Sunday, October 7, 2007

Forgive as God forgives

One of the most difficult challenges of my life has been to forgive those that have wronged me over the years and when I think I've forgiven, something reminds me of what happened to me in the past and I begin to get angry and hurt all over again.

Eph. 4:31-32 says this... Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander. along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Let's think about God's forgiveness of us! He sent Jesus Christ his one and only Son to die for us. Even though we do not deserve it, even though we disgust Him with our sinfulness, He provided a way for us to be reconciled, to be made righteous, to be made perfect and holy. He gave His son up as a sacrifice for our sin. God let Him die on that cross and bear the weight of our sin on his shoulders. God forgave us when He gave us Christ as a sacrifice. He loved us that much. The amazing thing though is this... When God forgives us, He forgets about our sinful past completely. Now when He looks at us he sees us as righteous because our sin has been washed clean or should I say covered by the blood of Jesus. He sees His Son when He sees us. Now that's forgiveness!

It's hard to forgive others when they've hurt us, It's hard to be nice to those that get under our skin, but God does it! He did it for us, and if we truly have the Spirit of God living in us, then His spirit can help us to forgive others when we just can't do it. You see, we're not alone in this struggle to forgive others. We have within us the power to do it, when we just can't on our own.

Forgiving others is an absolute necessity.
Matt. 6 14-15 says... If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins.

IT's A SIN NOT TO FORGIVE! And God will hold us accountable for this sin. He will pass judgement on our sin like he did in the parable of the unmerciful servant. In this parable He shows us how sinful it is not to forgive.
Matt. 18:23-25, (23) Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. (24) As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. (25) Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

The next few verses in this parable also shows us God's mercy. This king in the parable forgives this servant of his debt when he falls to his knees pleading that the master show him mercy. The servant promises to pay back everything, but the servants master had pity on him and cancel all his debt so that he no longer owed him anything, and he let the servant go free of debt. What's this servant do next? He goes away and finds a fellow servant that owed him some money and he grabs him by the throat choking him demanding that he pay him back what he owes. His fellow servant falls to his knees and pleads mercy, telling him to please be patient, I will pay you back everything I owe you. But he refused and even went as far as to have his fellow servant thrown in prison until he could repay his debt. Well the news of this treatment got back to the master and he brought the servant back in to see him.
Matt. 18:32-35, (32) Then the master called the servant in. "You wicked servant," he said, "I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. (33) Shouldn't you have mercy on your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you? (34) In anger his master turned him over to the jailers until he should pay back all that he owed. (35) "This is how my heavenly father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.

This issue of forgiveness is serious. God intends for us all to love one another, to forgive each other when we say or do things that hurt. When we forgive, we do it out of God's love for us. We remember that we didn't get what we deserved either. We we're set free by God when he gave us his Son Jesus as a sacrifice to cancel our debt.

We need to let go, we need to not hold that grudge anymore. We must, yes we absolutely must forgive as God forgives, or face his judgement for our sin in this area. I can only imagine what God thinks of us when we won't forgive our brother, yet He forgave us and cancelled all debt and we don't pass it on. That makes us pretty selfish doesn't it.

PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, forgive me for my lack of forgiveness. I thank you for these verses and the reminder you have given me of your forgiveness of my sin. Help me Lord, to completely forgive those that have hurt me, Please Lord help me to always forgive others and may I live in accordance to your will. Thank you for saving me and forgiving me as only You can. Amen.

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