Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Greetings in Jesus name. I will try to scratch a bit of the surface on this subject with the Lord’s help, Amen.

In the Hebrew Old Testament kaphar pronounced (kaw-far’) is one of the words translated forgiveness. It means to cover specifically with bitumen (and how do you unveil that later?) to condone, to placate or cancel: — appease, cleanse, disannul, be merciful, pacify, pardon, purge (away), put off, (make) reconcile (-liation).

In the Greek New Testament one of the words translated forgive is apoluo, pronounced (ap-ol-oo’-o) meaning to free fully, i.e. (literally) relieve, release, dismiss (reflexively, depart), or pardon or let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty.

I know forgiveness does not come easy for some of us even as Christians. How many times have you heard someone say “I can forgive but can’t forget what he did to me” or “how dare you? Do you know who I am? I will show you” on the other hand you claim to have forgiven but each time you see the “offending” fellow, that resentment rears its ugly head in your heart. Sometimes you pretend and fake a smile or even a greeting but down inside you feel like yanking their head off, you can’t stand them and would rather stay away. You may think you have forgiven, may be so but you need to “let go” like one of the definitions in the Greek New Testament says. You must learn to forget it.

The natural instinct to this is to auto recoil in self-protection/defense when we’ve been hurt or even try justifying our unforgiving utterances or planned revenge. We don’t naturally overflow with mercy, grace and forgiveness when we’ve been wronged. The truth is you imprison YOURSELF and not the “offender”. Unforgiveness is the single most popular “poison” that the enemy Satan uses against God’s people, and it is one of the deadliest poisons a person can take spiritually. It can cause everything from mental depression, to serious health problems such as cancer, arthritis HBP etc the list is endless. God commands us to forgive. It is a command. You do not have a choice if you must obey God. If you want your prayers answered then there is no other option Mk 11:25 Forgiveness includes a physical act involving the will. It is a choice we make through a decision of our will, motivated by obedience to God and His command to forgive. The Bible instructs us to forgive as the Lord forgave us and will remember our sin no more:

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:13

 “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34

Question:                                                                                                                                    How do we forgive and forget when we don’t feel like it?

We forgive by faith, out of obedience to the word of God. We must forgive by faith, whether we feel like it or not. We must trust God to do the work in us that needs to be done so that the forgiveness will be complete. God honors our commitment to obey Him and our desire to please him when we choose to forgive. He completes the work. We must continue to forgive (our job), by faith, until the work of forgiveness (the Lord’s job), is totally done in our hearts.

Is it okay to feel anger and want justice for the person we need to forgive?

This question presents another reason to pray for the person we need to forgive. We can pray for God to deal with the injustices, for God to judge the person’s life, and then we can leave that prayer at the altar. We no longer have to carry the anger. Although it is normal for us to feel anger toward sin and injustice, it is not our job to judge the other person in their sin.

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

This is Albert Barnes comments on “Forgive us our trespasses”

Verse 12. And forgive us our debts, etc. The word debts is here used figuratively. It does not mean literally that we are debtors to God, but that our sins have a resemblance to debts. Debtors are those who are bound to others for some claim in commercial transactions; for something which we have had, and for which we are bound to pay according to contract. Literally, there can be no such transaction between God and us. It must be used figuratively. We have not met the claims of law; we have violated its obligations; we are exposed to its penalty; we are guilty; and God only can forgive, in the same way, as none but a creditor can forgive a debtor. Debts here, therefore, mean sins, or offences against God– offences which none but God can forgive. The measure by which we may expect forgiveness is that which we use in reference to others. See Ps 18:25,26, Mt 18:28-35, Mk 11:25, Lk 11:4. This is the invariable rule by which God dispenses pardon. He that comes before him unwilling to forgive, harbouring dark and revengeful thoughts, how can he expect that God will show him that mercy which he is unwilling to show to others? It is not, however, required that we should forgive debts in a pecuniary sense. To them we have a right, though they should not be pushed with an overbearing and oppressive spirit; not so as to sacrifice the feelings of mercy, in order to secure the claims of right. No man has a right to oppress; and when a debt cannot be paid, or when it would greatly distress a wife and children, a widow and an orphan, or when calamity has put it out of the power of an honest man to pay the debt, the spirit of Christianity requires that it should be forgiven. To such cases this petition in the Lord’s prayer doubtless extends. But it was probably intended to refer principally to injuries of character or person, which we have received from others. If we cannot from the heart forgive them, we have the assurance that God will never forgive us.

Question:                                                                                                                                    How do we translate the decision to forgive into a change of heart?
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ Philipians 1:6

Someone once said “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was YOU.” We will know the work of forgiveness is complete when we experience the freedom that comes as a result. We are the ones who suffer most when we choose not to forgive. When we do forgive, the Lord sets our hearts free from the anger, bitterness, resentment and hurt that previously imprisoned us. These are slow killers. Most times, however, forgiveness could be a slow process.

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 Matthew 18:21-22

 

This answer by Jesus makes it clear that forgiveness is not easy for us. It’s not a one-time choice and then we automatically live in a state of forgiveness. Forgiveness may require a lifetime of forgiving, but it is important to the Lord. Play back the scenario of the event in your mind no matter how bad it hurts. In fact that is at what point you ask for God’s help to forgive and let go since forgiveness goes against our nature as fallen men. Do this as many times as possible till it eases out. We must continue forgiving until the matter is settled in our heart.

 

Prayer is one of the best ways to break down the wall of unforgiveness in our hearts. When we begin to pray for the person who has wronged us, God gives us new eyes to see and a new heart to care for that person. As we pray, we start to see that person as God sees them, and realize that he or she is precious to the Lord. We will also see ourselves in a new light, just as guilty of sin and failure as the other person. We too are in need of forgiveness. If God did not withhold his forgiveness from us, why should we withhold our forgiveness from another?

Why must we forgive?

The best reason to forgive is because Jesus commanded us to forgive. We learn from Scripture, if we don’t forgive, neither will we be forgiven:

 

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. Matthew 6:14-15 We also forgive so our prayers will not be hindered:

 

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. Mark 11:25

 

Unforgiveness can block God from answering our prayers

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought (something) against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:24, 25

You want to forgive? I agree, you must

There are practical steps that must be taken to become more successful at forgiving others. The reason so many people want to forgive but are not successful doing it is simply because they are not obeying the word of God. Searching the word, you will find the following instructions:

  • Decide– You will never forgive if you wait until you feel like it. Choose to obey God and steadfastly resist the devil in his attempts to poison you with bitter thoughts. Make a quality decision to forgive, and God will heal your wounded emotions in due time. See Matthew 6:12-14 
  • Depend– You cannot forgive without the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s too hard to do on your own. If you are truly willing, God will enable you, but you must humble yourself and cry out to Him for help. In John 20:22-23 Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit!” His next instruction was about forgiving people. Ask God for help so the Holy Spirit can better direct you on how go about it as you depend on God for strength.
  • Obey– The scriptures tell us several things we’re to do concerning forgiving our enemies:

 

  • a. Pray for your enemies and those who abuse and misuse you. Pray for their happiness and welfare (see Luke 6:27-28). As you pray, God can give them revelation that will bring them out of deception. They may not even be aware they hurt you, or maybe they’re aware but are so self-centered that they don’t care. Either way, they need revelation.
    b. Bless and do not curse them(Romans 12:14) the Greek word for bless is eulogeo(yoo-log-eh’-o) meaning to praise or “to speak well of” and to curse means “to speak evil of.” You can’t walk in forgiveness and be a gossip. You must stop repeating the offense to people. You can’t get over it if you continue to talk about it to people. Proverbs 17:9 says He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends

Who should be forgiven? 

Forgive that person you often see who badly hurt you and also the stranger that crossed your path with hurt you may never see again or any of your brothers or sisters in church. Take those two extremes and forgive them in addition to everyone in between. Forgive quickly. The quicker you do it, the easier it is. Forgive freely. Matthew 10:8b says, “…Freely ye have received, freely give.” Forgive means “to excuse a fault, absolve from payment, pardon, send away, cancel, and bestow favor unconditionally.”

When you forgive, you must cancel the debt. Do not spend your life paying and collecting debts. Hebrews 10:30 says For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. Let God pay you for past injustices. Do not try to collect from the people who hurt you, because the people who hurt you can’t pay you.

Also, forgive yourself for past sins and hurts you have caused others. You can’t pay people back, so ask God to.

Forgive God if you are angry with Him because your life didn’t turn out the way you thought it should. God is always just. There may be things you don’t understand, but God loves you, and people make a serious mistake when they don’t receive help from the only One who can truly help them.

You may even need to forgive anything and anyone close or far. Get rid of all poison that comes from bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. And remember Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life

In conclusion, we forgive out of obedience to the Lord. It is a choice, a decision we make. However, as we do this “forgiving,” we discover the command is in place for our own good, and we receive the reward of our obedience to forgive — OUR FREEDOM.

 

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