Colossians 3:12-14 (NLT)
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Unforgiveness is a noose around the neck of every person who has ever experienced it. It is suffocating and pulls us back as one attempts to move forward and get on with our life. Whether those who have hurt or offended us have done so knowingly or completely oblivious to the insult or injury, it is the person who has taken offense that is hindered in bondage. We must learn to forgive. Why? Because I want Jesus to forgive me. The world has become a very insincere place. Pride stands watch over the human heart forbidding such an act of weakness as a simple apology. Consumed with their own needs, wants and desires, there is little time to assess the needs of others so we make no attempt to reach out because we are consumed with dissatisfaction and discontentment. We do not let anyone into our life for fear that they will let us down. God chose us to be His Holy People. Traits inherent to that calling include clothing ourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. What gives God the right to expect such things from us? It is exactly what He has done for us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. The only difference is that I do not have to sacrifice my life be forgiven but I expect other people to. The Lord forgave me free and undeserved, so it should be my honor to do the same for others yet I do not. Above all…such a lofty term would indicate major importance. Clothe yourselves in love that binds us ALL together in perfect harmony. Forgiveness does not begin with me…or you for that matter. Since God…it began with Him.
Hebrews 10:17-23 (NLT)
Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Keeping unforgiveness is like harboring a fugitive from justice. Those things that we claim to be grounds for such an action are the very things that keep us from entering deeper into the Presence of God. Like a ball and chain around the ankle, we are limited in our movement. The Lord tells us that He will “never again remember my sins or lawless deeds.” When sins are forgiven, there is no need for sacrifices. This is important. This is something that will change our life when we fully understand the potential of forgiveness and the freedom in Christ available when we choose to forgive. We have a new and life-giving way into the Presence of God that no longer requires a sacrifice which means that our sins are in fully remission. They are gone. We no longer owe a penalty because it was completely satisfied by Jesus Christ. Are you satisfied with Jesus Christ is the real question? Is He enough for me? We must hold tightly to “hope” which is the product of faith well-planted in the firm foundation of Jesus Christ and left to grow, develop and mature into prosperity. Forgiveness takes back our seeds of faith and gives them to the things of this world. We hope in people rather than God’s Kingdom when we become indebted to other people rather than fully trusting the Lord.
Hebrews 12:23-24 (NLT)
You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
The terms of our New Covenant with God requires forgiveness. The Old Covenant was about repayment and restitution. Jesus Christ created the New Covenant by satisfying the Old Covenant once and for all. You have now become a Child of God and resident of His Kingdom. This makes God judge over our life and therefore when someone comes against you – they must answer to God the Father not you for their actions. Unforgiveness is nothing more than you and I taking the Law into our own hands again. It means that we have become judge and jury trying to take God’s Position in our life. It is rebellion against the Kingdom of God and restricts our freedom. Jesus Christ mediates the New Covenant between God and His People. The language of the New Covenant is underlined by forgiveness, kindness, forbearance, mercy, compassion and love. Anything else is a cry for vengeance that we have no right to make and separates us from God the Father because it rejects the forgiveness of His Son – Jesus Christ.
Luke 6:41-47 (NLT)
Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver[b] to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.” “That’s right,” Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
Forgiveness is an act of worship to God the Father and Jesus His Son. When the woman with the alabaster box came and anointed Jesus Christ, the Pharisees and religious followers were appalled. It was of great monetary value and worth that did not go unnoticed by these men. It was represented her sinful lifestyle by which she secured such gain. But in her one act of sacrifice that seemed so wrong, she was accepted by Jesus Christ because in that moment she gave her all. She came close to Jesus Christ forsaking her pride to be where He was and worship Him. Several months ago, my husband and I were called to pray for people after the morning worship service. A young woman who we know approached us. She had many difficulties in her life as she struggles like we all do to work out her salvation. When it was her turn, she took our hands and said, “I don’t want you to pray for me even though God knows I need it. But I want to pray for you!” My heart was so blessed in that moment. Fighting back the tears, we bowed our heads and she prayed the best she knew how for us and our son. I believe her simple act of faith moved God’s Heart in that moment just as the woman with the alabaster box got the attention of Jesus Christ. What makes us think that we are any better or more deserving the next person for forgiveness and love? I am not sure but the more I know Jesus the less deserving I find myself to be of His Great Love and Sacrifice that resulted in my salvation and forgiveness of every single sin. I have been forgiven much and I should love Him more. Forgive me Lord for all those times I choose not to worship you with love and chose to expect repayment from those as undeserving of Your Love and Grace as I am. Unforgiveness takes the focus off of Christ – forgiveness frees us to worship Him again.
Matthew 6:9-15 (NLT)
Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one. If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Forgiveness is an act of faith. When we pray, we do so by faith that the Lord will hear our prayer and answer them. Forgiveness works the same way. As a Child of the Living God, it is our responsibility to represent the Father, Son and Spirit well with our life. It is a commitment not always easily kept. I know at times I think it would be much easier to be saved if I was the only person on the earth. I am disillusioned in my thinking because I would still be at war with myself. To establish Christ’s Kingdom on the earth means to get wrapped up in His Love and work to include everyone in His Love. His Will is that none should perish but receive everlasting life. This is what we are asking for when we pray the Lord’s Prayer. We are asking Him to meet our needs and be our provider but much more than that we are asking Jesus to be our satisfaction. “Give us today the food we need and forgiveness we need to live.” What follows speaks volumes and comprises half of this prayer – forgiveness. We must forgive others as we expect God to forgive us. We must refuse unforgiveness and give it no place in our life. Forgiveness is as much an act of faith as trusting Jesus Christ to meet every other need that we have. It removes responsibility from others to put our full reliance and trust in Jesus to meet our needs and satisfy our souls. We will strive to live by faith in Christ if we are confident that He can and will deliver. Forgiveness is not innate. It is a learned behavior only possible through discipline and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is not human nature. (Isaiah 38:16-18) “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that Your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” (Mark 11:24-25) Faith and forgiveness are partners one must be present of the other to work.
Luke 6:37-38 (NLT)
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
Unforgiveness is a form of judgment. The Word of God warns that if we judge others that we are inviting God’s Judgment of us once more. We are to imitate God. God is love. To judge someone is to condemn them. Indifference is the same as unforgiveness. This is a tough one. Indifference builds a wall around us to protect us from the offensive of another. If someone has hurt us, we may become indifferent. Such behavior excludes them from the Love of God that we are to minister to one another that binds us together. We are placing a barrier where the Lord has instructed us to remove them and let love prosper. Even our enemies deserve the Love of God that we have to share with the world whether we want to give it to them or not. Give forgiveness and you will receive it. Give grace and you will have a sufficient supply. Give mercy and He will bring new mercies each morning to replenish you. Give whatever it is that you need and it will be returned to you – pressed down, shaken together and running over. Love prospers when a fault is forgiven. If I want the Love of God that leads to a prospering soul to take over the outcomes in my life, I must change my outlook on other people. I must love them like Jesus. It means that I must learn to forgive.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
The evidence of unforgiveness usually is best discovered in our words. Do we accept and affirm others or constantly tear them down with bitterness and slander. Be careful before you answer because I am finding more and more that I have unforgiveness hidden in my heart more than I care to admit. It is not always towards another person although we quickly can find one to become our target for example. We have gone through five months of battling for our son to receive necessary care to end this war with cancer that he has been fighting. The power of the almighty dollar and its exaltation over human life is sickening. Along the way, I have had many individuals who I could have been mad at. In fact, my flesh has fought hard to do so to release the pent up frustration and tension that builds inside of me sometimes. I fight daily things like bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander. These are all forms of evil behavior even if I never utter a word only think them. This is not an act of faith, but rebellion. It takes a great deal of time surrendering my heart to God and allowing His Word to penetrate my heart to stop these things from flowing from our life. But in the fight, I have learned to live by faith just a little more. I cannot count on this world to satisfy my soul and unforgiveness represents a debt that I expect the world to pay rather allowing Jesus Christ to be my satisfaction. He is my Provider. This includes meeting all my needs physically, emotionally and spiritually. If I place that expectation on anyone or anything else, then I have removed my faith from Jesus Christ. Lord forgive me and teach me to forgive!
I Peter 4:8 (NLT)
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.