What is forgiveness?
• Forgiveness is a cleansing which results from a confession of sin.
• Forgiveness is a full pardon from the pain and penalty of sin.
• Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is the supernatural power that breaks the chains of bitterness and brings peace and joy unspeakable.
• Forgiveness is a command, not an option. If you don’t forgive every day of your life, you will not be forgiven.
• Forgiveness is the first step toward a life of happiness, hope and healing. It is not a sign of weakness.
• Forgiveness is possible only because of the blood of Jesus Christ. You are not forgiven because God loves you, because you are sorry for your sins or because you do good things.
FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS...
An old song says it so well. “He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay.” A debt is something we owe, while a gift is free. Jesus paid the price for our sins. While His forgiveness costs us nothing, it cost Him everything.
Sin, not forgiven, manifests itself in guilt, anger and fear. Dark secrets eat away at the very soul. Continuous sin desensitizes a person’s conscience, allowing him to step further and further beyond acceptable boundaries of thought and behavior.
Just as financial debt hangs around a person’s neck like an ever-tightening noose, the debt of sin literally destroys life. But God has provided a way of escape.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” — Colossians 1:13-14
When Christ forgives our sins, they are gone. Never to be remembered again. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12) Because of our faith in His grace, then, we are to reject thoughts of guilt and condemnation once we have received our forgiveness. Forgive yourself. God has forgiven you and you must do the same.
...AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS
AS, just a small connecting word. But one that places huge responsibility on us. Forgiveness from God hinges on the condition that we be willing and obedient to forgive others. ALL others. EVERY time.
There are five reasons you must forgive others.
• You cannot be forgiven if you don’t forgive.
• Forgiveness is essential for your healing.
• Forgiveness brings forth peace of mind.
• Forgiveness destroys your enemies.
• Forgiveness can heal your broken family.
Forgive immediately. Do not wait!
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” — Matthew 6:14-15
What does it mean to genuinely forgive someone? Forgiveness is an act of your will. Not your feelings! It is a decision to completely release the other party from all responsibility for his words or actions, REGARDLESS of his remorse or lack thereof.
In other words, though the other party may not even be sorry for the offense, you must still determine in your heart not to hold anything against that person. Difficult? Absolutely.
But God understands. In Matthew 5:43-44, He explains, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
Forgiveness is a process—a battle of the mind. Thought always precedes feelings and behavior. As you consistently choose to love, do good, bless, and pray for those who have hurt you, the memories of the offense, the anger and the desire for revenge will fade. God will literally change your heart as you surrender it to Him in obedience to His commands.
Does it all make sense? Not really. God explains that too. In Isaiah 55:9, He says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
God doesn’t ask us to understand. Just to obey.