WHEN WE REALIZE THAT WE HAVE SINNED, AND WE UNDERSTAND THAT WE WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE IN LIFE FOR WHAT WE DO, WE TURN TO GOD FOR FORGIVENESS. IT IS A LOGICAL AND REASONABLE THING TO DO. BUT, HOW DO WE GET TO GOD SINCE WE ARE SINFUL, AND HE CANNOT TOLERATE US IN HIS PRESENCE ? OUR ANSWER–THE ONLY ANSWER–IS JESUS.
FORGIVENESS THROUGH CHRIST IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS THAT CAN HAPPEN TO US. WITHOUT IT, WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO HOPE ! BUT, JESUS DEMANDS SOMETHING FROM US— IF WE WANT TO BE FORGIVEN, WE MUST FORGIVE OTHERS. THIS SHOULD BE A WAY OF LIFE FOR THE TRUE CHRISTIAN. IT BRINGS NOT ONLY BLESSING FOR US, BUT FOR OTHERS, TOO.
1. FORGIVEN PEOPLE ARE HAPPY PEOPLE.
A. FORGIVING PEOPLE–WHO DO IT RIGHT–BECOME HAPPIER PEOPLE.
There are many accounts of such people in the Bible.
Psalm 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
B. THEY FORGIVE, AND THEY DON’T DWELL ON THE SINS OF OTHERS.
Readiness to forgive is an attitude which doesn’t dwell on other’s faults, but examines our own relationship with God.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
WHAT IS GOD SPEAKING OF HERE ? IN MOST AREAS OF SCRIPTURE, HE ADMONISHED PEOPLE TO REMEMBER THINGS. THERE ARE SOME THINGS WHICH SHOULD BE BRUSHED TO THE PAST AND LEFT THERE. MOSTLY THINGS THAT OFFENDED YOU. FORGIVE THEM AND LEAVE THEM AS FAR IN THE PAST AS POSSIBLE (IMPOSSIBLE TO FORGET SUCH THINGS, BUT YOU CAN RESOLVE THEM BY PUTTING THEM INTO THE PAST).
C. GOD IS READY TO FORGIVE.
Psalm 86:5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
We must be like Him, READY TO FORGIVE.
D. DON’T COLLECT IMAGINARY SINS.
One mistake teachers often make is to setup a case against any student who has misbehaved in the past. Now, most of the time, a track record is valid. We act upon their track record. BUT, what if they change ? Do we come expecting that they are going to do wrong ? Do we make them examples with warnings even before they do wrong ? This can lead to a student not responding to a teacher at all. It, in effect, is unforgiveness.
Often, people misinterpret the actions or words of someone else. But, if they are in a bad spiritual state they could quickly make the wrong conclusions, and assume that someone sinned against them.
Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
Matthew 25:24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
HE MADE A CASE AGAINST HIS MASTER WITHOUT FACTS.
2. PEOPLE WHO DO THE FORGIVING BECOME HAPPIER.
Carrying around a grudge only makes our lives miserable.
Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
WE CAN BE HAPPY KNOWING THAT WE HAVE PLEASED THE LORD IN FOLLOWING HIS EXAMPLE OF FORGIVING.
3. FORGIVENESS REQUIRES MORE THAN ONE PERSON TO BECOME EFFECTIVE.
A. FORGIVENESS IS NEEDED ONLY WHEN SOMEONE COMMITS AN OFFENCE DIRECTLY TO YOU.
Some hate a brother or sister “without cause.”
Proverbs 3:30 Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.
DON’T TAKE THE GRUDGES OR ANGER OF OTHERS AS YOUR OWN. “IF MY BEST FRIEND IS ANGRY WITH SOMEONE, I AM ANGRY AT THEM, TOO.” THE BIBLE SAYS THIS IS WRONG.
B. IT DEPENDS UPON TRUE REPENTANCE.
Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. You have a Biblical obligation to tell him the fault face to face, not behind his back.
Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
How can this be done, if the person you want to forgive is dead ?—Get it right with God. If it even matters to the person, and they are in Heaven, there is forgiveness.
C. IT DEPENDS ON THE WILLINGNESS OF THE OFFENDED PARTY.
—IT IS REQUIRED WHEN CONDITIONS ARE MET.
Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Many carry around bitterness and anger from years past. Tragic ! It affects their health, their mental state, and their relationship with God. Even Christians who carry grudges areound for even as little as a couple weeks can be negatively affected.
4. GOD’S FORGIVENESS IS WHAT COUNTS THE MOST.
WHENEVER YOU SIN, YOU SIN AGAINST GOD FIRST. SIN IS A VIOLATION OF HIS LAW. WHEN WE SEEK FORGIVENESS, WE DON’T ASK THE ANGELS TO FORGIVE US. WE HAVE TO ASK THE PERSON WE HAVE SINNED AGAINST.
FORGIVENESS GETS US ON A RIGHT COURSE WITH THE PERSON WE HAVE SINNED AGAINST. BUT, SOMETIMES WE HAVE SET IN MOTION THINGS THAT WILL COMES AGAINST US, EVEN THOUGH GOD HAS FORGIVEN US.
**Like a man robbing a store. He is caught, he goes to trial, and is found guilty. While in jail, he receives a letter from the store owner. In it, the store owner says that he has forgiven the man. So what ? It doesn’t get him out of jail any more than self– forgiveness will get you out of Hell or out of a bad relationship with the Lord.
A. HIS FORGIVENESS IS REAL & LASTING.
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
FOR US, WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF US FORGIVING OTHERS ?
PEACE, HAPPINESS, KNOWLEDGE THAT WE ARE PLEASING GOD AND MAKING ANOTHER PERSON BLESSED BY UNLOADING THAT WEIGHT FROM HIM.