Our relationship with Jesus starts with forgiveness. When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus taught them, “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The first word Jesus said on the cross is, “Father forgive them”. Forgiveness is such a beautiful word in our vocabulary. It really is! How much pain and unhappiness could be avoided if all of us know how to forgive? God has designed our life to live with people. They may be our family, friends, neighbors and relatives influencing and impacting our lives. Some are nice to us but some are not. However be the situation, God wants us to live a life of forgiveness on a continual basis. When the disciples asked Jesus how many times they should forgive, Jesus said seventy times seven. That is a lot of times. In effect, Jesus said you have to make forgiveness a lifestyle. Forgiveness is an attitude.
We would have wished that those who have hurt us, realize that they need to ask for forgiveness. You know what? They normally are the people who don’t realize the need to be forgiven. Have you had those memories of the offenses even if years have gone by? I have had those memories that come and go even after many years. But the Lord has given me the grace to forgive people and I feel better after I let go of the offenses.
Jesus said, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins,” (Matthew 6:14-15)
Humility is the key to forgiveness. Forgiveness actually starts with humility. We must humble ourselves and be like Christ in any given situation. We got to forgive others for our own good. It is basically we who hurt more than the person who hurt us as long as we hold on to the grudge and resentment. So be quick to act! The longer you harbor the resentment, the harder it gets for you to forgive.
Surrender yourself to the Lord one hundred percent. You may be right in the matter. But surrender the right to be right. We read in Colossians 3:13 that, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Some of us carry unforgiveness and bitterness with us and that becomes a heavy weight. God wants us to be free of all that tremendous baggage that we might be carrying around. Make a decision to leave it at the cross of Calvary. Never try to sweep it under a rug. When you do that, the unforgiving attitude pops up.
Let go of the desire to see your adversary come to justice. This is something we need to work on. We should love the other person with the love of God. That is why Jesus asked us to bless the one that curses us. It is not easy. But with God all things are possible.
How do you forgive?
Now let us come to our part in the whole process. We need to confess hatred, anger, self-pity and vengeance. Go to the cross of Calvary and confess all that is in you that is not appropriate to harbor.
Repent and ask the Lord Jesus to wash all the stains that may be there in your heart. Ask the Lord for a cleansing stream.
Bless the one who wronged you. Jesus said in Matthew 5: 43-47, “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, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
To bless your adversary, you have to go that extra mile but when you do that you always feel it is worth it.
When we forgive as God forgives, there is an immediate and complete change in relationships. There is love and acceptance in the place of hated and rejection. Instead of hostility, there is friendship. 2 Corinthians 5:19 says, “reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them”.
In these last days, Satan is throwing his best shot at believers to cause division. We, the blood bought believers should not be ashamed to ask for forgiveness and be ready to forgive. That will keep the unity among God’s children and will give God the glory.
May the Lord give us the grace to forgive as Christ forgave us in Jesus name. Amen.