Forgiveness is one of the things many Christians struggle with. Some don’t know that they have an unforgiving spirit.
For those who do not easily forgive, you hear them comment, “It’ll be hard for me to forgive him”, or “I can forgive, but I won’t forget”. This is not what the Bible teaches us about forgiveness.
Now while Jesus was on earth, he emphasized forgiving one another and even went on to show us an example as they nailed him to the cross. Without prejudice, if some Christians were to be in Jesus position at the time of the crucifixion, they would have hated those people. However, that was not the case for Jesus. He said a short prayer, “Father, forgive them, for they know what they do”. I don’t know how many of us can sincerely ask God to forgive those who genuinely hurt us and not wish to rain down fire on them.
Forgiveness is the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. To forgive means to pardon or exonerate. It is an intentional decision to let go of anger. Truthfully, forgiveness can be difficult to give without the help of the Holy Spirit.
What does the Bible say about forgiveness?
1. The Bible instructs us to forgive one another, just as Christ forgave you. Bearing with one another despite how much we’ve been hurt.
“Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do”. (Colossians 3:13)
2. Spiritually forgiveness operates in the realm of sin. The goal of forgiveness is to restore sinners. Every man needs forgiveness. From a spiritual perspective, we’re all born with sin, which separates us from God. Many of us would be lost without God’s intervention and forgiveness.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3 :23)
3. Forgiveness should be intentional. For Jesus, forgiveness is a lifestyle, conscious choice, intentional. Like I mentioned earlier, even when he was been nailed on the cross, he prayed,
“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots”. (Luke 23:34)
4. Forgiveness is a key to our forgiveness, it’s a prerequisite for our sins to be forgiven. This implies that God won't forgive us if we do not forgive ourselves. Many people find it so difficult to process this commandment that God is ever willing to forgive us and ask that we extend the same to one another first. And we know if God does not forgive us, our prayers will be hindered because sin hinders prayer.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”.
5. Forgiveness makes us have a right standing with God. Harboring bitterness in of hearts is sin, it breaks our fellowship with God. Forgiveness gives us access to God.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. (1 John 1 : 9)
6. Forgiveness brings healing, both health and healing of our ugly past. When we hand our resentment and hurts to God, he heals us and gives us the ability to forgive.
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. (James 5:16)
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