…but we aren’t so willing to forgive others.
Image from stock free photos
FORGIVENESS IS NOT A REQUEST – IT’S A COMMAND.
“21Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 23Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” – Matt 18:21-33
Forgiveness is letting go the desire to be vindicated of wrong-doing by another person regardless of if they repent or not. (This doesn’t mean that we have to forget what happened because we aren’t designed to forget everything. How would we learn from past mistakes if we forget them?)
I was listening to a song our choir sang years ago and thought about this passage. People are SO quick to forget the grace and mercy of God. We have been offered forgiveness of all the sins we’ve committed against a great and mighty God through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ! He was the only perfect person to ever walk the face of this earth and the only person that has the right to demand perfection from anyone. Yet, in His love, He sacrificed Himself to give us a connection to the Father and is continually making intercession for us. He sent a helper, the Holy Spirit, to guide us in the direction we should go while we walk this earth. He knows we’re going to fall….often! He knows our shortcomings, imperfections, struggles, weaknesses as well as our strengths, and you know what? He still loves us and calls us His own.
Can you imagine where we’d be if Jesus got an attitude as fast as we do or displayed the impatience we do? Where would we be if Jesus said, “You know what? I’ve told you and told you and told you that I don’t want you to sin! You’re NOT supposed to do this! You’re not supposed to do that! I told you to speak this, but you said that. You said you’d never do that sin again, but you did it not even a day later. You told me I’d be first in your life, but you bumped me for Sunday football. I’m supposed to live in your heart, but you’ve filled your heart and mind with all this junk of the world that you KNOW I hate. How am I supposed to fit in here with all these portraits and trophies you’ve got of yourself. All this foul language, tv shows and images are too dirty for me to touch, so I have nowhere to sit. You don’t even talk to me until you need me to clean your mess or bail you out of a situation I told you how to avoid! I talk to you, but you don’t even acknowledge me. I try to feed you the Word, but you want to eat out and put junk food in your system so my efforts go unappreciated. I welcome you with open arms and tell you “I love you,” but you scowl. I wait for you and pray for you, but you act like I owe you something…like you’re doing me a favor calling yourself a Christian. You disrespect me and don’t even have the common courtesy to say “thank you” every so often. I should have let you go a long time ago! I’m DONE saving you! Go find someone else to be your savior because you’ve plucked my nerves, and I’m tired of you continually messing up!”
Where would we be? LOST!!! We fail Jesus in some area quite often, but He’s willing to forgive when we repent and get back on the right path. We’re still in our flesh, so we’re still going to slip. Jesus doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He does look for us to try to be like Him. He’s supportive when we fall and is always willing to help us do what we need to do. Think about our relationships. How can we expect someone else to be perfect or do everything we expect of them perfectly all the time when we, ourselves, aren’t perfect and may let God down on a daily basis? If God can forgive us for nailing His Son to a tree, then it shouldn’t take a great deal of effort to forgive our brother for leaving the top off the peanut butter for the umpteenth time. I mean, come on. It’s really not that serious in the grand scheme of things!
Of course, you always have the choice to not forgive. However, that means God will not forgive you of the offenses you do to Him and block your ability to get answered prayers since not forgiving is a sin. It’s up to you.
“Calling My Name” – Hezekiah Walker & the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir