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.
As I was praying for a loved one this morning, the Lord dropped in my spirit the word “forgiveness”. Now if you are wondering how I know that it was God, if you are filled with His Spirit you know when He is trying to talk to you about something. The crazy thing is that although this word was for someone specifically, I found that before my prayer time had ended God made it about me. I must forgive. I will preface this statement with the notion that I am a very forgiving person. I am not quick to get angry or hold a grudge. Just never really was that kind of person, if you give me a little while I am over it. I just don’t hold on to it, nurture it or keep the offense. Some people are just like that for whatever reason. Then there are others who are constantly holding a grudge, mad at someone or bitter about something. The person who I was praying for this morning has every reason imaginable to be angry, mad, offended and unforgiving of the person in question. But as a born again child of God this person forfeits their right to be angry, mad, offended and unforgiving as they have accepted the Mercy of God when they asked Jesus Christ to be their Savior and Lord. As I searched my heart, I knew exactly who God was looking at, Christ was pointing at and the Spirit was guiding me to in my life. I am not amused. I will be honest. I do not want to forgive this person along with all the wife beaters, baby killers and other abusers in this world. I have no compassion for them. This is not what the Father’s Love instilled in me is for. The sad reality is that sin is sin. God does not put a hierarchy or grading system on sin. The gossiper is just as heinous as the murder. Thievery just as bad as lying. That is exactly what His Love is for – forgiveness. God’s Grace ended the need for sacrifice to pay for our sin. The laws of this land has given different values to a range of offenses. The bottom line is that sin is sin to God – it is all the same. It doesn’t matter what I think about it all that matters is what His Word says and what I do about it. But Lord what if I don’t want to forgive?
God chose me to be a holy person he loves very much. He has set me apart and consecrated me to be a special utensil for His Special Use. As a priest of the Most High God, I must clothe my life appropriately in tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience making allowance for each other’s faults and forgiving anyone who offends me. The problem is that sometimes I take grace for granted as an excuse to choose to ignore parts of God’s Mandate for my life. For example, I try to excuse the one thing I refuse to do that the Lord is leading me to do by offering up all the other things that I do right and all the things others may be doing wrong to argue my case. The problem is that my case is closed. My debt has been paid in full. I owe nothing to this world but love. I Corinthians 13:3-4 is clear when it says, “If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” It goes on to say that “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” Love in a nutshell. Love does not demand its own way which obviously creates division. It is not irritable so no squabbling. It keeps no record of being wronged which is unforgiveness. I do not want to forgive this person. I must forgive them.
Matthew 6:12 (NLT) “…and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”
When we request forgiveness for our sins, it must be understood that we are required to release the world from any transgression committed against us. Debt creates expectation. When we “expect” an apology, repayment, or recompense of any form or fashion than we forfeit our right to grace. It means that we believe that we deserve more than God expects. We have set a higher standard which is rebellion against the Kingdom of God. God’s Unfailing Love is lavished on us through the Grace of Jesus Christ. Our life is now complete thanks to the Cross. Or is it? When we decide that another person is unworthy of that kind of love, we have missed the point completely. Sin is any kind of iniquity (gross injustice), rebellion (resistance or defiance of authority) or any other regrettable, reprehensible action offensive to Divine Law. If we assess our life appropriately, it is clear that we sin every day in innumerable ways most of the time without even trying. Sin is our nature. But then again so is pride. To become the new creation and/or person possible through the transformation of Jesus Christ we must learn to forgive. Why? Because God has forgiven us. Plain and simple we forgive because He has forgiven us. That doesn’t mean that the other person’s attitude and actions were not wrong. It does not mean that they were not hurtful, harmful or heartbreaking. It just means that God’s Love is greater than anything or anyone that we come in contact with so it will cover every sin committed against us or injustice in our life. Forgiveness of my sin works in conjunction with and cooperatively with my ability to forgive other people. I must be willing to forgive those who offend me. If you are thinking, you don’t understand – “I can’t…I just can’t.” Oh yes you can, and I will tell you why…
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)
The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
God’s Faithful Love for you never ends. Each morning, the Lord gives us mercy for not just our sins but to share with others. He does this every single day without fail because He knows we are going to need them that much. Forgiveness is born of the attitude that the Lord is my inheritance. He is enough. I will hope in Him. Faith placed in other people will never produce a prospering soul just many opportunities to exercise forgiveness. Faith placed in the Lord will produced hope. Hope will never disappoint you but people will. They will let you down, turn you in, turn you out, use you, abuse you, offend you and harm you – and that my friend is just your family. We must be willing to forgive because God has given us everything that we need to live a godly life including enough mercy to spread it around thick in our life and the lives of other people. Is the person who you are unwilling to forgive really worth all the time and energy that you are investing in being mad at them? Are they worth your new life in Christ? Are they more important than your soul?
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Is the Grace of God demonstrated and made available to us through the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ enough for you? This is not a question to be taken lightly as the future of your life and confidence in your hope totally depends on your answer. Is His Grace enough for you? Does it satisfy you no matter what the circumstances around you are? Is He all that you need? If His Grace is enough for us – if it is sufficient in the remission of sin and transformation of our mind, soul and body than friend – you must forgive. There was a story just the other day of a man who caught an abuser molesting his young son who beat the offender severely until he was unconscious. He told the young man once he was in custody and came to that if he did not love God than he would have killed him. Now this story caused a lot of mixed reactions and comments to be posted obviously. This story should promote profound sadness in us. The depravity of this world knows no bounds but whether you and I like it or not the same Jesus that died for the dad and his son in this story died for the pedophile sex offender, too. I don’t understand it. I don’t want to even believe it sometimes but it is true. Grace takes over our life when we understand that His Love and Sacrifice is enough for us to extend his love and grace even to the most violent offender. We must forgive. It must become as basic as not being moved when cut off in traffic or a door slammed in our face. It means that those people who spitefully used you and abused you are given forgiveness and mercy. You don’t have to have it to give but let the Holy Spirit have His Way with your heart. You focus on loving the Lord while He continues to give you mercy and grace for those around you.
Psalm 103:2-4 (NLT)
Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
All that I am cannot praise the Lord until all that I am belongs to Him. When I choose unforgiveness, I give a stake in my life to someone who is unworthy. If I can just focus my attention on the One who loves me most, maybe just maybe I can muster up enough mercy and grace for forgive the unforgiven in my life. Forgiveness leads to healing. Healing in our life is not just physical but spiritual and emotional. Forgiveness takes back the pieces of our life give to lesser things so the Lord can use it to make us whole, complete and lacking no good thing. God has crowned us with love and mercy. Think about a “crown” which indicates power and authority. God leads us with love, grace and mercy so as members of His Kingdom we are to live our lives under the same leadership and authority. We must walk in love. You cannot do that bound by unforgiveness. Love prospers when a fault is forgiven. (Proverbs 17:9) The Lord wants to prosper your life today. Is unforgiveness keeping your promises from pouring into your lap or His Blessings from overflowing in your life?
Luke 6:36-38 (NLT)
You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. 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.
As we strive to be God-like adopting the same attitude of Jesus Christ, we will become compassionate because He is. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, so how can we be entitled to do such a thing. Jesus came to forgive. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are forgivers. Humbled by His Love, we must learn to gladly give forgiveness as much as we long to receive it. What happens next? Prosperity as it comes back to us pressed down, shaken together, running over and poured directly into our lap. You decide the love, joy and peace that flows through your life. You determine if you will be healed, restored, renewed or redeemed. Forgiveness is given to us by God with the choice to use it or not. If you forgive, you will be forgiven. If you forgive, you will be healed. If you forgive, you will prosper. Unforgiveness limits the effectiveness of prayer just like any other sin. (Mark 11:24-28) Unforgiveness is the mark of unbelief that leads to our destruction. Intimacy with God begins with forgiveness and is maintained the same way. (Psalm 86:1-5) The Holy Spirit promotes forgiveness and unity in our life. (John 20:22-23) Learning how to forgive completely and quickly empowers our life. It positions us to receive all the Promises of God given to those who believe. Jesus uses forgiveness to bless us as He works to complete us from the inside out. Is there someone you need to forgive today? It doesn’t have to be logical just do it. Say this with me right now:
“Dear Lord, I come to you today and ask you to forgive me of every sin that I have committed. I ask you to wash me in the Blood of Jesus. Lord, I forgive (insert person’s name) of their harm, abuse, insult, offense, injury or any other hardship or hurt that they have caused in my life. Lord, I ask you to break the chains of unbelief that once kept me bound to this offense. Lord, help me to maintain my friend today by holding tightly to hope. I trust you that your Grace is enough for my life. I will work to gather your mercies each morning and share them with the world. In Jesus Name I pray…Amen!”
I must forgive. You must forgive. Together as we work the Love and Mercy of God through our lives, we will be set free to experience His Prosperity brought forth when we say, “I forgive you in Jesus Name!”
Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.