You Asked For It – Part 4
Question: How do I forgive someone when I don’t feel like I can?
How many of us have ever been offended or hurt? Hurt by a friend? Hurt by a sibling? Hurt by a spouse? Hurt on your job? Hurt by some other family member? Hurt in church?
How many of us have ever been the offender?
Very often in talking about relationships, we talk about offenses, but we somehow seem to not explain about forgiveness and the power of it in our lives and more importantly, how to forgive.
How does God forgive?
Romans 5:12, 18 NKJV Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
Hebrews 7:27 NIV Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
- When Jesus died for us, He died for all.
Jesus never again has to die, because the price has been paid once and for all. Based on these Scriptures, it is safe to say that in the heart of God, the price has been paid for all men to be saved and forgiven?
- When Jesus died for us, he paid in full the sin debt that we were incapable of paying.
Colossians 2:13-14 NASB (13) When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, (14) having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
- So, in the heart of God, we are forgiven and the debt we owed is paid in full but does that mean we are automatically saved?(in a right standing relationship with Him?)
We know from what the Bible teaches that this does not happen. (There is a part that God has played and a part we must play)
- We must acknowledge the truth that we are sinners, realize what He did for us, repent and then receive His forgiveness.
1 Timothy 2:4 NKJV God… who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Romans 10:9-10 NKJV that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:13 NKJV For “WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.”
Once we repent, believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and make Him the Lord of our lives, we are saved, Born Again and in relationship with God.
Mark 11:25 NKJV “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
- There is the Heart of Forgiveness and the Act of Forgiveness.
God has a heart of forgiveness toward all humanity. He wants to forgive people. But is God actively involved in the act of forgiving everyone right now?
Matthew 18:21-35 NKJV Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” (22) Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (23) Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. (24) And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. (25) But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. (26) The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ (27) Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. (28) “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ (29) So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ (30) And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. (31) So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. (32) Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. (33) Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ (34) And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. (35) “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
How do I forgive?
Matthew 6:9-15 NKJV In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. (10) Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. (13) And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (14) “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (15) But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
- With a heart of forgiveness, you release that person from owing you a debt to make things right between you.
There is no such thing as spiritual amnesia.
- This might be something you do many times; but do it until you have fully released the debt.
Luke 17:3-4 NKJV Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. (4) And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
- If and when they come to you and repent, then you extend to them the act of forgiveness and restore the relationship.
How do I know that he has repented? I will be able to see it in his actions.
Matthew 3:8 NLT Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.
When someone meets the qualifications in that they acknowledge the truth, repent, and then show the fruits of that repentance, then I MUST show them the act of forgiveness. I must restore our relationship and allow them to move forward in our relationship.
- What if they never repent and ask for forgiveness?
Can I hate them? Can I hold malice in my heart towards them? (Malice is the desire to see harm to come to someone because they wronged you.)
Ephesians 4:31 NKJV Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
But we must come to a place that we trust that God is the only one that can truly settle the score and we let go of that anger and malice and leave justice up to Him.
We must walk in the attitude of forgiveness towards those people, let go of any anger, malice and bitterness towards them and then leave the payback and justice up to God.
Remember, God always wants to show mercy and it is not our place to determine if He is able to that and when. We let Him determine what is the best course of action for people.