Saturday, August 14, 2010

Forgiveness

Yesterday, I talked about the precious Blood of Jesus and what God has done in order to forgive us our sins.  Today I want to talk about our reaction to that.  I want to talk about how we, as Christians, should never hold grudges and remain angry.  We need to share that same grace with others that God has shown us.

What right do we have to hold onto anger for something that God has forgiven?  If God only requires we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, who are we to ask more from another?  The fact is that we have no right to hold a grudge lest we have our own grudges held against us by God.  Read this parable to learn about how God feels about us not forgiving others:
"Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 'Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses." Matthew 18:23-35 NKJV
Those are some hard verses.  Read the last sentence again "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."  It is not just an empty "I forgive you" and then going home and holding a grudge.  It is forgiveness from the heart.  That is what God requires of us.  That is also a sign of your salvation.  I believe that if you truly understand the price Jesus paid for you and the grace that was shown to you that forgiveness would be second nature.  I think this stern warning is to remind us to never take that grace for granted.  Yes it is a free gift, but that gift should affect changes in our lives.  A new heart created by God is one that will show the same grace to others that God has shown in us.  If you do not have that heart, then you need to repent of that anger and ask God to continue His work in you and create that grace inside you.  As a human and in the flesh, forgiveness from the heart is difficult but remember that God will never call us to do what He is not willing to empower us to do.  In fact, He wants us to rely on his strength.

Now what of our enemies? What if those who do not even ask for our forgiveness.  You may think that the verses I mentioned involved someone who asked for forgiveness.  What is someone does not care if you forgive him or not? What is someone simply wants to be your enemy?  The Bible is also clear on that. Here are a few verses on that:
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21 NKJV
"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. Luke 6:27-30  NKJV
To understand why we need to love our enemies and to pray for them and forgive them is easy.  Remember yesterday, remember how we learned that while we will still sinners, Christ died for us.  Jesus did not pay for our sins as a result of our confession and repentence, our confession and repenteance are a result of his sacrifice.  He died WHILE we were sinners.  He did not wait for us.  And with the same heart of Jesus, we need to treat one another and our enemies.

God has given us the most amazing gift of grace and it is a gift that if we truly understant and embrace it we will not be able to help but to share that gift with others.  A great rewards awaits us if we do.
"But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Luke 6:35 NKJV

1 comment:

  1. Forgiveness =freedom. We have no idea how damaging unforgiven is in our lives. It becomes a root of bitterness in our hearts. We are so blessed when we learn to forgive. thanks Ben!

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