I am a Christian with a question that is bothering me. We use the expression, “being absolved from our sins.” God does the absolving. So, when I forgive, am I absolving a person from their sins? If only God can forgive sins, then am I absolving the person from the injustice?

From the viewpoint of Christian theology, when God absolves sins, then those sins are basically forgotten, put aside, and a new relationship ensues between God and the one who sinned. People do not “absolve” when they forgive. That is God’s job. We, instead, offer goodness toward the one who acted unjustly. Our forgiving is like God’s, from a theological perspective, in that we have mercy on the other, we try to help the other, and we are interested in his or her well-being. We are not like God in our forgiveness in the one sense of not absolving the sin or literally forgetting it (instead, we tend to remember in new ways) or taking away any spiritual or natural consequence that results from the sin. And you are right: When we forgive, we are not forgiving sins, we are forgiving people for injustices against us.

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