Mark 11:25 & 26 “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” KJV
Matthew 6:15 “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” KJV
Such a great price was paid for our salvation, so why do we risk not pleasing the Lord by not forgiving. But what does forgiveness mean? Some people think that to forgive is just a thought in their head, for instance, “I forgive them, but I won’t have anything to do with them anymore.” But is that really forgiveness? Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to be around someone who is abusing you in anyway.
I think that we need to take stock in our own thoughts and lives and consider how the love of God can reach that person who needs to be forgiven. If we just walk away and not have anything to do with that person or if we avoid them, then how is the love of God reaching them? Yes, it is hard to forgive sometimes. But we don’t need to have a spirit of offense, in that we become offended due to pride. At that point we will think of all the reasons why we should not forgive.
Now look at this scripture . . .
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. KJV
What if the Samaritan knew this man and it was someone who hurt him or his family or what of that pasted by? Would you stop and help someone who hurt you? That would be true forgiveness.
Now we should keep in mind that as humans we like to think we deserve things. So when we think of what a person has done to us in the past, we may have thoughts like “I didn’t deserve that”, “Who do they think they are?”, “I know that I forgave them, but what they did was really bad, and it not only hurt me but my family also!” Then the devil can take occasion to rule our minds by feeding unforgiving thoughts to us. Be careful not to talk yourself out of forgiving someone. I have noticed that if I dwell on the subject, I end up hurting myself in letting anger arise in my heart.
What if showing the love of God means helping someone who hurt you to heal? We can’t help those who we run from. Never the less, again we don’t want to stay and help if they are currently hurting us or it is not something we can handle at the moment. And I know that we are not all therapists, but what if God used you to help someone else? Wouldn’t that be great! Hard, yes! I understand because there were times that I have thought “Wow, I really would like to not see that person ever again!” I pray for help and God gives me the strength to make it through.
If you run from those who hurt you and say you forgave them, think of it this way. You want God to forgive you right? Do you want him to never see you again? No, you want God to love you! You want God to forgive you and hug you!
John Bunyan said “A repenting penitent, though formerly as bad as the worst of men , may, by grace, become as good as the best.” Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners P. 151
Luke 6:27 & 28
“27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” KJV
So I think forgiveness can include saying “Yes, I forgive you. See ya next week!”
I would also think that if someone forgives a person and you see the two together, it would be wise not to condemn them. I have experienced people looking at me for forgiving someone and then hating me for forgiving.
John 15: 18-21 KJV
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.”
Remember to treat your fellow Christians with love. 🙂