Forgiveness is something that does not come easy to mankind, and there's more to it than meets the eye
so to speak.
1 Should we really want to forgive others ?
2 Do we really need to forgive others ?
3 How many times should we forgive others ?
4 Can we have peace if we do ?
Should we really want to forgive others ?
From before the time of creation God our heavenly father knew that man would disobey His command and sin by eating
of the forbidden fruit. (which incidently was not an apple tree since we can all eat apples to-day)
In Ezekiel 31:18 we read that the trees of the garden are buried in the earth, probably by the flood of Noah's time
and that would include the tree of knowlege. It is no good us saying "we would not have done what Adam and Eve did"
because they were perfect and sinless and they still fell foul of God's law courtesy of satan so us sinners would have had
no chance against satan.
However since God is outside of time and space He foresaw all this happening before it happened and yet still went
ahead with creation. So even before we were born God loved each and every one of us and formed a plan to save us
from sin, from ourselves, from eternal death and from eternal separation from God Himself, Ephesians 1:4 Says
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame
before Him in love:".
So God our heavenly father had to rescue all mankind because we could not do it ourselves or otherwise His glorious
creation would be a failure, or He could have destroyed everything and started all over again, but His love for us was
and is so beyond measure that that was not an option.
God the creator desired to have fellowship with men and woman so much that He wanted to forgive us all our sins and
iniquities. He wanted to share our lives as His sons and daughters and bless us and have us worship Him and for that
there had to be a clean slate for as many as would accept salvation. The whole sequence of events leading up to and
beyond Calvary when Jesus went through all that hell of torture and shame and mocking and execution shows just how
much God the father wanted to forgive mankind and how much Jesus wanted to do the father's will.
When Jesus was on the cross, His pain, agony, torture, unbridled mockery, all the false lying allegations, all the persecution,
all the beatings and other physical abuse, all the bloodshed that was laid on Him as well as all the sin of the world and
His imminent death was all too much for His father in heaven, in fact His grief at His son's distress and pain was so deep
it made Him turn His back on His well beloved Son. So God our father in heaven knows all about grief and mourning and
pain for His only child. Jesus went willingly and readily to the cross and all it meant on our behalf that how much Jesus
wanted to forgive us, Our God chose to suffer alongside His son to bring us the chance of salvation. That's how much
God wanted to forgive us.
Therefore if we want to live a Godly and christian life in Christ we must also want to forgive our enemies as much
God wants to forgive us no matter how hard or awkward that may be.
To want to forgive is the secret of forgiveness, as God our father wanted to forgive us..
To forgive others also makes it easier to love others the way God loves us..
To love others also makes it easier to forgive others the way God forgives us..
The two things go hand in hand.
Do we really need to forgive others ?
Now while God did not need to forgive us our sins etc we on the other hand needto forgive others and there is no way
round that. Once we are saved and washed in the Blood of Christ and forgiven, we must and need to forgive
others as God has forgiven us. The need to forgive is a prerequisite for the completion of our personal salvation else there be
no heaven or eternal happiness with the Lord, Tthe Lord therefore needs to forgive us also or we will still end up in hell.
Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: said the Lord
Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
If we then do not forgive there is no hope for us but agony in hell. There many instructions in the New Testament
exhorting us to forgive others. It is the basis of our salvation. It must be an integral and vital part of our character
as christians. We must always be ready, willing and able to fullfill the need to forgive others as God has done for us
It is something that no-one can do for us we must do it for ourselves, others can opologise on our behalf but no-one
can forgive on our behalf. Forgiveness is a very personal thing, salvation is a very personal thing and Jesus is
a very personal God and Saviour as well as creator of all things in existence.
How many times should we forgive others ?
Peter once asked Jesus how many times we should forgive someone who offends us on a repeated basis.
Matthew 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?
till seven times? Matthew 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
which means forgiveness is a never ending requirement of the christian life. It is something that last our whole life long.
Incidently non christians can also forgive those that offend and sin against them. Forgiveness is an ongoing
process and we have to keep asking our heavenly father for His help to keep on doing it. There are times in
a persons life when bad or injurious memories from the past rear their ugly heads and we feel sore and hurt and the
feeling and desire of unforgiveness jumps up and smacks us around the back of the head. Then we feel bad all over again
So just go to the Lord and tell Him about it, ask Him for the strength and will to forgive those past hurts. Then ask
Him to forgive yourself for being offended. You will feel and be much better in your spirit. Our God is a good God.
All day long.
Can we have peace if we do ?
Forgiveness is not something we can pick and choose when and where we do it or who to do it for or choose the reason
for doing it. We cannot be selective about it. It has to be fully comprehensive and come from the very depths of our hearts
24/7. To harbour a grudge or bitterness or anger or hate against anyone requires an effort of will and very quickly screws
up your life in a big way. (I know, cos I been there and got the Tshirt)
To be free of all this unforgiveness removes a whole world of hurt from your shoulders and makes life between you
and others a whole new ballgame in Christ whether others may realise it or not. The peace and feeling of freedom
from the burden of unforgiveness is real good. The guilt is gone, your heart feels much lighter and there
is no feeling of impending punishment, your worship of the Lord is much more enjoyable and free. You have peace
in your heart and there is relief in your spirit. We must also be ready to show gratutude and thanks to those
that forgive us. If we then love others as God loves us forgiving will become easier as each day goes by.
God removes our guilt when He forgives us so we should do our best to do the same for those that hurt us.
We must want to forgive completely and comprehensively from the bottom of our hearts not just our mouths
We need to forgive all people all things that hurt or offend us else God will not forgive us.
We have to forgive continually, readily, willingly and without condition forever and without number.
We have peace in our hearts and freedom in spirit and gratitude to the Lord
If we do not forgive others then God will not forgive us, we remain sinners heading for hell.
So play safe, seek the Lord while He may be found, and may the Lord bless you real good.
Written by Wilf Mossop