The Choice of Forgiveness

September 22, 2016

The Choice of Forgiveness

Matthew 6:14-15

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses

Forgiveness is only a gift and a pardon that can be given by the offended.  Through the course of our lives all of us have been offenders wherein we have hurt or wounded another in some capacity. All of us have been the offended wherein we have been hurt or wounded by another in some capacity.  I guess we could define forgiveness as the act of releasing pardon to someone who has offended, even though they may not deserve it.  It is saying, “I no longer hold this offense to your charge, you are released, it is put away and we go on from here with a clean slate.”  

We know through God’s Word, our conscience bearing us witness, that we have all sinned and offended our God and creator, not just once, but many times over.  As Romans 3:23 says, “For all havesinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  God through His great wisdom and love has desired and made a way to release His forgiveness toward us for our offenses.  We have come to know Christ and His cross as the means through which God has forgiven us and released us from the curse and judgement of sin.  As Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while wewere yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  So God is our example of forgiveness and when He forgives what does that mean?  In Jeremiah 31:34 the Words says, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”  Hebrew 8:12 and 10:7 both say, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”  Often we hear the phrase,  “I’ll forgive, but I can’t or won’t forget.”  According to the Word is that true forgiveness?  

Jesus has made a strong statement in Matthew 6 in that He tells us that we must forgive to be forgiven.  Our forgiveness of others releases forgiveness to us.  

Right now, there are those of us who are really wrestling with forgiving.  Someone has hurt and wounded us deeply.  It is very painful and when we think upon it makes us very angry with the person who has done this.  Can we just forget it and pretend it didn’t happen?  No, it is very real and after all we are the victim here not the perpetrator.  While a victim doesn’t deserve the hurt they receive it does become their responsibility to heal and recover from that injury.  If someone shoots me and I am wounded, they can’t heal me and cause me to recover; only I can do that.  Often it has a great deal to do with time.  It often takes time to work through emotional as well as physical pain and suffering.  Realistically, when some has deeply hurt us, we can’t just say, ” I forgive you” and then just forget it.  The memory is too raw and the wound is too fresh.  This is where we operate out of a higher principle than our emotions and feelings.  We act out of our will by faith.   We make a choice to forgive, not because we feel it, but because it is the mind and will of God.  We know that we could have never deserved God’s forgiveness and yet He provided it for us.  If we choose to hold on to unforgiveness then we place a roadblock to God’s forgiving us.  We have a break in our relationship and fellowship with Him that is never worth holding on too.  When we hold on we give place to a root of bitterness that will trouble us and can defile the many (Hebrews 12:15).

Peter asks Jesus one time in Matthew 18:21-22, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Jesus spoke of a divine principle of Jubilee wherein we operate out of a spirit of release and forgiveness of debts and offenses.   It doesn’t have limitations. Even as God has forgiven us as often as we have repented and turned to Him, we must operate out of the same principle toward others.  When Jesus hung on the cross, some of His last words were, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Today, if you are struggling to forgive, give it to the Lord.  Make it an act of obedience to Him.  It may help to write down on paper all the offenses and hurts you are feeling and then, in faith, by choosing obedience to the Lord, act out of His love and burn those hurts and offenses.  Let them go and in essence remember them no more that you can be set free, even as you have set your offender free.   What God has done for us in great measure, forgiving us much, we must do for others in smaller measure, forgiving and releasing them of their offenses.

Blessings,

#kent

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