Forgiving Others

Monday, August 11, 2014, 8:45 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind the song “His Tender Mercies.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 18:21-35 (NIV).

How Many Times?

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Forgiveness should have no limits put on it. No matter how many times someone sins against us, we should forgive that person, even if he or she does not own up to his or to her sins, and does not ask us for forgiveness.

When a brother or sister in Christ sins against us, we should take the appropriate Biblical steps as outlined in this chapter, just preceding this section on forgiveness. We should go to that individual in love and mercy, willing to forgive and to restore him or her. We should also go in humility and with a clear conscience so that we are not pointing out the speck in a brother’s eye while we have a log in our own (See Gal. 6:1; Matt. 7:3-5; 18:15-17).

We should confront the individual with his or her sin against us. If he or she listens to us, we have won over our brother or sister in Christ. If not, we are to take others with us and approach the individual again, and if he or she will not listen to them, we are to tell it to the church. If this brother or sister will not listen even to the church, we are to consider this person as we would someone outside of faith in Christ. We should pray for the person to put his or her faith in Jesus Christ, and we should love him or her into the kingdom.

What Forgiveness Looks Like

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

This parable of Jesus gives us a picture of God’s forgiveness towards us, and how our thankfulness and gratitude to him for forgiving us, and for showing us his grace and mercy, should carry over into how we treat others.

I have no trouble at all remembering my own sins and how my Lord Jesus rescued me from them; how he reached down and lifted me out of the pit of despair, forgave me of my sins, and gave me a new life in him, and in how he restored me to himself when I had fallen. Praise Jesus! I am eternally grateful for his love, kindness, mercy and grace to me. I have no right to ever, ever refuse to forgive others because he has forgiven me SO MUCH! I have no right to look my nose down on others thinking that I am somehow superior to them because I do not now do some of the things that they do. It does not take much for me to be reminded of where I once was, and how gracious he was to me in lifting me up, and in delivering me out of my sin. And, I should treat others the same; in like manner.

Jesus Christ, even while we were yet sinners, died on the cross for our sins. When he hung on that cross to die he took upon himself the sins of the entire world. My sins alone would be more than anyone could bear were they all accumulated together in one bundle, so I cannot even begin to fathom the pain and suffering he must have gone through to bear all of our sins upon himself – upon one who had committed no sin. Yet, he did this for us because he loves us so very much! When he died, he crucified our sins with him, and when he rose from the dead, he conquered death, hell, Satan and sin on our behalf. Amen! He paid the penalty for our sin so that by faith in him we are set free! Hallelujah!

Yet, we are not forgiven of our sin until we personally apply to our lives what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, in dying for our sins, and to do so by faith in him. He will confront us with our sins, and he will call us to repentance – to turning from our sin to God. He will ask that we willingly submit ourselves to the cross of Christ in being crucified with Christ to the sins which once enslaved us, and in allowing the Spirit of God to transform our lives away from lifestyles of sin to walks of faith in obedience to our Lord. When we humble ourselves before him, believing that he died to set us free from slavery to sin, and that he set us free to walk in his righteousness and holiness, all in the power and working of his Spirit within us, then he saves us by his grace, and we are forgiven of our sin. Amen! [See: Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; 2 Co. 5:15; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1-5.]

So, when we forgive others as Jesus Christ has forgiven us, we willingly bear the pain of unjust suffering and/or the guilt of their sin upon us, and we choose to set them free from all punishment. In other words, we choose not to get even, we wish no harm upon them, we don’t reject them, we love them, we treat them with kindness, grace and mercy, and if they have not yet repented of their sin, we pray that they will turn from their sin and that they will accept God’s saving grace into their lives.

We also speak the truth in love to them, as Jesus does with us, hoping that they will hear the truth and that they will turn from their sin, and that they will come to saving faith, or that they who have wandered away from Christ Jesus will be revived and restored. Forgiveness of the unrepentant does not mean we ignore their sin, but it does mean we don’t reject them or punish them for it, but we show God’s love and mercy to them, and we hope and pray that they will turn and that they will be set free as he has freed us.

Mercy Unending

What is wonderful about God’s mercy to us is that it is never ending. He keeps on giving. If we are in Christ, he is with us always – loving, leading, guiding, protecting, and nurturing us. We never have to be afraid no matter what we are going through. He will never leave us. He is completely faithful to all that he has said he would do. We can trust him completely! He just asks us to put our trust in him, to walk in his ways, to trust in his love, to believe that he truly cares about us, to share with him our heartaches, to believe that he is our friend always and forever, and to trust him for the healing that we need. We need to trust him also with those that we love who are in need of Christ, believing him to draw them to himself and that they, too, will find grace and mercy and forgiveness of sins. Amen!

His Tender Mercies / An Original Work / January 26, 2014

Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.

Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.

Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.
But you shouldn't say that you forgive if you don't mean it, for it would be a most disgusting lie, thus defiling the nobility and purity of forgiveness. Forgiveness is something that has to be asked for first and foremost
You say "No matter how many times someone sins against us, we should forgive that person, even if he or she does not own up to his or to her sins, and does not ask us for forgiveness."

I can't find that in the Bible. In fact my Bible says:

"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents,
forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day,

and seven times comes back to you and says, ’I repent,’ forgive him." ,

In fact if you read the verses just prior to the ones you commented upon in you would read:

"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Which goes along with "Whoever’s sins you forgive, they are forgiven them. Whoever’s sins you retain, they have been retained."

Furthermore, as to be godly is to behave the way God behaves, does God always forgive without requiring repentance? Certainly Not! "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent"

"but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance."

Please look at Matt. 6:12-15; Mark 11:25; Lu. 6:37; 11:4; Eph. 4:32; and Col. 3:13. These all say we must forgive others, and they do not require that others must first confess sin to us. If we do not forgive, we end up building up anger, hatred and resentment in our hearts towards others, and that is sinful. We must love others. Vengeance is God's. He will repay. We are to love our enemies, pray for them and do good to them.
Not only that but the precedent God set in the parable of the unforgiving servant teaches us that we should take back our forgiveness if it is found that it was received insincerely. Note that parable makes forgiveness contingent upon not only repentance, but sincere repentance. (Mt 18:23-35)

Steve, I believe you are missing the point of the parable of Matthew 18. The king is God. When we (the servant) refuse to forgive others, when we have been forgiven so much, God has the right to discipline us for that. The point of the parable is not that the servant begged for forgiveness before he was forgiven, but the point is that he did not forgive others when he had been forgiven so much. It was especially grievous because his servant begged for forgiveness and yet he offered him none. He was shown great mercy, and yet he refused to show the same kind of mercy to another. We who are sinners by nature have no right to not forgive others who sin against us when God has forgiven us so much. God, who is holy and righteous, and who made us and has forgiven us, is the only one with the right to refuse or to withdraw forgiveness.

Forgiving Others

Matthew 6:12-15: “And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

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

Mark 11:25: “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Luke 6:37: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Luke 11:4: “Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

Colossians 3:13: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Steve, Have you thought about the rational endpoint of the doctrine you propose?

Do you have the power within yourself to prevent God from forgiving someone else? Do you have the power to force God's hand into forgiving one who God intends to hold accountable for their sin?

Are you willing to put yourself into the position of the "Wicked Steward" in Matt 18:23-35 who had his forgiveness REVOKED because he was unwilling to forgive others?
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Interesting discussion… I modify my conclusion then : )

I used to think that Forgiveness is something we give, REGARDLESS, if the forgiven change for the better or not….
And asking the person to realize (repent) the mistake and strive to change for the better is LOVE…

I think it is still correct, I think just a slight modification then (in red) : )

We forgive regardless, unconditional if that person change for the better or not…
BUT, Forgiveness should be done together with LOVE, thus, requires the forgiven to REPENT….

Now…. if that guy won’t really repent (who knows the heart of man? we only process what we get) : should forgiveness be GIVEN?

I think YES… give the forgiveness… AND ask the LOVE for that guy to repent….

Now, If the guy won’t repent… is it still our issue anymore?

I do not think so…….We already give FORGIVE and LOVE….
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