Apr 22, 2009

What does it really mean to forgive? Does it mean you are no longer “mad” at someone? You no longer fantasize about how you will snub them to show your displeasure? You force yourself to be nice to them? Smile if you are in the same room? Stop complaining about them behind their back and pat yourself for your “good work”? Yet Jesus said, not only if we curse our “brother’ without cause are in danger of hell but:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor] and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Matthew 5:43-45
That is a hard thing to ask. If he asked me to climb mountains, fight sharks or to stand on one foot for an hour a day I could probably manage it and go on my way. But forgive? People? :eek: That is a tall order. Find bellow a list of ways we wallow in unforgiveness, please feel free to add to it:
You abandoned me, beat me, emotionally abused me, never listened, were a drunk, were a pain, lived vicariously through me …..
School Friends
You insulted me, ignored me, ostracized me, bullied me, teased me, got me to do destructive things through peer pressure…
Wives/Husbands (Ex or Otherwise) Girl Friends/Boyfriends Significant Others
You are not the same person, you bore me, you betrayed me, you lied to me, you drain me, you make me crazy….
We tell ourselves we have the right to withhold love or we are hurting ourselves and enabling the other. We have the right to our anger, does not the Holy Spirit say, “be angry and sin not do not let the sun go down on your wrath”? There is a definite cutoff point, Christ says:
“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.” Matthew 18:15-17
Wouldn’t it be so stupid to go around like some kind a religious hypocrite and “forgive” as a religious exercise? Isn’t it so much easier to, “keep it real”? Yet not to judge others and forgive is almost the first recorded thing Jesus wished us to know. How can we come to deep, complete and appropriate forgiveness? Can it only be accomplished through the Holy Spirit? Is a lack of forgiveness in the life of a believe a sign of carnality?


Jesus looked down in love for those who just nailed Him to that cross and cried "Father forgive them, they know not what they do". That is the definition of forgiveness we are called to. Jesus Christ is worthy of the price of His suffering- those He died for are precious in His sight and thus precious to those close to His heart.
People do things for reasons we cannot always see. A heart filled with Christ's love will love others- the rest are slaves (to one degree or another) to the god of this world.
If you want to honestly forgive someone then ask Jesus to help you see them through His eyes. Instead of an agitator you will see a wounded soul in the bondage to darkness. Instead of resentment you will begin to have compassion on that tormented soul- this will cause you to fall on your knees in prayer for them. This will cause you to love them with His love and desire their healing and restoration- this is an expression of the Master's heart through one of His own. That is our calling and birthright as Christians.