I now return to forgiveness in reference to other people…. on July 14, we looked at forgiveness of our sins by God….. or more specifically, our concept of the magnitude of His forgiveness.
Many times Jesus made it clear that our forgiveness by God is linked to our forgiveness of each other.
“Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath anything against thee, Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23-24)
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12)
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15)
“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your father, who is in heaven, forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:26)
“And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us.” (Luke 11:4)
“Take heed to yourselves. If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee saying, I repent; Thou shalt forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4)
Here again, our concept of the “small” and the “big” sin appears to control our forgiveness.
It could be easy to forgive a robber perhaps (after all he only took money)….. but what about a murderer (who kills one of your family members)…. how do you manage to forgive him ???
The verse “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) comes to my mind.
NOBODY wants to be placed in that position (grieving over the loss of a loved one… spouse or child) and having to “forgive” their muderer….. unfortunately (humanly speaking) this is exactly what God wants….. forgiveness, instead of anger and revenge…. amazing… but true.
But WHY…. WHY would God expect us to forgive such a person !!!!
Actually…. it is for YOUR own good… both physically and spiritually… hatred, anger, bitterness can actually destroy your body…. cause cancer, arthritis and a host of other ailments…. most people do not realize the chemical reactions that take place inside their bodies when they are overcome with such negative emotions.
Then there is the aspect of God’s forgiveness of us…. we (every one of us… by our sin) were responsible for His death….. it was our sin that nailed Him to the cross…. make no mistake, before we are “born again”…. we are HOSTILE to the Son of God… and the more that the “ordinary” person gets to know about Jesus, the more he/she hates Him….. UNLESS through REPENTANCE, the Holy Spirit gives us that “new birth” which makes “all things possible” in our lives through FAITH.
When confronted by Jesus Christ….. WHY do some persons repent and some persons revile Him ???
This is a great mystery that is not easy for us to understand…. but we know this… that God has given us all FREE WILL…. and He wants our loving obedience…. He does not want robots…. in fact, He wants our loving obedience so much… that He is prepared to destroy the rest of mankind and His beautiful creation (this world) in order to have His SAINTS… servants… followers… ADORING WORSHIPPERS live in PARADISE.
AND YET…. in a very real sense….. mankind is destroying THEMSELVES…. by rejecting GOD’s ways and His person…. they have condemned themselves to their own destruction…… GOD is FOREVER JUST and FOREVER HOLY.
Without GOD… mankind will destroy themselves and this planet and all the while blaming God for everything under the sun….. EVIL has always had within it the SEEDS of it’s own DESTRUCTION.
GOD is ETERNALLY …… JUST, RIGHTEOUS and HOLY….. and BLESSED is the man/woman who can SEE this…. and love Him with their whole heart, mind, will and emotions.