Realizing the difference between Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness is important. There are times where we look at forgiveness and think that because we act differently that we have forgiven. However, sometimes that is just a lie that we tell ourselves that opens us up to a stronghold in our life.
There are times that we mistake mercy for forgiveness. We pretend that because we have not taken revenge or because the person has not received what they deserved that we have forgiven. We need to give mercy, but it is not forgiveness. Mercy is a covering, but that is not forgiveness. God’s mercy keeps us from the death and life separated from Him that we really deserve. We can cover someone’s mistake and not forgive them. In the Old Testament the lambs blood covered the people’s sin when it was sacrificed, but it could not forgive them.
Other times we mistake grace for forgiveness. We go about trying to “bless those who persecute us.” Again this is Biblical, but it is not forgiveness. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. God pours out his blessings on the just and the unjust. The unjust have not received forgiveness. We can bless people without forgiving.
Forgiveness releases people from their sin and wrong doing. Christ’s blood not only covered our sins, it opened the door for forgiveness. Sin is gone from God’s sight when He looks at us, to be remembered no more. We can have mercy and grace but not forgiveness in our heart. However where there is forgiveness there will be mercy and grace.