As I promised, I am back with another post on the subject of forgiveness. Today I want to touch on the “when and why” of this thing called forgiveness. It is a touchy subject..I know. It is a must though if we call ourselves believers.
Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV) ~ Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Read that verse above again, Jesus was talking…let it soak in.
Luke 17:3-4 (NKJV) ~ Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, “I repent,” you shall forgive him.
That was Jesus talking y’all! Sound easy? Sound fun? Sound painless? NO…but it is necessary. Rebuke is also another way of saying “correct”or “reprimand sharply”. Just to be clear, the scriptures also say to do it in a spirit of love. We need to forgive even when we don’t want to….especially when the offender repents. God forgives you and me when we truly repent, therefore I must forgive others when they truly repent.
Here’s the thing though..you can forgive even if the person that hurt you or hurt your feelings hasn’t apologized! WHAT??? Yes…it is a choice. It is about letting go. The things that make up “unforgiveness” will eat you alive and rob you of time and energy. Satan loves it…it grieves God though.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV) ~ Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
So the why of forgiveness is basically because HE said so. 🙂 Well and because if God chooses to forgive you and me, then we must forgive others. Another way to look at it: Nobody is perfect..we all make mistakes..if God forgives me (and forgets by the way 🙂 ) then who are we to judge who is worthy of forgiveness?! That would make us GOD. There is only one God…and like I said before, it isn’t you or me. 🙂 Thank goodness..because I know that I would make a mess of things.
Still, another reason why is this…in Matthew 6:14-15 it clearly says: For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Unforgiveness causes broken fellowship between you/me and God (Heavenly Father). To me that means that I cannot really be walking as close with God as I desire when I harbor bitterness or resentment or an unforgiving spirit. It makes my Savior sad..and it is a terrible way to live. Makes you miserable too.
Forgiveness is just a fact of life. Everybody is going to have to forgive somebody sometime. We all have or will let somebody down during our lifetime..nobody is perfect. Therefore, we all will need to extend forgiveness to someone during our lifetime..and we all will need to ask for forgiveness at some point in our life. Nobody is exempt..because nobody is perfect..only Jesus is!
I challenge you to search your soul and see if you need to let something go..and forgive somebody. I also challenge you to look deep within and see if you need to ask for forgiveness from anybody. It really does make you feel closer to God and it gives you an amazing sense of peace. Remember what I said though, you can forgive somebody even if they haven’t apologized to you. It is your choice to hold onto or release the bitterness. A possibility that comes with forgiveness in human relationships is reconciliation. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it is awesome.
Matthew 5 :43-45 ~ “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 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, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Wondering where LOVE comes into the picture in the title of this post? Forgiveness and Love go hand in hand. You forgive because God loves you enough to forgive you..even though none of us deserve it either. Salvation (the forgiveness of our sins through the death of Jesus on the cross) is the ultimate gift. (See Romans 6:23)
You forgive because it pleases your Heavenly Father..because God is LOVE. Where is the love in not forgiving? Where is the peace? There is none. When I have been bitter and unforgiving, I find that I have been self-centered..not GOD-centered. I want to be GOD-centered.
I realize this post was longer than usual..that’s just how it had to be though. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read it..I hope you were blessed! Get your Bible out and read these scriptures..don’t take my word for it..take God’s word for it.
UNTIL NEXT TIME! 🙂