If there is one part of the Gospel and one part of the Lord’s prayer (we are looking at this in
Men’s breakfast), that I and others struggle with, it’s that whole area of forgiving others and
what it looks like and how to do it. I’ve seen it again and again in relationship breakdowns be
that marriages, parent child, sibling relationships. I can’t forgive, how can God ask me to?
Forgiving others may seem to be a choice, and in one sense it is a choice, but God has been
very clear about forgiveness. He has given us specific direction in numerous Scriptures, all of
which can be summed up in just one word -- forgive! God's Word says, "And when you stand
praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may
forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25). "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not
condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven" (Luke 6:37).
God is saying that it is in our own best interest to forgive! He is not talking about what is in
the best interest of the person who needs to be forgiven. We are the ones who God is trying
to protect. We are the ones who receive the most benefit from forgiveness, not the other
person. A spirit of unforgiveness complicates and compromises our walk with God. Forgiving
others releases us from anger and allows us to receive the healing we need. The whole
reason God has given us specific direction is because He does not want anything to stand
between us and Him. God's love for us is beyond our comprehension. Forgiving others spares
us from the consequences of living out of an unforgiving heart.
Forgiving others does not carry with it a single decision that we need to ponder. God has not
qualified one sin as being more grievous to Him than another and He has not qualified one sin
committed against us as warranting forgiveness and another not. For example, God is not
saying, "If a person lies to you or steals from you, you should forgive him, but if they do
something worse, you can hold them in unforgiveness." He is saying to forgive everyone,
Forgiving others often starts as a decision of surrender-an act of our will. This surrender
invites God to begin working in our lives in a deeper level, allowing God to heal us. We need
to make the choice to be open to forgiveness and reconciliation.
Remember, forgiveness does not justify the deed or the person, it does not provide God's
forgiveness for their actions, because only God can do that. While nothing can undo the past,
we can do something about the condition of our own present and future. Forgiving others
makes a way for our own healing to begin.
It’s hard and of course it revolves around the extent we have been forgiven and how we live
As we learn what it’s like to be forgiven, we begin to discover that it is possible to forgive
others. As we start inhaling God’s fresh air there a good chance we will start to breathe it out
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