14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, neither will your Father
forgive your sins.
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they
Forgiveness is not a choice, there are no options and it is a command, a command if not obeyed, will break our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Unforgivness can destroy individuals, families even churches. Anyone walking in unforgivness is not walking with God. In His Word God said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Why, because by our very nature we are made to want to communicate with others. This applies to all our relationships whether individually or corporately, in business, in our marriages, our families, among our friends, and the Body of Christ (Church) and most important our personal relationship with our God. When we are harboring unforgivness we are disconnecting ourselves from all of these we have just mentioned. When we recite the Lord’s Prayer we ask God without thinking to do something for us and if He honors this request many of us are in trouble. For we ask Him to forgive us in the same way or manner as we forgive others.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Most of us at one time or another has had things done to us or said about us that have troubled us or have hurt us emotionally. Some offenses are small and we try to push them out of our minds and forget about them. Other times they are huge or wholesale assaults that completely devastate us in one blow. Either way, the harm done is real to us and it affects our attitude towards the one who has committed the offense and also how we live our lives on a daily basis. It is at these times that we tend to disconnect ourselves from others because of personal offenses and the emotional pain caused by them. We then stand off at a distance, hurting on the inside, believing no one cares or understands. It is in times like this that Satan has a field day with our minds and we begin to think and imagine all kinds of things that will cause us to start building walls of isolation between all those that we were once close to. We need at this time to desperately reach out to God through His Holy Spirit and allow Him, the Comforter, to begin the healing process that only forgiveness can accomplish. We need to be reconnected to our Lord, and all those we love and to feel the newness of life that comes from this healing process in body and soul. The harm done becomes serious when we allow the hurts to turn into bitterness, hate, and an unforgiving spirit. Bitterness, hate, these are harsh words and we don’t like to think or admit that we harbor these kinds of things in our hearts. Hate means that we detest, loathe, or have malice towards someone. All of these attitudes are hidden in the sinful nature of man. The Bible warns us about the danger of hating others.
I John 3:15
Whoever hates his brother is the same as a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
It also tells us what we are to do when we realize these kinds of things have taken root in our hearts. The natural thing is to want to get back at the person who wronged us, our flesh cries out for revenge. You are caught up in the pain and bitterness brought on by holding a grudge against someone and the longer you hold onto that grudge the heavier it gets. There is only one way to free yourself from the grip that unforgivness has on you, it is found in two words, two words that are possibly the most powerful words you will ever utter, “ I Forgive.” Two words that will free the body, mind and spirit and only you can utter them. It requires great faith to truly do this and to entrust ourselves to God in the midst of personal assault. However, if we can do this, we will discover a level of grace that will come from this experience that we never thought possible. We will discover a freedom in God we have never known before. Whenever we suffer for righteousness sake without seeking to protect our reputation and our rights, we are placing our total faith in the one who can redeem us from this sin of unforgivness. This activates God’s grace in our lives and enables us to experience God’s presence as never before. Ask God to give you the grace to stay vertical with Him. Avoid the temptation of responding horizontally each time something comes into your life that you want to "fix" yourself. Entrust yourself to the one who judges justly and set the example for Forgiveness. It may be a divine appointment for your growth to reach another level in grace.
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil
speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving
one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
TO FORGIVE – WHY SO DIFFICULT?
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does
not do it, to him it is sin.
When we harbor unforgivness in our hearts we are literally shackling ourselves to the one who has hurt us. We are the losers and don’t realize it. To forgive is to let go of that weight which is dragging you down into the pit f sin. Once we forgive we are no longer emotionally tied or shackled to that person who has hurt us. Forgiveness frees us from someone else’s nightmare and allows us to live in a state of Grace. Look at it this way; every time we obey God’s Word and forgive, we are defeating the plans of Satan to defeat us and destroy our relationship with the Father. If this is true then why do so many people carry around so much resentment and unforgivness? Let’s explore two of the most obvious reasons people use as excuses for why they do not forgive.
1] Not forgiving seems to make up for the powerlessness that is felt when we experience
the hurt and betrayal from being wronged. Some people feel more in charge when they
are filled with anger and they don’t want to let this feeling go. They do not realize that
this spirit comes from Satan not from God and they do not realize that forgiveness
imparts in them a much greater sense of power. Shackles are broken, fellowship is
restored, both with the one who caused the problem and more importantly, with our
Heavenly Father. It really doesn’t matter whether or not that person deserves to be
forgiven; you deserve to be free. God’s way is without a doubt the best and only way.
26 Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the
sun go down on your wrath,
27 nor give place to the devil.
2] Another reason for withholding forgiveness is that it feeds the carnal mind that tells us
that the fault is theirs not ours and we do not have to give in. Some think forgiving
means admitting they are wrong and the other person who hurt them was in the
right.But they need to understand that forgiveness isn’t about letting the other person
off the hook, it’s about letting the ever present Holy Spirit pull the hook out of our own
heart. It is to allow Him to break the shackles of unforgivenes that bind us to them.
Forgiveness can free;
— The betrayed wife who remains bitter towards her former unfaithful husband.
— The offended one from the chains unforgivness binds them with.
— That worker from the bitterness of being passed over for that promotion.
— From anger held by the one whose reputation has been ruined by lies and gossip.
— The rejection felt by the one left out of fellowship because of the “closed circles.”
— The son or daughter who feels their parents favors the other over them.
We need at this point to remember some thing our Lord has told us we must do, make no mistake it is always hard to do, but we have no choice. He didn’t give us any alternatives. Forgiveness is not selective. In other words, it is not for us to forgive some and not forgive others. We cannot choose to forgive one person and not forgive another. Jesus said, "You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven."
When you forgive, you will experience joy for when you forgive someone, you set a prisoner free: yourself. Unforgivness tears you up inside. And ironically, the person you are harboring those feelings toward probably is oblivious to it and loses no sleep over it. Forgiveness is surrendering your right to hurt someone for hurting you. One final benefit to forgiveness is that it is actually good for your health. Studies have shown that scientists have been able to quantify the power of forgiveness in a number of areas, including the reduction of heart disease and extending the lives of cancer patients. The reduction of stress is another reason for longer life. It sounds like science is catching up with the Bible, because God has told us this all along to forgive as He forgives. Jesus forgave as He looked down on those who had nailed him to the cross, and we should strive to do the same
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless
those who curse you, do good to those who
hate you, and pray for those who spitefully
use you and persecute you,
WHO IS THE LOSER FOR UNFORGIVENESS?
That question is answered over and over as we open the Scriptures and read what Jesus has said. Only the blind cannot see it and the deaf hear it, the spiritually blind and deaf. Satan will do anything to keep you from knowing the truth about Forgiveness.
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes
they have closed, lest they should see with their
eyes and hear with their ears, an they should
understand with their hearts and turn, so that
I should heal them.’
There are so many other reasons people can come up with for not forgiving, I’m sure all of us would have no problem thinking of some. One of the very sad things about a person who will not forgive is that they fail to realize that the other person so often isn’t even aware of their misery. While you are turning yourself inside out with bitterness, the one who hurt you doesn’t feel a thing and looses no sleep over it. In the meantime, your relationship with your Heavenly Father is broken and that is tragic. So the loser is always the one who will not forgive.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving
one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
That is what we are supposed to do, and if we don’t then this will happen.
33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow
servant just as I had on you?’
34 In anger his master turned him over to the
jailers to be tortured, until he should pay
back all he owed.
35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of
you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
Remember, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” The act of forgiving may be more than any of us can manage on our own. We have only one way to turn, only one place to go. We must turn to God for help; He through His ever present Holy Spirit will strengthen us and guide us. It is through Him that we find the Grace to truly forgive. Remember, when we are bitter, spiteful, unforgiving, full of malice, these are tools of Satan not of God. We must get rid of those attitudes, they only tear down and destroy and prevent us from hearing God.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil
speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
1 Corinthians 14:20
Brethren, do not be children in understanding;
however, in malice (bitterness, hate) be babes,
but in understanding be mature.
We know who the loser is every time we don’t forgive and we don’t have to be a loser!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
HAVE WE TRULY FORGIVEN?
23 "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there remember that your brother has
something against you,
24 "leave your gift there before the altar, and go
your way. First be reconciled to your brother
and then come and offer your gift.
Forgiving One Another
There are ways we can test ourselves to see if our hurts have developed into deeper resentments. There are warning signs we must pay attention to, attitudes and actions on our part that are constantly flaring up. These attitudes and actions if they exist are all part of unforgiveness and they must be faced up to and rooted out.
— Is there a painful memory that you can’t get out of your mind?
— Is there someone you can’t say a kind word to or about, a loved one you can’t talk to?
— Is there someone who always makes you feel uncomfortable when they are around?
— Is there someone you can’t feel any love for.
— Do you ever want to make someone, “ Get what’s coming to them?” “Get even?”
— Do you ever want to see someone hurt or humiliated in the same way you were?
These are just some of the warning signs we must pay attention to, signs that tell us we may not have truly forgiven. With every wrong done to us, every deceitful act, every mistreatment, there are two options for us to choose from. We can forgive completely and let the Lord handle the situation, or we can refuse to forgive and try to put it behind us and forget about it.
The second option never works. We humans never forget. We know how to hold a grudge, we are experts at it. Someone does us wrong; they owe us some thing for what they did. We like to keep them on the hook and we like to twist it once and a while so they won’t forget. This seems to gratify us more than forgiving and letting them off. Sound familiar?
When we have feelings like this we know there has been no forgiveness. There is a grave danger here, one we must recognize. Hurt turns into bitterness when unforgiveness is not dealt with properly and quickly. You can’t ignore it and hope that it will just go away, it wont. It will eat at your inner man like a cancer until it destroys you. When you confess your weakness in this area and turn to God for help, you will find He was there all the time just waiting for you to reach out to Him. Through His Holy Spirit we can and do conquer this spirit of unforgiveness.
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.
For we do not know what we should pray for as we
ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession
for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.
HOW OFTEN DO I HAVE TO FORGIVE?
Can someone hurt you or betray you too many times to be forgiven. Doesn’t there come a time when we have a right to say, “Enough is enough.” In the natural, as human beings, we do feel that there is a place we reach where we just say that’s it, I’ve had it. A man in the Bible named Peter struggled with this same thing. He wanted to know how many times he had to forgive someone who had sinned against him, who had offended him. He thought seven times was more than generous. What a surprise he got when Jesus answered him and then told him the story of the unforgiving servant. Jesus said to him;
"I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Our feelings and emotions are complex and they must be handled according to the truths of God’s word. For without doing this, restoration cannot take place.
13 Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another,
if anyone has a complaint against another; even as
Christ forgave you, so you also must forgive.
14 But above all these things put on love, which is the
bond of perfection.
You have probably heard someone say, “You don’t understand, you have no idea of what they have done to me, I can never forgive them.” When they say this they are right. In our own strength and power we can’t forgive some things, nor release others for what they have done. But thank God we do not have to rely on our own strength or ability to do this. With God there is always a way and He will give us all the help we need to accomplish what He has told us to do. Through His Son and with the Holy Spirit working within us we can truly forgive those who have hurt us on the basis of what Jesus did for us on the Cross.
To let go is not to deny – - but to accept.
To let go is not to forget the past – - but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less – - and to love more.
He gives power to the weak, and to those
who have no might He increases strength.
It is through the one who was without sin and died a cruel death on a cross in our place by taking all our sins upon Himself and forever satisfied the eternal debt we owed to God. It is through His Grace that we find the strength to forgive anyone, for anything, for all time.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the
power of His might 1 Peter 2:2
When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not
retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats
Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.
We see the ultimate example of forgiveness demonstrated by the Son Of God who was betrayed, deserted, falsely accused and condemned to death on a cross. Held to the cross by nails in His hands and feet, suffering, bleeding and dying, in agony He looked down from that cross on those who had put Him there, not with hatred, but with compassion for them, Jesus could have done one of two things in response. He could have used His divine power to destroy those people. He could have responded "horizontally." He could have fixed the problem right then and there. However, He chose to respond in a different way, He chose to respond “vertically”. He chose to "entrust Himself to Him who judges justly." He was able to say; “Father, forgive them." We must not look upon God’s Forgiveness of our sins as though it was something He had to do for it cost Him a very high price. It was the agony of seeing His Son hanging on that cruel cross. It was nothing short of a divine miracle of His marvelous Grace brought about by the Atonement that we can now know His Devine Forgiveness. God’s Forgiveness is only natural within His supernatural Kingdom.
Have you ever been wrongfully accused and the need to defend and justify yourself becomes so great. "What will people think if they believe these things are true?" we reason. Try to imagine what Jesus thought as they hurled insults and threats upon Him. He the God of the universe had visited planet earth only to be slandered and accused of blasphemy and nailed to a cruel cross.
PLUS SIDE OF FORGIVING
7 Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
8 He who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit
reap everlasting life.
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good for in
due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
When we forgive others, especially those of who are of the household of faith, certain things will happen, there will be blessings we for us that we didn’t expect. The blessings will transform our attitudes, our outlook on life and our spiritual health, all this will happen to those who sow the seeds of forgiveness. The following are just a few of these blessings;
—- Memories of past hurts will gradually disappear and be forgotten.
—- The times that any of those memories may creep back into your mind
you will find no there is
No bitterness accompanying them.
—- The weight and guilt that is in unforgiveness is removed and your spirit is
—- The heavy load you were carrying will be lifted from your shoulders.
—- You are freed from Satan’s condemnation; it is replaced with the Peace
that passes all understanding.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
When we truly forgive we demonstrate the reality of what Jesus has done in our lives. But most importantly, we point others to the ultimate source of Forgiveness and Grace. Our willingness to forgive shows a depth of maturity and humbleness which pleases God and also glorifies Him.
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God
resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
It is said that, “Time heals all wounds,” that is not true. In fact, time can actually cause old wounds when not attended to, to become infected and spread to the healthy emotional tissues. The poison that results from an unforgiving spirit affects the whole person and those around them. Anyone with an angry or bitter spirit is trapped in their own bitterness. Tension, anxiety, and guilt keep building up on the inside and are often displayed by the sudden outbursts of frustration, anger, or criticism pointed at family and friends.
Unforgiveness not dealt with can even cause enough emotional strain to make the body break down physically. It is at times like this that only a physician, a specialist, can help us and we know of just such a one, His name is Jesus. He can give us the strength and the grace to be able to forgive anyone, for anything, at any time. We do not need to hold on to any offense, or to carry any grudge and not forgive our brother or our enemy. Giving up that grudge does not mean you are always weak: sometimes it means that you are simply strong enough to let go of it. Try to remember this: ‘The longer you carry a grudge the heavier it gets.’ Just let it go; get over it for in Christ we can be free, no, in Christ we are free. Just LET IT GO!!!
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed
“THIS IS GOD’S WAY”
When we have a forgiving spirit we will see significant things happening in our lives, this will be the result of God moving in us through His Holy Spirit. He is more interested in our lives than we or anyone else could possibly be. Let the Spirit of God bring you to this place, into this personal relationship to where you can see for yourself when the hand of God is moving in your life. One of the characteristics of a believer that please God the most is humility. We are told in the Bible that we are to serve the Lord with all humility. When we are wronged by someone our reactions should be more important to you than the reactions of the one committing the offense. Humility and forgiveness are unattractive to our fleshly natures yet they are indispensable if we want to truly please the Lord. These two characteristics when displayed in our spirits will get Gods attention. It would be good to remember that forgiveness and humility do please God but our pride offends Him. Your reactions if negative can and will harm you; the reactions of the one who offended you cannot harm you unless you let them. Remember, what we are will determine what we do and the action we take puts a plus or minus to it. So be humble enough to forgive and forget and in the process glorify God.
2 Corinthians 12:9
And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for
My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore
most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that
the power of Christ may rest upon me.
When the person with the greatest reasons not to forgive His enemies, the one who paid the supreme price by sacrificing His life for the sins of the world can forgive, how can we who say we are His followers refuse to do the same? He suffered the shame, the rejection, and the pain for the joy that was set before Him. He embraced and endured all of that for us, can we do less? Our forgiveness of others is to be given just as free and unlimited, with no conditions attached, as His was and still is for us. Jesus has given us the means to do this and it is with us every day of our lives in the person of the Holy Spirit. He abides with us and in us and when we let Him He gives us the power and grace to forgive – to truly forgive and when we do we are truly set free.
FORGIVENESS IS NOT A FEELING – IT IS A DECISION.
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever
a man sows, that he will also reap.
8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption,
but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness.and patience.
13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances
you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them
all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members
of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
‘FORGIVE OTHERS EVEN AS THE LORD FORGAVE YOU’