Hi folks I write again, as almost always, this is from the Word brought brilliantly to our Church by one of the youth members, which was his first time. The topic is on forgiveness. I know that this is very easy to talk about and just as hard to practice.
There are many reasons as to why we need to forgive, the three main ones are.
- Jesus teaches His people to forgive.
In Luke 6:37, Jesus teaches His people to forgive and be forgiven. Luke 6:27-30 even teaches to do good to those who wrong you.
- God is the judge not us.
Many times we take it upon ourselves to repay wrong with wrong, that is to take revenge. The world considers revenge to be something what is right but is not so in the eyes of Jesus. How could we say that God is good if he allows wrong to repay wrong. If we are to avenge the wrong done to us then that sends a signal to God saying “I can neither wait for your course of action nor do I feel that You will repay the wrong to the extent of the hurt caused”. That is something like when someone murders a person close to you; you take it upon yourself to take revenge because you feel that the police or government will do nothing. So you see taking your own course of action for revenge speaks very little about your faith in God & it speaks of even lesser faith for those who terrorize people in the name of their god. So we must remember that the God that truly exist as God, will judge & punish the guilty (Deuteronomy 32:35) & just as when we go into restaurants, we leave the cooking to the cook, in the same when we come to Jesus, we need to leave the judging to Jesus (John 9:39).
- To continue to live a blessed life.
I am sure you will understand that you can only enjoy and count your blessing if you stop counting the wrongs done unto you & brooding over them. I have not lived my full earthly life as yet but till now I have never come across anyone who is so good at multi-tasking that he is happy and sad at the same time. People who believe in Jesus cannot afford to be unforgiving because they are ambassadors of God in this world.
So here are the 3 very good reasons as to why we need to forgive but how do we go about it. The answer is love. The love that I am talking about is very different from what the world knows as love. You may read 1 Corinthians 13, to know the kind of love the Bible talks about. This is one thing I am unable to put in words. I feel infinitely further than couples who are unable express their love for each other in words. In John13: 34, Jesus gives us a new commandment, to love one another.
So why is Jesus making so much emphasis on love? How exactly does love work where forgiving is concerned? 1 Corinthians 13:5, stand out boldly saying that love keeps no records of wrongs. You may think very little against keeping records of the wrong done unto you. Many a times when someone would wrong me, I would say in my mind “I will remember this”. I have even heard many people say when they are angry & hurt “I will not forget this”. That is precisely what keeping records of wrongs is about. We do not remember the wrongs just to exercise our memory, we keep the records of the wrongs done so that we can pay the concerned people back the same way in good time & till that time comes to pass we will walk in His faith or live our lives with a pebble in our shoes. Wouldn’t you agree that marriages would be so much happier if husbands and wives did not keep records of the wrongs done by their partner? The only person who existed in the beginning, exist even now & will continue to exist forever, who ONLY can remember the wrongs done unto Him in order that his transgressors be forgiven, is Jesus & the reason He alone can do this is because He is God. The rules of science, nature & world do not apply to Him. When Jesus went to the cross, every cry of His from the torture, was a cry remembering that man needed to be saved from his sins. Jesus remembers his torture and death on the cross not to take revenge on man but to know that through faith in Him, man is saved.
According to the world, it is a good thing to forgive if the wrong doer sincerely apologizes for the wrong he has done. But for people who believe in Jesus, it is very important that we forgive even if the wrong doer is not at all sorry for what he has done. This is because as Luke 6:37 says it is not for us to judge and condemn even the wrongs that are done unto to us as mentioned in point 2.
If you have watched a few action movies, you will see how the bad guys attack or capture or kill the hero’s family or close friend & how the hero does some special training and returns the favour with generous interest. How good it is to see such instant action in just a 2 or 3 hour film. In real life that hero would be living with bitterness, with the hope of revenge. That bitterness will wear him out rather than driving him to achieve his goal over such a long period, God willing if the revenge worked out then our hero will find it hard to break the habit of living in bitterness and then he would not be a good guy or hero at all. That’s the movies for you, showing the world what they want to see because that is what they think is right.
Let us consider some stories in the Bible to show you God’s standard of forgiveness.
The prodigal (lost) son (Luke 15:11-32): There was a rich man with 2 sons. The younger one takes his share of wealth and squanders it & returns. The father not only accepts and forgives him but throws a big feast because of hi return. The elder son did not like this because even though he was a good son, his father did not throw him any feast. However his father explained that his son was lost but is now found. His love for his younger son helped him overlook what he did & forgive him.
The adulterous woman (John 8:1-11): An adulterous woman was brought to Jesus who was caught in the act of adultery. Now according to the Law, she was to be stoned to death but what does Jesus say? He says let he who has not sinned pick up the first stone. All the people throw their stones away and leave one by one. The only one then standing with the woman was Jesus. Allow me to quote some of it.
7 As they stood there asking him questions, he straightened himself up and said to them, “Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her.” 8 Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard this, they all left, one by one, the older ones first. Jesus was left alone, with the woman still standing there. 10 He straightened himself up and said to her, “Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she answered.
“Well, then,” Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again.”]
In the above scripture, the reason the only one who remained with the woman was Jesus is because he is without sin, he has always been & will forever be. He is God and being God, he forgave the woman & when he did not condemn her no one could, because whoever comes or are brought in their despair to Jesus, are relieved by His judgment.
When you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will respond.
“If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil word;
People, who have not accepted Jesus as their King, find it impossibly hard to forgive. Trying to forgive someone & rejecting the forgiveness of your sins by Jesus is like someone trying to lend money without having a steady income. To the world forgiveness is not harming that person in return & what goes along with this is that they will have nothing to do with that person, you know, the forgive and forget attitude which is a futile attempt to do away with the hurt feeling. Without Jesus, your attempt to forgive will hurt you and cause you even more grief when you see the wrong doer. With Jesus, you just need to take that first step of faith & not only forgive but accept that person with love (Luke 6:28). If that person rejects you then leave it to God while keeping him in prayer but if he accepts then leave to God’s Sovereign Spirit to take control of that situation. For starters forgiveness will hurt when you think about it because your conscience will try to talk you out of it. Jesus will make sure that the result is good & He will reward you for your faith in Him (Matthew 15:28). Jesus’ style of forgiveness is action oriented, to do with the heart, not just words (1 John 3:18). If you have trouble forgiving this way then pray (talk: talking to God is prayer) to Jesus, ask Him to send His Spirit upon you, so that you may have victory over all your hurt feeling. Jesus holds all authority over the past present and future & he will make changes in your life to help you be happy in due time even when you are in the company of the wrong doer, that is the power of my God.
Just one last thing, it is important that my God (Father Son & Spirit) being a God of love also pronounces judgment with punishment. All of creation are spiritual orphans. Just as man would call an orphan his son if that orphan were close to his own son, in the same way we are God’s children only if Jesus is King in our hearts. Just as a loving parent corrects but never severely punishes his son. In the same way God corrects his people, who are union with Him through His Son & for this same reason only we are saved, all because of Jesus.