I encourage you, God enables the offended to forgive.
When the ability to forgive eludes you, and unforgiveness has grown into a monster making it seem that there is no escaping the nightmare? In this matter of forgiveness, the human heart can be extremely deceptive, particularly when influenced by sin (Jer 17:9). However, God’s resources for enabling forgiveness, even during the severest of circumstances, are as trustworthy as His holy character. As always, access to His resources is by faith and founded upon Scripture.
First Principle Enabling You to Forgive
It’s essential to have received the Saviour’s forgiveness yourself. Have you been to Jesus for life changing and eternal cleansing? Can you clearly recall the occasion when you believed, falling broken before Holy God, confessing your total inability to satisfy His holy requirements? Do you remember confessing your sinfulness, admitting that Jesus Christ died on the Cross of Calvary in your place, suffering your penalty for sin? Did you surrender the ownership of your life unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ?
While most people willingly forgive inconsequential misdemeanours, it takes divine empowerment to deal with the crushing offenses. As those who have been forgiven by Christ; “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Christians forgive because they have been forgiven!
Second Principle Enabling You to Forgive
Invite the Holy Spirit to captivate you with the doctrine of propitiation! Realise that Christ “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). You see, failing to forgive others violates Christ’s appeasement of God’s wrath against your sin.
“In this is love… God sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”. Since we are the recipients of God’s peace, we are therefore to be ambassadors of His propitiation and peace.
“If we love one another (with propitious love), God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:10-12). To forgive others of offenses requires that we value the greatest truths which equip us for passing on divine forgiveness. Because God was appeased of our offense, we want our offenders to taste the sweetness of God’s peace through us because of Jesus Christ.
Third Principle Enabling You to Forgive
Ensure that Jesus Christ is Lord over every facet of your life. Surrender to God’s will in this matter of forgiveness is essential. Christ’s supremacy and sufficiency needs to dominate your motives. You will have to relinquish all rights to hold onto unforgiveness. Don’t believe the lie that says ‘you only forgive those who ask forgiveness.’ Forgiveness not only reflects our relationship with God, it’s also a matter of obedience.
Obedience Empowers You to Forgive
Jesus instructed His disciples; “whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). Jesus was not speaking of eternal forgiveness; rather, He was referring to daily relational forgiveness which impacts our Christian walk. Likewise He said; “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). Forgiveness remains a matter of obedience!
As believers, we are not entitled to assume God’s role as judge. We are however, entitled to replicate our Saviour’s obedient love by forgiving. We are to do as Christ did; “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).
I encourage you; “forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:13).
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz