Forgiveness

Why should I forgive after what he did to me?

I don’t care if she apologized.  She doesn’t deserve my forgiveness.

At one time or another, we’ve all heard someone voice these sentiments, or maybe we’ve even said them to someone else. The question is, “Does anyone deserve forgiveness?”  No!  Not your spouse or your sibling or your best friend or your neighbor or your brother-in-law or your child…or YOU!  So, then, if no one deserves forgiveness, why should anyone forgive anyone?

Psalm 86:5 says, “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”

Forgiveness begins with God.  I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

All sin is an offense against God!  Without God’s mercy and forgiveness, we stand no chance of getting into Heaven.  In referring to Jesus’ death on the cross, Ephesians 1:7 says, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”  God’s grace is a gift.  It means that He gives us something that we haven’t earned and do not deserve, such as His mercy and forgiveness.

So, then, what gives us the right to withhold our forgiveness from others?  I forgave him, and he did it again! Is there anyone who can go one day without sinning against God?  I think not.  And if you think you can, then that thought just caused you to sin because of pride.  Do you give thanks for everything on any given day?  No one does.  We all take certain things for granted.  That’s a sin, one that we commit every single day. So if God forgives us over and over again for the same things, shouldn’t we do the same for others?  How do you think God feels when He forgives us, but we won’t forgive another?  I’ll tell you how He feels.

Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”  That’s a big number.  Did Jesus intend for us to keep a record so we’d know when to stop forgiving?

In Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus tells the story of a man who refused to forgive a small debt from a fellow servant after he’d been forgiven of a huge debt from his master. His master was furious and “delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.” Then Jesus said, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” This passage clarifies verse 22 because only a few verses later, Jesus tells us to forgive everyone who sins against us.  He didn’t intend for us to keep a record.  He intended for us to forgive others the way God forgives us.

As you can see, God takes forgiveness very seriously.