Christians, recently I heard a message on forgiveness. As Christians we know that forgiveness is the basis of our relationship with God, and we have all been on the receiving end of the AMAZING forgiveness of God. So when we interact with other people, why do we find it so difficult to extend the same forgiveness to others around us? I pray that as I share what God has shown me, you take a few moments to examine your personal relationships and see if there is anywhere you need to extend some of the same forgiveness you have received.
I have heard many messages on forgiveness and I know the basics, but I really felt impressed to share a few things that Jesus specifically said about forgiveness that were pretty serious. First of all we have all read the portion of scripture about a man who had all his debts forgiven but then he went out and withheld the same forgiveness to someone who owed him. He was brought back before the King and the initial decision to forgive the debts was overridden and that man was tortured until He could repay the entire amount (which would take forever). The reason I bring this up, is because JESUS said this, and it is serious and this “parable” was followed up by a statement plain as day, “This is how my father will deal with anyone who does not forgive.”
Any Christian who thinks FORGIVENESS is OPTIONAL is WRONG. We are commanded to forgive those who wrong us. We have been released of our ‘Sin Debt’ and we must release others in the same manner. We always look to Jesus as our SAVIOR, which is great, but we must also look to Him as LORD. He is in command of us, He tells us to do something, we must do it or face the consequences of disobedience. I don’t say this to scare or shock you, but to inform you that Jesus said this, not me. Lastly, and most importantly, let me make this extremely clear: when you FORGIVE someone, it does not mean you agree with what they did, or you are admitting what they did was ok to do or allowed. You are simply releasing them from YOUR right to hold them accountable.
Jesus, while ON THE CROSS, forgave the very people crucifying Him, then, He asked God to forgive them as well. He is our example. He was not validating what they did, but He wanted them to be forgiven, and He wants us to extend that same mind boggling grace to others. GRACE = Getting what you DO NOT deserve. Often people don’t deserve to be forgiven, I sure didn’t, we deserved punishment, we deserved torture, we deserved eternal separation from God…but Jesus paid the price, such a high price, so that we COULD be forgiven. It is now our responsibility to extend that to others.
Who has wronged you? I am sure someone jumps to mind. You could probably tell me what they did, when they did it, how it affected you, how it still affects you, and what it would take for you to forgive them (an apology, penance, retribution, restitution, eye for an eye?) If you say, I have forgiven them, but you could conjure up feelings, emotions, frustrations, accountability I would challenge that you may NOT have forgiven them. Some of these things could be atrocities that you could feel don’t deserve forgiveness, but I ask you, would you want God to look at YOU and say “this” or “that” sin, I cannot forgive…NO! We want anything and everything we have done to be forgiven, so we must extend the same to others. Bottom line, no one is perfect.
The biggest offenses are the HARDEST to forgive, but let’s work on that right now: Father God, we come before you, we humble ourselves and look at our own mistakes, our own shortcomings, and Your Grace for us. Jesus, every mistake we have made, every sin ever committed, every thought, act, deed that would earn us eternal separation from you, you extended forgiveness while bleeding and dying on that cross for us. You loved us, despite the fact we put you there. Your desire for reconciliation was far greater than a desire for revenge. Help me now to FEEL that amazing weight you lifted off of me, that I might in turn lift that weight and burden off of another right now. I pray that you would help me to remove any right, or claim I have to hold this person accountable in Jesus name. I release them Father, and I pray that You would forgive them as well, for they do not know how deeply they hurt me. They have no idea how long I have carried this, they have no idea the pain inflicted, and I truly do not want them to feel wrath for what they have done. I pray that although this does not validate their actions, it does release me from accountability. I wipe the slate clean. Thank you Father for coming and making a way for me, and I make a way for another, to show that you are not just my Savior, but you are my Lord and I obey what you say to do. I pray this in the powerful, restorative, redeeming, renewing, resurrecting name of Jesus, Amen.
The Story of the Unforgiving Servant: Read Matthew 18:21-35 – Conclusion: “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” Matthew 18:35 (NLT)
But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15 (NLT)
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37 (NLT)
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Luke 23:34 (NLT)
Next Time, Clean Slate Pt. 2
written and posted by Daniel Poggensee | 2018