For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

                                                                                                        - Matthew 6:14


Jesus spoke these words before He died for us. Before the cross people forgive in order to be forgiven and after the cross we forgive as God forgave us  (Eph 4:32) We forgive one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven us. Once the person knows how much God loves them and forgave them their sins, they forgive others. They want to; they do not have to, because their sins are already forgiven them.        But unforgiveness has consequences  -   the law comes after us, and our heart in self-accusation make us feel guilty and condemns us, and the confidence and assurance and boldness we have before God that our prayers would be answered is hindered.(1John 3:21,22).                                                                                                                                    

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest; for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven ;( Luke 6:35-37)

When we are offended or hurt, we often feel justified in holding a grudge. The Old Testament law expressed this when it stated – “eye for eye, tooth for tooth (Exodus 21:23-25). Until the offense was paid, people did not feel free to forgive. However, God dealt with man’s offenses by placing sin upon the perfect Saviour, Jesus Christ, who was judged in place of every sinner.

The scriptures admonish us to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. God offered his forgiveness towards us while we were yet sinners. Therefore, forgiveness was offered to all unconditionally. But only those who received the offered forgiveness through repentance and faith are received as sons of God. We are to forgive others their trespasses just as God has forgiven us our trespasses.

Peter thought he was being very generous by offering to forgive his brother seven times. But Jesus said, he should forgive him seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). Jesus is actually saying that there should be no limit to our forgiveness.

When we are hurt by others, we should remember the great mercy that God has shown us and respond likewise. Any debt that could be owed to us is insignificant compared to the debt we were forgiven. We should have compassion on others as Christ had on us. If God expects us to forgive our brother who has trespassed against us seventy times seven, certainly God who is love will do the same for us. After Jesus spoke of forgiveness, the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5). They observed all of the wonderful miracles Jesus performed and yet that never inspired them to ask for greater faith. Truly walking in love and forgiveness with each other, takes as much faith as any miracle we will ever believe for.

The basis of forgiveness is the love and mercy of God. It is only because God loved and forgave us that we can love and forgive others. He forgave us before we repented and asked for forgiveness.

Whether the other person repents or wants our forgiveness we should forgive. We need not say a word to them; we forgive them in our heart, keeping no record of wrongs done.(Luke 17:3-4) Jesus said when a person humbles himself and asks for forgiveness we should forgive him.

Forgiveness is the most powerful weapon of all, in ending strife and restoring relationship. We need to begin to allow God’s love to flow through us to others including those we do not like and those who have hurt us. No matter what they have done we have a choice in our response. The first word Jesus said on the cross was Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). We can start walking in love towards another person anytime we decide to. It’s an act of choice.

When Stephen was stoned he cried “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge”. He forgave the people who were stoning him to death (Acts 7:54-60). Saul (Paul) too who was one of them consenting unto Stephen’s death was forgiven and later he repented and was used by God to write more than half of the New Testament.

(Luke7:42-43) When Jesus asked Simon, which of the two debtors: who could not pay, the creditor had forgiven (the one who owed five hundred pence and the other fifty pence) would love him more? Simon answered the one who was forgiven much. Jesus said he had rightly judged. Those who love God most are the ones who know they are forgiven much.

God never commands us to do anything without providing us with the ability to do it. Every believer has the power to forgive in any and every situation. We might think it hard to forgive, but nothing we do by the power of God is hard. We can make it hard by trying to do it in our own strength, but if we will learn to rest in God through faith in His Word, the struggle will disappear. If we trust God’s Word, that Word will fight for us in any area of life. We do not have to wrestle with our problems and try to solve them with our own great will power. As we start speaking God’s Word about the situation and release our faith in that Word, it will conquer any problem –including unforgiveness.If we will find out what God has to say on the subject and believe it, it will drive unforgiveness completely out of our life.



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