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6 Hebrew and Greek Definitions of Forgiveness
by Tai Ikomi
9/22/2015 / Christian Living
Nasa in Hebrew means to lift up, implying the idea of something being carried away. God chose this word to describe how He forgives our sin. He lifts it up and carries it out of His sight. He puts our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west.
As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us (Psalms 103:12).
Similarly, when we forgive our neighbor, we imitate God by doing what He does. We are to lift up the offense and remove it from the offender. Perhaps three days ago, the one who offended us was in our good books, until the moment we found out she had gossiped about us. This transgression taints our image of her, and for the moment we can only see her through that negative lens. However, when we forgive her, that soiled image becomes clean again simply because we have lifted up her sins and taken them away from her. If we still regard our offenders in a negative light, it simply means we still have not forgiven them.
Kapher, which means covering, is translated as forgive and sometimes atonement, which simply means to be at one. When broken up into syllables, atonement becomes at-one-ment. With our sins so prominently surrounding us, man could not be at one with God. However, merely covering the sins would not reconcile man with God. Reconciliation is made possible by the blood of Jesus.
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).
Some of us have vowed that the offense our offender committed has separated us from them forever. We might have even said that we will take their offense to the grave. However, when we forgive, reconciliation becomes not only possible but also probable, because we have covered their sins.
Afiemi insinuates a powerful sense of letting go or sending away. When God forgives us, He no longer holds our sins against us. He no longer leaves us in a prison of His anger. This is the word Jesus used to describe the act of forgiving the unforgiving servant.
Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt (Matthew 18:27).
Jesus now guides us to forgive according to the definition of this same word. He tells us to release our offender. (Mark 11:25). We release our offender from the prison created by our anger, blame, and resentment. We let them go.
The second word in Greek, charizomai, means to be gracious or to show favor. This is the word the Bible uses to describe God's forgiveness of our sins in the following verse:
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all of your trespasses (Colossians 2:13)
When we too forgive, we can do so only on the grounds of mercy and grace. (Ephesians 4:32). Without the presence of mercy, forgiveness becomes impossible. When we are offended, every nerve in us wants retaliation. It is mercy that tempers our desire for vengeance and allows us to humanely forgive.
Another word for forgiveness is the cancelation of our debt, which is translated as opheilema. Forgiveness is therefore the cancellation of whatever debt might be owed to us.
God's forgiveness of our sins
When we sin against God, we owe Him, for we have sinned against His word. We have damaged our relationship with Him and with others. Payment must be made.
However, listen to what God does when He forgives us. All the multitude of our sins, iniquities, failures, shortcomings, and transgressions are cancelled when we trust in the blood of Jesus Christ. They are never to be counted against us again. This is definitely a cause for rejoicing.
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
Similarly, when we forgive our offender, we are cancelling their debts; they no longer owe us. For example, we no longer consider the debt they owe us for lying about us. We drop the charge. We no longer charge them for not helping us in time of our need. We drop the charge.
Jesus also used this word in His model prayer. He told us to ask God to discharge our debt to the same extent that we discharge those of our offenders.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors
Aphesis means to remit or to satisfy a requirement of the law to compensate for an offense. This is the word Jesus used to describe the fact that His blood would satisfy the requirement of God's law in order for our sins to be forgiven.
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28).
The blood of Jesus has atoned for our sins. What joy we should feel! We must remember that we too have been called to forgive. If God is ready to forgive by the grace of the blood of Jesus, then we too should be ready to forgive all sins committed against us (Ephesians 5:1).
Dr. Tai Ikomi lost her husband and 3 children to a drunk driver in Missouri. She preaches and conducts seminars on forgiveness as the ground, not only of our own forgiveness but as a means of emotional and mental healing. She has authored over 34 books.
Dr. Tai Ikomi
Dr. Tai Ikomi is an author of over 30 books .and a conference speaker. She gives seminars on the Names of God and forgiveness after forgiving the drunk man who killed her entire family. She is the founder of Forgiveness Discipleship.
Dr. Tai Ikomi
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