I did not write this piece; someone with whom I am friends on Facebook wrote this, and it is 100 percent true. Not only does God know that someone has not truly forgiven because he sees their heart, others can see if we have truly forgiven by how we treat those who have wronged us. I know people who are so bitter, angry and hateful, who attack and insult those who hurt them every chance they get, as if those people did nothing wrong or have never needed forgiveness, as if it is their place to remind others of their wrongs while overlooking their own. It is sad that someone lets that kind of cancer grow in their hearts. Those people are not fooling anyone or God. What is in your heart comes out. No one has the right to withhold forgiveness from others. If you want God to forgive you of your sins, and we all sin, then you must forgive others. I am not saying it is easy, but it is necessary. Refuse to hold on to feelings that will only lead to the demise of your soul and destroy you.
Forgiving Those Who Hurt Us
Forgiveness is something we, as Christians, should take very seriously. The forgiveness I am speaking of is that which we must do for others. If someone hurts us – physically or emotionally – what do we do? Do we immediately forgive them? If they ask for forgiveness, do we, really? Or do we keep a mental record of what they did, a tally of their mistakes, hurtful remarks or actions; and does it color our reactions towards them? Do we bring it all up the next time something happens? What if that person does not ask for forgiveness? Perhaps we never hear, “Forgive me”. Does that person remain, forever unforgiven, by us?
Jesus did not treat this lightly. It was imperative to Him that we understand the consequence of unforgiveness on our part. Peter broaches Jesus with the subject of forgiving a brother in Matthew 18:21-35, Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus’ reply in v. 22 gives us some idea of the extent to which we much go, ”I tell you, not as many as seven, “ Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.” My father said it this way: If you multiply, that is, 490 times; but that was Jesus’ way of saying to forgive and keep on forgiving.
Jesus then goes into to telling the parable of the king who began to settle accounts with his servants, and the servant who was unforgiving to others who were in debt to him. The word, debt, in many Scriptures Jesus uses, can be interchanged with the word, sin. To paraphrase: The king lessened and forgave the debts that his servants owed to him, and even had compassion and forgave all, to this one servant who could not pay anything. But, this same servant did not have any compassion for one in debt to him. When the king was told of this, he became extremely angry and took drastic measures when he punished him for not having compassion and forgiving as he, himself had forgiven. In verse 35, Jesus states, “ So My heavenly Father will also do to you if each of you who does not forgive his brother from his heart.”
We are given an idea of what awaits the person who does not forgive the person who has done wrong to him/her. And, also note, Jesus says, “from his heart.” It is not just saying the words, “I forgive you”. We MUST also MEAN those words in our hearts. God KNOWS our heart, so we CANNOT HIDE unforgiveness from Him! He KNOWS our hearts!! We must, cautiously and continually, remember what it tells us in Matthew 6:15, “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Jesus gave us a formula(if you will) of forgiveness, in the Lord’s Prayer, which is found in Luke 11: v. 12. Jesus says to pray, “And forgive us our sins, FOR we ourselves also forgive everyone in debt to us,…” Some translations say “as” instead of, “for”, but the meaning of “for or as”, in either case, means the same – “ while; when; at the time that:(i.e.I ask forgiveness of You, Father.)” We MUST forgive others, no matter what. We cannot come to the Father and ask forgiveness for a sin we have committed, unless we have forgiven a person, any person, who has wronged us. In Mark 11:25, we are told, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.”
God has loved us since He created us, and He has always had a plan for bringing us back to Him. That plan included His only Son, Jesus. Jesus accepted His purpose in His Father’s plan. He was the ‘willing, sinless’ sacrifice for us. He accepted that it did not matter what was done to Him as long as the Father’s plan was fulfilled. He could have written us off as unworthy, but He DID NOT. Jesus could have called His angels at any time to save Him from the shame of a Roman cross, but He DID NOT.
Because of His love for us, He wanted to make sure that the Father forgave us. That was the plan. That was His goal. He accepted the pain and agony His body felt, the shame and disgrace he suffered and the desolation and abandonment He felt, as His Father turned away leaving Him alone in His final agonizing moments of death. Jesus knew that it was the Father’s forgiveness we must have, and that was His final plea to His Father – Luke 23:34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
We also have the example of Stephen who was stoned to death. His final actions and words reflect the same example of Jesus: Acts 7:59, They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Acts 7:60, Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”
Our examples are many, and they are placed in the Scriptures to remind us we are forgiven of our sins and made right with God because of Jesus. Now, we are to forgive those who sin against us, just as we have been forgiven. …….just saying,