In an episode of The Office, a comedic television series on life at a paper supply company, manager Michael Scott runs into some serious financial troubles. One of the accountants, Oscar, suggests that he declare bankruptcy. Michael takes Oscar's advice literally and marches out of his office and loudly says, "I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!" He returns to his office, satisfied that he has done what he needed to do.
A moment later, Oscar reappears in Michael's doorway. "Hey, I just wanted you to know that you can't just say the word 'bankruptcy' and expect anything to happen," he says, to which Michael responds, "I didn't say it, I declared it."
I wonder if sometimes we think of forgiveness like Michael thought of bankruptcy. We declare our forgiveness, thinking that by simply saying the words something has changed.
Forgiveness is so much more than words we say. Forgiveness means deciding to cancel a debt. Forgiveness means that we let go of what we think we deserve. Forgiveness means that we lay down the right to get even. Forgiveness means that we stop resurrecting the hurt years after the fact. It is not enough to declare forgiveness with our words. We must also declare forgiveness with our lives.
Jesus declared forgiveness by giving up His. How can we do less?