Today we continue with the theme of repentance. Yesterday we spoke about the ability to forgive those who have wronged us. We must ask ourselves, “Are we able to love God enough to forgive those that have hurt us, just as He commanded? Are we able to release pent-up anger or grudges against them? Can we forgive like Jesus forgives?”
Forgive to be Forgiven
In Matthew 6:15 Jesus shares these sobering words, But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, wrote what he believed to be the most unpopular Christian rule: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” He went on to explain, “Because in Christian morals ‘thy neighbor’ includes ‘thy enemy,’ and so we come up against this terrible duty of forgiving our enemies… Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”
forgiveness is grace
The Unforgiving Servant
Think of the story of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35. The King forgives a debt so huge; one that his servant would not have been able to repay over his entire lifetime. This servant begged for mercy and experienced the love, grace, compassion and forgiveness of a benevolent king. Yet when it was his turn to offer that same forgiveness to someone who owed him only a tiny sum, his heart grew cold and he refused. Instead, he threw him into prison, ignoring his cries for mercy. When the King found out what he had done, his anger was kindled, and he punished him by giving him the punishment he so deserved. Thus, Jesus’ warning,, If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Forgiveness is often a litmus test God often uses before releasing men and women into ministry. This is such an important principle and ties into all our themes thus far. The act of forgiveness involves Grace, Love, Compassion and Repentance. The themes or as some refer, the unshakeables for the Prayer Covenant are interwoven, as you will find when we continue on to Commitment, Dependence (Holy Spirit), Influence, Discipleship and Authority. Grace is foundational for forgiveness. Because of God’s limitless grace, boundless love and compassion, He extends His forgiveness to us. But that is only the beginning. When we recognize the magnitude of our own sin and selfishness, when we see how we fall short in the presence of a perfect, Holy and pure Savior, how can we be unwilling to forgive someone who has sinned against us? To love as God does, we must also be willing to extend His forgiveness to others. Make it so Lord.