Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness


The Forgiving Equation

At the tail end of The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus brings up a tough teaching. It may just be the hardest thing He asks us to do. In the actual prayer itself, Jesus says that we need to ask God to forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors. He then continues in the prayer. After the prayer is completed, He clarifies His position on forgiveness. He says this in Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV):

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Why?!? Why does He have to say that? Why can’t He just let us gloss over the forgiveness part in the prayer? It is because we are not to receive forgiveness and keep it to ourselves. It is because we are to be conduits of forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t just flow to us. Rather, forgiveness flows through us. God has forgiven all of our sins through Jesus. Every sinful thought, word and deed. No matter how evil or wicked, God punished Jesus for it and forgave us from it. How could we just say thanks for the grace and walk away unchanged? Forgiveness changes everything, especially when we learn to forgive those who sin against us.


He Forgives, We Forgive

Jesus tells us to pray often for our own forgiveness. We regularly ask God to forgive our sins because we regularly sin and fail as humans. We are not merely recipients of forgiveness. We are to be conduits of God’s forgiveness. God forgives our many egregious sins so that we can, in turn, forgive those who sin against us. Jesus said to pray in Matthew 6:11b (NIV):

…as we also have forgiven our debtors.

When God forgives us, we don’t take the forgiveness and run. We have to let that forgiveness flow through us to those around us. In this life, we will sin against God and others. We need to seek the forgiveness of both. When we are forgiven, we have to forgive those who sin against us. I’m not sure if there is a harder thing to do than to offer forgiveness to others. When someone hurts you so deeply by betraying a confidence or physically hurting you, forgiveness is the last thing you want to do. When someone keeps doing the same thing over and over again, forgiveness is the last thing you want to offer. Yet God, though we betray Him and though we do the same things over and over, continues to forgive us. We should do likewise that we may look more like Him.


Asking For Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus for salvation, God forgives all of our sins. Jesus reminds us that we should not take God’s forgiveness for granted in the Lord’s Prayer. He taught us to pray in Matthew 6:12a (NIV):

And forgive us our debts…

This is a good reminder that we are still sinners. Whether you say debts or trespasses, we are all debtors. We have all crossed the line of sin and continue to do so. We are still human. But God is still God. He is the perfect and holy One. We cannot pay for our own debts, so Jesus did it for us. Forgiveness can only come through Jesus Christ. God set up the sacrificial system through which forgiveness could come. Ultimately, it came when Jesus sacrificed His life at the cross of Calvary. Now, forgiveness is ours and we should ask for it regularly. Not as a way of reminding God to forgive us. Rather, it is a way of reminding ourselves that we’re still in need of God’s unending forgiveness.


Forgiveness Is Awesome!

In Acts 15, Paul and his co-laborer for the Kingdom, Barnabas, had such a sharp disagreement that they had to go their separate ways. The disagreement was over Barnabas’ cousin, John Mark, known as Mark. Mark was a young man who had deserted Paul earlier in his ministry. Paul did not trust him and perhaps believed that Mark would do it again. But Paul eventually forgave Mark. Paul wrote in Colossians 4:10 (NLT):

Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way.

Mark was with Paul when Paul was in prison. He told the Colossians to welcome him if he happened to come their way. That is the power of forgiveness and it has the power to shape someone’s life. The other thing that Mark is known for is the book of the Bible that bears his name. He wrote the Gospel of Mark. Do you see what forgiveness can do? Had Paul held a grudge against this young man, who knows how his life may have turned out. Maybe you’re holding a grudge against someone today. Maybe it is time to forgive them and move on in peace. You never know how that forgiveness might change and shape their destiny.


Forgiving One Another

When God asks us to do the right thing, it is often the hard thing. For example, He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. That’s a hard thing to do. He tells us to bear with one another and that can be a hard thing to do. Then, He tells us to forgive others. This can be very hard to do. The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 3:13 (NLT):

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Let’s face it, we’re going to hurt and offend one another. We’re going to do it accidentally and sometimes even intentionally. We’re going to have to learn how to forgive one another. Our forgiveness cannot be selective, either. God says to forgive anyone who offends you. Why? Because He forgave all of us. Jesus died for the forgiveness of the world so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. Jesus is our model of forgiveness. If He could ask God to forgive those who were killing Him, can’t we forgive those who have hurt us? It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s the right thing. Pray and ask God right now to help you to do the right thing and forgive someone who has hurt you, even if it’s hard to do.


The Charges Are Dropped

The enemy of our souls is an accuser. He comes against us and accuses us of all the wrong things we’ve done. Our hearts and minds are filled with guilt and shame over our sins. We know what we’ve done. We know that we’re guilty of hurting God and hurting others and even hurting ourselves. We’re guilty and we know it. But just when all hope seemed lost, God sent Jesus and He came with forgiveness as the plan. God forgave all of our sins through Jesus’ atoning death on the cross. The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 2:14 (NLT):

He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins. The accusations of sin and the record has been erased. The charges have been dropped by our Heavenly Father. The guilt and shame have been replaced by forgiveness and joy. God is no longer holding your sins against you. He has chosen to drop the charges and forgive you. Don’t live in shame any longer. Don’t allow the enemy guilt you into hiding from God. Live in the freedom that forgiveness brings. It all starts with faith in Jesus.


ALL Of Our Sins

When we are buried with Christ in baptism, God performs a spiritual surgery on our hearts. He cuts away all of our sins in a spiritual circumcision. We are not only buried with Christ, but we are raised to life with Him as well. When we trust Jesus for salvation and forgiveness, God forgives all of our sins. The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 2:13 (NLT):

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.

God doesn’t forgive some of our sins. He forgives ALL of our sins. I believe that all means ALL. Our past sins we’ve committed are forgiven by God. Our current struggles with sin are forgiven by God. Our future sins that we will commit are forgiven by God. ALL of our sins are washed away in the blood of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past, God wants to forgive ALL of your sins. If you’re the most die-hard atheist, God will forgive your sins if you put your faith and trust in Jesus. If you’re the most pious saint who ever lived, God will forgive you just the same. When God says all, He means ALL.

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