The metaphor we use to express why we forgive is a form of advertising. It promotes a certain way of seeing things which leads people to either accept or reject the ideas being communicated. With forgiveness, not only do we judge its relevance based upon this metaphor, we also happen to judge God's character along the way.

By using one-sided and once-only metaphors—like cancelling, pardoning, or letting go—to describe forgiveness, we suggest God doesn't care about how we've been mistreated.

This happens because acknowledgment of our emotional wounding and our need for healing is missing from the metaphors currently being used. God's focus is therefore placed upon us being merciful, rather than upon him our healing our hurt. He becomes a doctor who refuses to give us medical attention until we forgive the person who caused our wounds.

By shifting the metaphor we use to talk about forgiveness to untangling a knot we discover an image of forgiving that enables us to clearly communicate what Christians already believe—that God cares about the victimised. As we forgive we untangle ourselves from the knots of our mistreatment. You'll need to read Lament Forgive to find out how.

ForgivenessSteve Hall