Level Three Forgiveness – unrealistic, offensive?

By Dave Henning / May 5, 2017

“For some of you, level three forgiveness will seem more than unrealistic- it will seem offensive.”- Kyle Idleman

“For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself.  He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth.”- Colossians 1:19-20 (NLT)

Kyle Idleman concludes Chapter 7 of Grace Is Greater as he describes level three forgiveness.

3.  Level Three Forgiveness– Kyle defines level three forgiveness as “a willingness to be reconciled with the person who hurt you (emphasis Kyle’s).”

However, Kyle readily acknowledges, this level of forgiveness isn’t always possible.  A variety of reasons account for this.  Yet, we’ve received this forgiveness from God through Jesus.  So, it’s a goal whenever possible.

Yes, it’s hard to achieve this third level of forgiveness.  For example, people mistakenly believe that you must “forgive and forget.”  Therefore, Pastor Idleman explains the error in that belief.  He writes:

“That’s [forgive and forget] not true.  You forgive and remember, and when you remember, you have to remind yourself, I forgive that (emphasis Kyle’s).”

In conclusion, Kyle stresses that reconciliation depends on both parties.  Hence, total reconciliation requires (1) forgiveness from the offended and (2) repentance from the offender.  Pastor Idleman clarifies that statement.  The person who hurt you may not:

  • repent to the degree you think he/she should
  • realize the extent of the damage caused
  • offer a level of repentance not matching the level of the offense

But, Kyle reminds us, our level of repentance fails to match the level of our offense against God.  The bottom line?  We free ourselves when we set other people free.

Today’s question: How painful do you find this third and final level of forgiveness?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Complaining- the rival of grace”

About the author

Dave Henning

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