Seekers is a podcast focused on answering common life questions through the infinite wisdom of God’s living word – The Holy Bible.
With pain and hurt filled eyes a friend of mine recently confided in me that she felt wronged by her neighbor. I asked for an explanation, and was told a story that certainly left an opening for a misunderstanding to have occurred. I asked my friend to call her neighbor and forgive them. She said she couldn’t do that. She told me she was right, and her neighbor was wrong. I urged her to forgive her neighbor anyways. She said she wouldn’t. I asked why? Her answer was simply, I can’t.
Can you relate? Have you ever been so hurt that the simple thought of forgiving someone makes your stomach turn? I know I’ve been there. Sometimes I was clearly in the wrong, sometimes it wasn’t clear who was in the wrong, and sometimes it seemed like I was totally right. And I didn’t want to forgive on any account, just like I’m sure many of you have felt in the past.
But we’re told forgiveness will set us free. That forgiveness will stop the bitterness from eating us alive. Yet it can seem so hard to do.
In this episode of Seekers we look at what the bible says about forgiveness, and why we have to forgive to achieve the life God has intended for us.
First and foremost we must forgive unequivocally.
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
The scripture doesn’t mince words. It doesn’t say sort of forgive, but secretly hold a grudge. Forgive a little, but stay mad for life. Forgive to look like you are the bigger person, but keep a massive grudge from now till Jesus comes back. No, it says if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. We are given a clear command to forgive ALL who we hold issue with. Remember that, because it can seem easy to forgive some, and very hard to forgive others. But God calls us to forgive all.
So what does forgiveness look like? How do we know we’ve fully forgiven someone?
Are you able to earnestly pray for their wellbeing? Are you able to think of the person without getting upset, angry, jealous, bitter, etc.? In other words, have you really let it go?
Forgiveness is neat because it’s completely in our own control. So much in life is not, and that can send someone that likes to have a firm grip on what’s going on like me into a tizzy. But this thing, forgiveness, it’s all in our control. And that’s why we have to intentionally forgive others.
But why? Why can’t we stay mad like the person I mentioned earlier? Because God calls us to act as He acted. And oh yeah, like all God’s commands for our life, they are in our own best interest. This is no different.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
We have to forgive, the scripture tells us, before we can expect forgiveness from God. We are called to forgive others so that we may be forgiven.
The world says be true to who you are and be yourself. The world likes to use grudges and the like as motivational tools. Look at me now haters. To all that did me wrong, look how good I am doing. The world wants you prideful, boastful, and completely reliant on self. But the world holds nothing of value for us (1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him).
True worth – self and otherwise – comes from God. And He calls us to humbly forgive those that have done us wrong – no matter who/what/when/where or why.
See the difference in what the world is telling us and what God is telling us? See how the enemy can use the world to confuse you into a life lacking peace and joy? You know the goodness of God by the feeling of peace He offers His followers that do as He has commanded.
So we need to forgive others in order for God to forgive us. Makes sense. But, what if we don’t know God?
How To Get Forgiveness From The Father
9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Daniel 9 tells us we rebelled against God as sinners, first John 1 tells us he is faithful (as in willing) to forgive ALL our sins if we confess them to Him, and Romans 10 tells us that by calling on Jesus we will have salvation.
In other words, we can be forgiven by the maker of heavens and earth by simply asking Jesus to come into our hearts, admit that we are sinners in need of a savior, and that we believe Jesus died and was raised from the dead three days later as the atoning lamb for our sin debt. A change in your life is a prayer away if you choose to make it today.