the phrase cause so many words in there that it's like, oh, that sounds good. Again, what does that mean? Pardon graciously. So Jocelyn, if I would say that to you, what does it even mean to be pardoned? What does that even mean?

Jocelyn: Well, legally, a pardon basically strikes the conviction from the books as if it never happened. And so the convicted person is treated like they're actually innocent, and that they've been innocent all along. And that doesn't mean that the convicted person is innocent. It just means they're being treated as if they're innocent.

Janet: Which is interesting because what you're basically saying is they owe something because they're not innocent. And we're saying you don't have to pay it.

Jocelyn: There's a cost to that event, but

Janet: you don't have to pay it

Jocelyn: you're not held liable for it.

Janet: Yeah. So you're pardoned of it. It doesn't mean, again that you're innocent. It means you're going to be treated as if you were. Okay. What does that look like? We understand that's what God does. I hope our listeners know we are not innocent before God.

Jocelyn: No. Absolutely. Yeah.

Janet: I hope we kind of know that. And God chooses, when I'm repentant, to treat me as if I am. So what does that look like from a human perspective? Let's just do a little scenario.

Jocelyn: Let's.

Janet: Wanna do a Role-play? Let's do a study. Let's imagine Jocelyn that for no good reason you punched me in the face. And I lose a tooth.

Jocelyn: Oh my goodness. This is especially meaningful because we are dealing with very big dental bills right now. I can feel this one.

Janet: Well, what would happen? You could get arrested for battery and you go to court. And let's imagine that you say, yeah, I did it.

Jocelyn: Yep.

Janet: You're not denying it.

Jocelyn: Yep.

Janet: And at the very end, the judge says you're pardoned.

Jocelyn: That would be crazy because that tooth is out. It costs, it needs to be fixed. it's not free.

Janet: Right. But first we have to know, you obviously know all the right people in all the high places.

Jocelyn: You know I do.

Janet: And kind of like the president, he got to pardon the people he's close to, but what's more important than that. Who absorbed then the cost for you being pardoned.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Somebody had to absorb it because it wasn't free.

Janet: And it was me.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I'm missing a tooth. I still got the pain of getting punched in the face. I'm still missing a tooth. And you don't have to pay for it.

Jocelyn: Got off scot-free.

Janet: So when someone is pardoned, they don't pay for their crime. The cost of the crime is absorbed by somebody else.

Jocelyn: That is an important and weighty statement. The cost of the crime was absorbed by someone else.

Janet: And we know this, if we go back to God's forgiveness, because that's key. In order for us to be forgiven, it wasn't that there was no cost. Who absorbed the cost?

Jocelyn: Exactly.

Janet: Jesus absorbed the cost. Forgiving me was costly, but I didn't pay it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So to use Brauns' word, I was graciously pardoned.

Jocelyn: And I think it really is helpful if we think through, the just response to our sin is the wrath of God. So

Janet: Yes. Not pardon.

Jocelyn: Right. when we sin, we deserve the wrath of God. That's a right reaction from God. It's the right response to his creatures, rebelling against him. And I need to acknowledge the very huge cost of sin, and the amazing payment of that wrath in Jesus Christ. So the atonement of God's wrath makes it possible for me to be forgiven, and not have the cost of that sin held against us. And it wasn't just forgiven the full weight of it was poured out on Jesus, and it crushed him at the crucifixion. So it wasn't like, oh, magic. The cost was removed. No, the cost was absorbed by Jesus on the cross.

Janet: And I think you're absolutely right. We need to stop and think about that. And we don't like to.

Jocelyn: No.

Janet: It's uncomfortable.

Jocelyn: It's very uncomfortable.

Janet: A precious friend of mine when I was sharing the gospel with her, and she didn't understand it yet, and then was beginning to. And she was getting a hold of the idea of what you just said. Her sin was paid for by Christ. He absorbed it. And I will never forget it because she looked at me almost angry and said, that's not fair.

Jocelyn: It's not fair.

Janet: And I was like, she's getting it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: It's not fair. But we're just like, oh good, he forgave me. It's like, no, you don't understand. She's right. That's not fair. He absorbed that. Which makes the fact that he chose to do that, that forgiveness from God, even more worthy of my worship.

Jocelyn: Absolutely.

Janet: So then what are the implications of what forgiveness is going to look like between believers? Well, I think the same thing the person choosing to forgive is choosing to absorb the cost of the sin. Maybe another scenario let's imagine that I slander you, Jocelyn, to my friends. You find out and you talk to me about it. I confess. I agree it was wrong. I repent. And I ask you to forgive me .What happens then?

Jocelyn: Well, I will choose to forgive you. So, I'm not going to ask you to pay for how you hurt me. I'll absorb the hurt. And in this case, the cost is emotional pain. It's not even like you knocked a tooth out or something. There's nothing to pay.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: It just was pain.

Janet: Right. But you're the one who paid with that pain.

Jocelyn: I absorb it.

Janet: Well, why would you be willing to do that? Because you've been forgiven of so much more. When we remember what you just shared with us about how God in Christ bore our wrath. And now, instead of it being, I can't believe I have to absorb that. If you're thinking theologically, it's a privilege, because you get to model God's forgiveness. And in that way, you get to share in the ways that he suffered. In that small way, you get to shine the character and values of God to me.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: When you willingly absorb it. Which helps you understand why when Jesus is explaining forgiveness, they were like, well, how many times do we have to do this? You know, it's a big deal. It is a big deal. Timothy Lane also has an article that we'll link in our show notes on forgiveness. And he says it this way, the first thing forgiveness does is cancel a debt. That's what we were just saying. And then he goes on to use the passage in Matthew 18:21 to 35 to give us more direction. So it gets even more practical. Cause we've already said I'm absorbing the debt. Okay. But what does that actually look like? When I've been forgiven, and when now I get the opportunity to forgive others, lane says I'm making a threefold promise that he gets from Matthew 18. I will not bring up this offense against you or use it against you. It doesn't mean I forget it, which I think is important. We'll talk about that later. And it doesn't mean that it's automatically a sin if I ever mention it again.

Jocelyn: Right. Because sometimes you do have to work through problems, but you're not bringing it up to slap that person in the face with it. You're just, you know, there's stuff that needs to be worked through.

Janet: So I won't bring it up to your harm. Only if it's what's good for your soul. So I'm not gonna bring it up again to you in a way that is designed to harm you ever again. Because I've said, I absorbed that.

Jocelyn: I absorb the cost.

Janet: So I'm not going to to later, well, you slandered.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: No, I've already absorbed that. I'm also not going to gossip or malign you because of this offense. So I'm not going to talk to other people about it either. And I'm not going to dwell on it, which I have to tell you, I find the hardest.

Jocelyn: I was going to say that's, for me, that's where I struggle.

Janet: Yes. I will realize I've been rehashing it in my mind again.

Jocelyn: Replaying it over and over.

Janet: Yes. And trying to help you understand how bad that was, that it hurt me. And then I meditate on it. But that's the commitment I'm making. I'm saying I will absorb it. I'm not going to bring it up to harm you. I'm not going to talk to others about you. And I'm not going to dwell on it myself.

Jocelyn: So short version is, I'm not gonna bring it up behind your back. I'm not gonna bring it up to your face. And I won't dwell on it.

Janet: Yes, yes. And that's a tall order. And that's what it means to absorb it. I'm going to say that's supernatural.

Jocelyn: Yeah, because it's definitely not natural. What's natural for me is to be bitter about it. But to dwell on it until it's just impossible for me to give up that hurt.

Janet: Right. important for me that you know, how badly you hurt me and that you feel really bad. Cause I want you to hurt for how bad you've hurt me.

Jocelyn: And you realize how much you owe me,

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Because it was an expensive pain.

Janet: And I think. Just on a practical level, if you're trying to think, do I struggle in this area? Ask yourself this question, because I find this, when I'm talking with women who are going to need to go and confront someone, or they need to work through a problem, most of the time until I've done some teaching, here's how they believe they need to approach someone. They need to say, Jocelyn, I want you to know that that really hurt me. Like that's the most important thing. How about, It didn't honor God. But what I really want you to know right now

Jocelyn: is the pain

Janet: is how it affected me. And that's when I realize, oh, okay, I need to work on not making everything about me.

Jocelyn: about me. Yeah.

Janet: Yes. So those of us who've been forgiven by God in that way, we get the help of the Spirit. So we can actually live in the supernatural. So that's the overarching principle. I would imagine that many people listening. I know I have had lots of questions running through our minds because I do think we need the principle first. It's a way for us to be able to deal with sin between us and God and between each other. And when we look at how God forgave us first, and it's absorbing. The offended is the one who absorbs.

Jocelyn: It's really helping me to picture being a sponge right now, like a super absorbent sponge. Because it's like, that hurt needs to be taken away. And that's what we're talking about. We're absorbing it and we're letting it not be out there between us anymore.

Janet: Right. So let's just try to think through it. Some of the questions that our listeners might have. For instance, well, what's the purpose of forgiveness? I think this, we might think is obvious. I've just said it's a way to deal with sin, but I do think that a lot of us get tripped up here. For example, Jocelyn, have you ever heard this phrase? Well, you need to forgive. Because you're only hurting yourself if you don't. Forgiveness sets you free from bitterness.

Jocelyn: I have absolutely heard that. Because bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies, but you die if you don't forgive. So you forgive because you don't want to die from poison.

Janet: And so think about that. How does that relate to forgiving someone is absorbing it.

Jocelyn: Yeah, it's not.

Janet: But is it true? Here's where I think it gets confusing. Is it true that a lack of biblical forgiveness is going to hurt you?

Jocelyn: I will say yes from personal experience.

Janet: Can't we all. Is it true that biblical forgiveness discourages my bitterness?

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: Yes, yes. But is that the purpose of forgiveness?

Jocelyn: No.

Janet: Do I see that in the Bible?

Jocelyn: I don't see any commands in the scripture where Jesus says, make sure you forgive other people so you don't get hurt.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: He says, forgive as I have forgiven you.

Janet: And then, and think about what you just said. Did Jesus forgive me because he wanted to make sure he didn't get bitter and hurt?

Jocelyn: No. He forgave me and it did hurt him.

Janet: Forgiving me cost him.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: It was the opposite. He didn't forgive me so that he would protect himself from bitterness.

Jocelyn: No.

Janet: He forgave me, even though I heinously sinned against him. He absorbed it because he loved me and because I needed it. So it's really easy to get that confused. Because the reality is, biblical forgiveness will protect me from bitterness. But I don't forgive you because of the benefit to me

Jocelyn: That's not why I do it.

Janet: And Brauns, in his book calls that therapeutic forgiveness. I do it as therapy for myself. I forgive the benefit it will be to me.

Jocelyn: I can see how that would be a really highly espoused concept in the secular world. Like,

Janet: yes.

Jocelyn: I can see why people would think that's a good idea.

Janet: Absolutely.

Jocelyn: Without Christ's example.

Janet: Because when you're going to therapy,

Jocelyn: right.

Janet: you're going to feel better. And here's part of what you will feel better. Let go of that bitterness. Let go of that

Jocelyn: And just forgive, forgive, forgive. Let it `go. Let it go. Let it go. Yeah.

Janet: He has a really helpful chart that we're going to link as a PDF in our show notes that contrasts biblical and therapeutic forgiveness. And I really recommend that. I recommend the book. But that chart from the book, if you're thinking that's still a little confusing to me, I think it's incredibly helpful.

Jocelyn: Incredibly helpful. Yeah.

Janet: One of the things he says in there, biblical forgiveness is possible if someone is repentant. And that was in the definition.

Jocelyn: I really appreciate that the point of repentance is brought up so frequently. Because I think that's one of the fallacies is that you just need to forgive whether someone is sorry or not.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Whether they're turning their face away and walking in the opposite direction. And that's not biblical.

Janet: No, it's not. But If they have not repented, I can stand ready to forgive. I do not need to be bitter. I can stand ready to forgive, but I cannot graciously pardon someone who hasn't acknowledged that they have sinned

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: And repented. But in therapeutic forgiveness, it's unconditional. The other person doesn't even have to know.

Jocelyn: They don't even have to acknowledge it.

Janet: No, they don't even have to know that you forgave them. This is truly for you. It's for self-interest and it has nothing to do with biblical restoration. The end of it is not a restored relationship. So I think it can be very confusing. But it's opposite.

Jocelyn: And unnecessarily and unbiblically, self-sacrificial. Like, oh, I'm just taking it for people. And that's not, that's not a biblical reflection of God.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: He's not just taking it for all these people cause he's going to save them all. He saves those who come to him through faith. And so it really does reflect a right theology, right understanding of salvation.

Janet: Right. Yes. And the result of biblical forgiveness really shines out his glory.

Jocelyn: So another question our listeners might have is how often do I forgive? And I really, I mentioned this already. I really appreciate that the scripture talks about repentant people. So we forgive as often as the one who has sinned against us repents. And you can do that over and over and over, just like we can sin over and over and over. We can forgive someone who is repentant over and over and over. God forgives us over and over.

Janet: Thank God for that.

Jocelyn: Yeah, because I need it all the time. Luke 17:4 says, and if he sins against you seven times a day and returns to you, seven times saying I repent, then forgive him. And in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, we see that the father who's representing God, he's waiting for his rebellious son to repent and come home. And when he did the father runs to him, he forgives him and that picture is just so beautiful. God's response to me when I turned from my sin at salvation was to embrace me in my repentance and absorb the cost through Jesus Christ. Now, the question is, how have I done since then?

Janet: Which was shocking to me to think about when I have studied or read the prodigal son, I have certainly seen myself as the one who was not interested in God and that the father graciously was there waiting and forgave me. Here's what I had not thought about before. What was day two like for the prodigal? Like after

Jocelyn: That is interesting

Janet: that happened. And then I was reading and Valley Of Vision, one of my favorite prayer books and he says this, and I was like, oh my word, that is so good. He says, I have no robe to bring, to cover my sins,-- which is the illusion to the prodigal that God covered him in a new robe,-- no loom to weave my own righteousness-- and listen to this. I'm always standing clothed in filthy garments and by grace am always receiving change of raiment. For you do always justify the ungodly. I'm always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying father, forgive me, and you're always bringing forth the best robe.

Jocelyn: Wow. That's amazing.

Janet: Yes. It's like, oh, my word is even better than this one time.

Jocelyn: than one time and done.

Janet: So how often? Well, how often does God forgive me? I know the gospel, like I know what it means to be forgiven by God. And yet every day I'm sinning, and every day he's putting on the robe when I run back. I love that. So how often? As often as people repent.

Jocelyn: As often as people repent.

Janet: Well, here's another question. So do I keep forgiving when the same person asks over and over, but there's no change.

Jocelyn: This is a really good question.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: I think one that each of us will struggle with. Yes.

Janet: And I cannot know what's going on inside of a person.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So there's wisdom here, but there was the part of the definition that we have continued to key on: those who repent.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So then the question really is what does it mean to repent? By the way we did a whole episode on that as well. You can look for that in our show notes, but what repenting is a turning and we talked about in that episode of first is a turning of our heart, which no one will see. God will know. No one will see. We turn from believing that sin is best to agreeing with God that God's way is best. Well, I can't see that. So I will believe the best, that they did turn when they tell me they have, until their behavior tells me otherwise. And here's what I don't mean. If they ever sin that way again, they must not have repented last time.

Jocelyn: Well, I kind of do the same sins over and over.

Janet: Me too.

Jocelyn: Even though I love Jesus.

Janet: So I'm like, so we can't say that. But if there's no change, you know, I like Proverbs 27:19. And I just picture someone looking over a creek and looking in the water. As water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person. In other words, when I look into the water, it reflects my face. When I look at a person over time, it's reflecting their heart. So while I can't see their heart, over time, I will see the fruit of repentance.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Absolutely.

Janet: So I'm always going to stand, ready to forgive. If someone is asking forgiveness over and over, and there is not any evidence of repentance. Not that they're not perfect, not that they ask forgiveness for yelling, and three weeks later they raise their voice again. That doesn't mean they didn't repent. But it is appropriate to question if there is no evidence.

Jocelyn: Over the long haul.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Over a period of time.

Janet: Yes. And that's a wisdom issue and it's hard to think clearly. So if you're in a situation like that, I really believe you need to talk to your pastor.

Jocelyn: I agree.

Janet: Because that means you're in a situation where you're wondering, is this person asking forgiveness, but not repenting over and over and over. We're now talking about the potential of church discipline.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: It's time for you to get some wisdom outside yourself. Because the goal is the good of the other person. If they're asking forgiveness over and over with no sign of repentance, it's not loving to not address that.

Jocelyn: No. It's not. Because they're deceiving themselves.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: So here's another question. What about when I can't forgive myself. The Bible actually doesn't even talk about this category, but I know it's super popular.

Janet: Oh, very popular.

Jocelyn: And especially like, if you go to therapy, they're going to say that your step to moving forward is to forgive yourself. So let's just think a little bit about what's going on behind that. And when some people are saying they can't forgive themselves, what specifically are they saying? And typically it's that they still feel guilty or they feel bad and they want to be free of those bad feelings.

Janet: Which is understandable.

Jocelyn: Right? Because who wants to live with yuck, unconfessed, unrepentant, guilt, you know. That takes us back to therapeutic forgiveness. And biblical forgiveness is about pardoning someone, absorbing the cost of their sin. For someone who is sinning against God's standard, not my standard. And so I can't be holding people to a standard that I wrote. This is about God's standards. So instead we really need to think through the real issue. How do I deal with real or perceived guilt? And are there answers for that? Why? So maybe there's a reason I'm feeling bad or guilty. I need to figure out if I've actually sinned against God's standards. Then I need to confess and repent of that. God has answers for that. And there's a lot of hope. It's not just about forgiving ourselves. And this is the key about it. I didn't sin against myself.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: If I sin, I'm sinning against God's standards. And so it's not my standard that is being violated.

Janet: I can't absorb my own sin.

Jocelyn: Right. So it's a very commonly asked question, but it is a very, very un-biblical question.

Janet: Right. I completely agree. And what we want to do is be sensitive to the fact that that's someone who's hurting and they're saying-- cause I hear this, I know God's forgiven me, but I can't forgive myself. Wow.

Jocelyn: Then they probably don't have an accurate understanding of what's God's forgiveness. That's the place to start.

Janet: Right. Well, okay. How about this one? What do I do when someone just really isn't repentant?

Jocelyn: That is so hard.

Janet: It is.

Jocelyn: That's a really hard place.

Janet: It is. And since we've said you can't forgive, and we don't see biblically therapeutic forgiveness is a thing. So do I just stew in bitterness? No, I do need to cultivate a forgiving spirit. This verse of Jesus, what he said when he was on the cross is just so impactful to me in Luke 23:34, Jesus says this, Father forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing. And they cast lots dividing up his garments among themselves. Can we just think about that for a minute? Like let's not be in a hurry to think about that. Picture that scene. God himself is shamefully naked on a cross, exposed for our sin and for our shame. And while he's there doing the only thing that's going to give hope to anybody that's watching. They're mocking him and they're going, why don't you come down?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: If you're really God, why don't you come down and we'll believe. I totally know what I would have done. I'd have been down in a heartbeat because I really, my fleshly pride cannot stand to be disrespected. I'd have been down in a heartbeat to show them my power. Well, what did Jesus do? Father forgive them. And here's what's interesting. I read about this once and it was like, yeah, cause it used to bother me, like how can you forgive these people?

Jocelyn: Yeah. Because they haven't even asked.

Janet: Haven't repented. Well, Jesus has the power to forgive. He didn't forgive them, but he's asking God to put them in a position to be forgiven. That's his heart toward them. He had a forgiving spirit. He could have just forgiven them, but he didn't.

Jocelyn: Because he had done that before.

Janet: Oh yeah.

Jocelyn: In the times that he was wondering about Galilee and Capernaum and stuff.

Janet: He said, your sins are forgiven. He could have done that, but here's what he says to the Father. Would you put those mockers in a position to be forgiven? They don't understand what they're doing, God. Well, how does that apply to us? Well, again, here's an opportunity for me to have the heart of Jesus. We can also be asking God, this person who has sinned and is not repentant, God, would you put them in a position that I would be able to forgive them because they're repentant.

Jocelyn: Because they come to me.

Janet: Yes. I'm asking you God, would you bring them to a point of true humility and repentance? Because I want them to experience forgiveness and cleansing. That's my heart for them. And I'm going to humbly go to them out of love for God, and because I love them and I'm going to help them try to help them see their sins. As I stand ready to forgive them.

Jocelyn: That conversation is not going to start, "I need to make sure that you understand how much you've hurt me."

Janet: Exactly.

Jocelyn: That's the opposite point of what you're trying to accomplish.

Janet: Yes. Cause it's about, I love you.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: And what you've done dishonors God.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: So I'm going to do that. If that other person refusing to repent. So I've gone and they don't repent. Then I am still begging God, bring them to that point. And I protect my heart from bitterness by cultivating Jesus's heart of a forgiving spirit toward them. But I will say this, if it's a brother in Christ and they are refusing to repent it may be necessary and appropriate, you're going to need to get others involved.

Jocelyn: And that is how you love them. Because if they claim to be a believer and they're not repentant when they sin against God, that's not how a believer functions.

Janet: Well, and God is clear in Matthew 18. We must go.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: That is how we love them. It's also how we protect the church.

Jocelyn: The sanctity of the church. Right. Purity.

Janet: And they go together. So if the person isn't willing to repent, it's time to bring in a leader from the church to help us resolve the situation in a way that honors God. And I'm so thankful that God's told us how to do that. He hasn't left us out there alone. And that there's a church structure to stand behind you and help you.

Jocelyn: Yes, absolutely. Another question is, I thought I forgave someone, but I keep remembering it and getting angry again. Oh, I've been there. Oh goodness. So, just because that's happening doesn't mean you didn't forgive,

Janet: That's right.

Jocelyn: Which is good news. Timothy Lane says forgiveness is both an event and a process. So every time I remember that offense, I'm actually in the process of continuing to forgive it. Because it's not like I can forget something.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: That's passive. I forgive you and will continue to forgive you. I'm not going to act on my sinful desire for revenge. So I forgive. And I keep striving to forgive. So it's not like a one and done kind of a deal. So don't get discouraged if you think like, oh, if I really meant it, I wouldn't be struggling with it, because you really did forgive. And now you're in the process of continuing to forgive each time you remember. and just like we said earlier, if my goal is therapeutic forgiveness, that's gonna really frustrate me because it's still hard. Like,

Janet: And the whole goal was to make it easier for

Jocelyn: me. Right to make it quit hurting. So if my goal is biblical forgiveness, I will honor God by choosing to forgive once again. Because it's not like God can forget either. Like he just chooses to not remember our sins against us.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: So we're still mirroring him when we remember the event we're choosing to continue to forgive.

Janet: And the battle may rage,

Jocelyn: It might.

Janet: Every time.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Yeah. Yeah. So, and then how about this one? Do I have to forgive right away? Is it really a big deal if I just choose not to.

Jocelyn: If I need to think about it for awhile.

Janet: And maybe I say no in the end. So the answers to both of those, let's just say this. Yes. Mark 11:25 says this whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone so that your father who's in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. Well that's pretty serious.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: In this passage, we see that when we're praying, and I'm reminded of a way that I was sinned against, I should deal with it immediately. If I've already forgiven them, as Jocelyn just went over, then I will continue to strive to forgive. And I won't act on my sinful desire for revenge. I will say no, I forgave that and I will continue to forgive that. If they haven't asked for forgiveness, we'll go back to the other one. I will stand ready to forgive. I will pray for them to be in a position to be forgiven. We also see in this passage that if we're unwilling to forgive, we're not going to be forgiven until we repent of that unwillingness to forgive, because that is sinful.

Jocelyn: We're not willing to forgive somebody else's sin. So we sin in the process.

Janet: Isn't that crazy?

Jocelyn: So deceptive.

Janet: Yes. Earlier we were talking about the parable, the prodigal son. Do you remember who didn't forgive in that parable?

Jocelyn: Yeah. The older son?

Janet: Yeah. He hadn't left in rebellion. He had never disobeyed his father. Which I just have to say, why do I think that's partial amnesia?

Jocelyn: I'm thinking that's not totally accurate.

Janet: He believed he deserved more than his sinful brother and in the end, his refusal to forgive meant he missed out on being forgiven by his father and joining the party. His father was offering, come on in. His self-righteousness kept him from a relationship with his father. So it's a serious thing when I refuse to forgive someone else. It's not because God says, that's the one sin that will-- It's, you're living in a state of sin right now. When you repent of that sin, then I'll be able to draw close to the father again. Which is different from saying, I'm so overwhelmed by that. God help me. That's a different heart than saying, I will not forgive.

Jocelyn: And absolute refusal.

Janet: Yeah. Yeah. Lane states, which was so interesting, that those who don't forgive, have now moved from being the victims to victimizers.

Jocelyn: That's painful. Ooh.

Janet: Now they want to get back at the one who sinned against them. Now they're going to be compelled to gossip and slander. Now they sinfully rehearse the conversation in their head. Now they've become the one who is sinning.

Jocelyn: Who is sinning. That's like Ephesians 4:31. It's reminding me of that. Like, if you don't get rid of bitterness, it provokes all these other sins: wrath, anger, clamor, slander, malice.

Janet: So an unwillingness to forgive is a serious thing.

Jocelyn: Yeah. So what about the statement forgive and forget? Because you know, like the more I try to forget something, the more I remember it.

Janet: Oh, it's like, don't think about your toe.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: What am I thinking about ?

Jocelyn: All you can think about. So Psalm 103:12 says as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. And Hebrews 8:12 says, for I will forgive their wrongdoing and I will never again remember their sins. And like, does that mean he literally doesn't remember? No. He's omniscient. He can't forget anything. He remembers and knows all that there is. He's promising to not hold it against us and he's going to honor his covenant promises. Not on the basis of our sin, but on the basis of Jesus's righteousness, God knows everything. He's omniscient. If I commit the same sin over and over, he doesn't think it's the first time, like I do.

Janet: I didn't remember any more that you did that.

Jocelyn: Oh, I'm so shocked that I did a sin. He knows when there's a pattern of sin in my life. So it clearly doesn't mean that God forgets. And I'm not commanded to forget myself. I'm commanded to not dwell on it, which is a big difference. We have to remember that forgetting is passive. Like, I don't remember

Janet: It just happens.

Jocelyn: I don't remember what we had for supper on last Thursday. It was a non-eventful night. I just forgot.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Forgiveness is a active decision to choose to not dwell on someone's sin against me in a way that sinful. And if someone repeats that same sin daily, it isn't wrong for me to eventually make them aware of that pattern, even. To ask some good questions. Because maybe it's a blind spot for them. Maybe they're not aware. Even if they've asked forgiveness before, they can't say, I ask you to forgive me. You said you would, you are not allowed to remember.

Janet: That's right.

Jocelyn: Because you know, maybe. I am able to see that this is more of a pattern than they realized. And that's part of me loving them in saying, Hey, we love God. We love purity. And so let's work on this issue together.

Janet: And I think it's important that you clarified that. Because when we say we don't bring it up again, that's true. If every time you and I get in a conversation, I go, yeah, well you mean you slandered me or whatever.

Jocelyn: Remember that time?

Janet: Yeah. That's not very kind. But, I know in marriage counseling, I will even hear that, where a wife will say, well, here's why this is difficult for me because of this happening in the past. Hey, you forgave me. We're not supposed to talk about that.

Jocelyn: That's past and done.

Janet: No, no, no, no, no. That is not what that means.

Jocelyn: Especially if it's a besetting sin. Like we have to be teammates working on that because that's what-- well, as a wife, that's one reason God gave my husband his wife, is so that I can ezer him. Like I can help him.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And that might include talking about besetting sins that I have forgiven in that situation multiple times, but it's still the pattern that we're working on together.

Janet: And we don't have to pretend like I don't know what to pattern cause I forgot.

Jocelyn: Exactly.

Janet: Yes. So it's the motive behind that. It's not to their harm and I don't dwell on it. Yeah. So we've already basically done some application along the way as we've talked about these questions, but, let's just think about this. What does it look like practically? So, as you're thinking about this topic, how much time do I spend thinking about God's forgiveness of me? Do I take time to remember I was dead? And he initiated. He did it all. He took the wrath. He absorbed it all and then he offered me forgiveness. He did it all. Jocelyn, let me just ask you just a few questions for you to think about.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: let's imagine, how could meditating on what I just said, how much you've been forgiven, how would that help you possibly when somebody is sinning against you and it just, quite frankly, doesn't seem fair that you have to absorb it all. Why do you have to make-- you're the one suffering and they're the one who sinned. Or how does it help me when I need to ask forgiveness, again? And I know I don't deserve it. Or when I know I need to ask forgiveness, okay. This one hits very close to home in my heart, but I'm concerned that if I do ask forgiveness, that other person, isn't going to see their need to handle their sin too.

Jocelyn: That is super unfair.

Janet: Totally. I'm glad you agree.

Jocelyn: Well, I have really struggled with this area in the past. Like if I could have a negative spiritual gift, it would be bitterness. Like

Janet: I've never heard of negative spiritual gifts, but I'm pretty sure I have a lot of them now. I can't wait to think about that.

Jocelyn: And you know what, maybe we'll do an episode on bitterness in the future because I've had to think about it a lot. and what's funny is there aren't many ways I can remember being sinned against that cost me a lot financially. Like no one has wrecked my car. I haven't gotten my limb cut off. No, one's killed my donkey when they were borrowing it. I haven't had a lot of financial issues, but there have been some times when I have either been sinned against or more like caught in the overflow of someone else's sin, and it really, really affected me emotionally. My tendency has been to be someone that allows bitterness to foster, like to grow. Really, because I want to hold on to that hurt. It's not like I like pain, but like I want to nurse that grudge because I want to remind myself about how that person didn't love me or cherish me as much as I obviously deserve. And in my situation, I think it's almost like self-preservation or self-protection. Don't forget. They've hurt you before. Don't trust them. There's not

Janet: This is how I protect myself in the future.

Jocelyn: Right. They're not likely to take good care of you. And so I think the first thing to remember in situations where someone sins against me and it doesn't seem fair, is to acknowledge it isn't fair. It isn't fair. This is not the way God designed the world to work. And this is not the way relationships flourish. Nothing about this is right or fair. It's perfectly fine to acknowledge that.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: Seeing the absolutely unfairness of sin helps me to hate it. Not only when other people sin against me, but it helps me to hate it because it's evil. And if I see that sin is really evil, I'm way less likely to be nonchalant about sinning against others. So it's maturing me when I get sinned against, I do remind myself this isn't fair and it's not right. And it helps me to hate the concept of sin because I remember how much it hurts.

Janet: Great idea. Yes.

Jocelyn: And I love you. I don't want to hurt you. you know, and often my bitterness, it's not anything about you. It's like, it's a me thing. It's protecting myself. It also really helps me to remember, like you mentioned that we forgive other people in order to reflect the forgiveness of God. I mean, it's totally, totally unfair that the king of the universe has a subject like me messing around with his righteous standard so much. It is right that the weight of someone that's sinned against me is expensive. But I'm saying that I'm willing to sin against God by refusing to absorb the cost of that hurt in response to someone else's sinning against me. And I mean, that's not even logical. I'm so mad that you sinned against me. So I'm going to sin against you by not forgiving you.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: It's just ridiculous. So it's, really helpful to remember, like, this is about the king of the universe, Jesus Christ, the savior, who forgave us and made it possible for us to give, forgive each other. And when I choose to not forgive someone, it's really just like, I'm now secondarily sinning against the primary sin.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: It's sin times sin. How could that possibly work?

Janet: What could go wrong?

Jocelyn: I know. It sounds like a great possibility. A third thing that helps me is to remember Psalm 51: 4 says this, against you, and you alone, have I sinned. I have done what is evil in your sight. And it really helps me to remember when I'm sinned against and that results in really me hurting. Ultimately the problem was that that person sinned against God.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: He's the most offended person in this situation. And what really happened is that I got caught up in the mess of that sin. So that sin, person A against God that sin had some overflow and it flowed all over me.

Janet: Even if they were directing it to you, that is theologically what was going on.

Jocelyn: Even if it was directed at me, it was ultimately them saying, I'm not going to function in your world your way. And so it helps me to not be so bitter inside of my own soul when I remember that person that they did hurt me. But what was the bigger issue is that they chose to sin against God. And I got splashed on in the overflow of that. This is about them and God, and I care about that. I don't' want them to be living in impurity. And then lastly, I've really been reflecting on Philippians 3:7 through 9 lately. And I used to count it really valuable to hold onto my hurt that was caused by someone sinning against me. And so I've just been seeing Philippians 3:7 through 9 with fresh eyes, because 3:6 says like Paul is saying like, look at all these amazing things that I could count as valuable. But I've been realizing like what I counted as valuable was being allowed to hold on to hurt. That's what was valuable to me and Philippians 3:7 through 9 says this, I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes. Everything is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. For his sake, I have discarded everything else. Even my bitterness, even what we would think is like, that's not a valuable thing.

Janet: My right.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Or my entitlement to be bitter

Jocelyn: counting it all garbage so I can gain Christ and become one with him. So God allowed this. He allowed it, this hard, hurtful thing in my life, because in some way, it's going to push me toward the one thing that actually matters in life, knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, and becoming one with him. They might've even done that for evil, but God meant it for the good of knowing and enjoying and loving him more. So it's really, practical. And I'm really speaking theology to myself a lot in the middle of willingness to forgive. Because what I naturally, I just desire to do. I'm bent toward holding onto hurt because I need to make sure I don't get hurt again in the future. But if I remember that truth, man, it just, it becomes way less about me.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: This is about God. This is about his standards. And when I choose to hold on to my hurt, I'm sinning in response to sin, which has no great resolution. And I'm what I'm giving up by holding onto that treasure. I'm giving up closeness with Jesus Christ that could have come by walking through that hurt the way that God wanted me to.

Janet: And the fact that you went through the hurt, you know, when you said I want to grow in my knowledge of Christ. Well, if I really want to know him better, how about, the scripture also says in that passage, joining him in the fellowship of his sufferings. So when we think about that, part of the suffering was absorbing our sin.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So when I absorb the sin of someone else,

Jocelyn: I'm sharing in his sufferings.

Janet: I'm sharing in his sufferings and I can appreciate him more. I will love him more. I will know. Sometimes I think we are uncomfortable making that comparison because it's certainly, his is gargantuan and ours is less than pea sized.

Jocelyn: But the scriptures talk about it.

Janet: But the scriptures do. And it's an opportunity for me to taste it and go, wow. Now I appreciate Jesus even more. I got the privilege of sharing in his suffering.

Jocelyn: I think biblical forgiveness. It acknowledges the expense of sin. Sin is expensive. It's weighty.

Janet: It does not minimize it.

Jocelyn: And I think that's one thing that is helpful for me is like, I'm afraid that if I forgive someone, they'll just be like, oh, not a big deal. Moving on with life.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Sin is expensive and hurts, and it's harmful. But biblically forgiving doesn't say there was no expense to it. It absorbs the expense.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And the expense is huge. No one is minimizing how great, how expansive and expensive sin actually is.

Janet: Excellent. So I know we didn't exhaust all the questions, but I hope we were able to address some of them. As we wrap up, let's just take a minute to pause again and please just be amazed at how we've been forgiven. I hope that will be our takeaway more than anything else. And as you meditate on the beauty of being forgiven, let that motivate you to the privilege of forgiving others in that way. Cause that's when you shine, that's when you shine God's values. One resource to help you meditate on that. You know, we talk about the Gospel Primer a lot. There are times when I just go to part two of the primer, which is the narrative gospel, spend time reading the gospel in more detail, reminding yourself, especially of God's heart toward you in forgiving you. You're not going to regret time spent that way. So while we've been saying through this whole episode, while forgiving is costly, it is such a blessing. God forgives us. And then he enables us with the help of his spirit to forgive others. And that is supernatural and shines brightly to a watching world. Well, thank you for being with us for this episode and for coming back. And I hope that you'll be with us for our next episode in the next couple of weeks.

To keep from missing any future episodes, please sign up for our newsletter on our webpage From there you can also subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Google, or Spotify. You can also visit us on our Facebook page or Instagram at Joyful Journey Podcast. If you have questions or comments for us, you can email us at Joyful Journey Podcast is a ministry of Faith Bible Seminary. All proceeds go to offset costs of this podcast and toward scholarships for women to receive their MABC through Faith Bible Seminary.

Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money for the seminary. If you want to look at what they offer or book them for a conference, go to their website.

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.