For some reason forgiveness seems to be a subject that a lot of people have different views on. Forgiveness causes a lot of pain, this is because they have to go back to the causes that hurt them in the first place. This is not easy. It’s not easy going through the pain again it’s stressful and tiring. Unfortunately Christians can hold grudges, when we are told to love and pray for those that hurt us. Luke 6:27-28. Some people believe, they are not worthy to be forgive, and others believe that forgiveness is not necessary because we have the Spirit of God in us.
A quick outline in the old testament.
Before the Laws of Moses came into fruition God destroyed mankind and everything on it because of their wickedness.Genesis 6:5-7 reads:
5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
God heard the Israelite’s cry and so He decided to rescue them from their oppression of 400 years and give them a way out. In Exodus 3 God called Moses for his mission to set the Israelite’s free. In Exodus 20 God gives Moses the ten commandments for the Israelite’s to have direction regarding their faith in God and how to live. Gods instructions continues with the law and how to build the tabernacle and all the equipment that will be used. Then in Leviticus God informs Moses of how the burnt offerings are to be given for certain sins to be pardoned or atoned for.
God gave the Israelite’s a way to be forgiven because He loves his people and He wanted them to succeed in all they did. They were a chosen nation. The sacrifices were not their just for rituals, they were an expression of love towards God so they could be forgiven. It was a form of worship.
We see in the old testament that God forgave sins through the sacrifices of animals and grains. It was done only by the Levites who were chosen by God as a holy tribe on behalf of the Israelite’s. Numbers 18,
7 Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”
In the new testament Jesus came to fulfil the law. It was to fulfil the law of love and sacrifice.
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil.
Jesus paid the price so we can have a personal relationship with Him and have eternal life through the forgiveness of sins. John 3:16 reads,
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
In the new testament it’s about Jesus dying on the cross for all mankind. In Romans 10:9-10 says,
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
We see that Jesus has forgiven man if they believe in Him. Believe in the Strong’s dictionary is, to trust Jesus, to commit to Jesus and to have faith in Jesus.
It clearly states in the New Testament that Jesus forgives sins. We have to take that step of faith first and ask Him and walk in Him and not in our flesh. Romans 8:1 says,
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
If we are walking in the Spirit then the attributes of God shouldn’t be hard to follow, because our spirit lines up with Gods spirit. If we are not walking in the Spirit then we will continue to fight and struggle in our lives. It goes against what God wants.
We know that God forgives sin through His son Jesus Christ. Is that the end of forgiveness? Are we to forgive others for their wrong doing against us? How do we respond to people hurting us? How do we respond to a husband or wife committing adultery? or what about physical, sexual or spiritual abuse? What about someone who gossiped about you? or stole something from you? What about if someone murders your family member? These are tough questions and it can be hard to comprehend and forgive, if you’re not walking in the Spirit.
In Matthew 6:12-15 it reads
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Three of these verses states that we should forgive those who hurt us. We need to have the same attitude as our Father has. He forgave us. It also says that if we don’t forgive, our Father in heaven will not forgive us and that means eternal damnation.
In Luke 6:37, 38 reads,
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
If you haven’t forgiven someone and you pass judgement on that person, God will use that same judgement that you use. For some people they find it hard to forgive because their focus is on themselves rather than God. They look at how much they have been hurt, and the sin that person has committed, yet they forget to look at themselves. It works both ways for the Christian. Those who sin against you, you need to forgive and those who have been the giver of the wrong needs to ask God for forgiveness.
How many times should we forgive a person if they keep hurting us? This is a tough one and later on I will walk you through some of my experiences.
In Luke 17 it says,
Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
If someone hasn’t repented then you need to rebuke him. Rebuke means to,
censure or admonish; by implication, forbid:—(straitly) charge, rebuke.
It also says in Matthew 7:1-5 states,
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
I believe Christians take this scripture out of context. Some believe that we have a right to judge someone after we have taken the plank out of our eye. The thing is, Jesus says, be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect, Matthew 5:48. We will never be perfect, we will have bad attitudes, get mad unnecessary, make the wrong decisions. That’s why Jesus died on the cross because we need to work out our salvation on a daily basis. Once the Plank has been removed from your eye then you can help the person who has a speck. Not judging; with love and compassion.
In Galatians 6:1-5 states,
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load.
The word spiritual means,
one who, regenerates, religious-spiritual one who is filled with and governed by the Spirit of God.
Another words, someone who knows the spirit of God and is led by the spirit.
Look at the story of the prodigal son. His son wanted his inheritance early, he wanted it so he could go his own way. When he returned his father welcomed him with open arms and threw a party for him. Luke 15. The Son came back and he wasn’t expecting his father to throw him a welcome back party. Jesus expects us to do the same.
Jesus explains in verse 7, I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years now. I should say I’ve been in church for over 30 years. I gave my heart to Jesus at the age of 5, filled with the spirit and water baptised all in the same year. My parents have always been elders and well-loved, so the expectations people had on me were extremely high.
In brief, I was sexually abused for 11 years. I was bullied at school, from grade 4 till year 10 or form 4. I was bi sexual from the ages of 14-19. I was smoking marijuana and 3 packets of cigarettes a day and I drank bourbon quiet heavily. I was spiritually abused and physically abused. I was in leadership for many years but I struggled spiritually, financially, with family and at church. I have also made other mistakes that has caused serious outcomes. I was a very angry person, not to the point of physical anger, I would rant and rave to those closest to me I would throw things like a 4 drawer filing cabinet. I was insecure in all that I did and it affected everything I did, work life, family life and church life. It caused a lot of heart ache, I wasn’t being the spiritual leader I was called to be. It was hard to deal with the issues that arose because I didn’t want to be looked upon as weak. It’s important for Pastors to hear the hearts of the church. They are called to be shepherds to take care of the flock not slaughter men. I say this because it’s important for Pastors and leaders to help there congregation to get closer to God, to encourage, uplift and support.
In the end of 2015 I made choices that changed my life. I lost everything I had. I tried to commit suicide and Just after I tried to commit suicide, I cried out to God and said, “I can no longer do this on my own.” When I became homeless, I was sleeping in my car. Again I cried out to God and at that moment I felt a piece within my heart. It was still going to be a long journey, I knew God is with me and He will strengthen me.
Throughout 2016 up until now God has been healing my heart. I have been able to heal because I said to God, I’ve had enough and I can’t do it on my own anymore. I’ve learnt to start letting go of things that was holding me down. God started to deal with the core issues in my life and as that happened I started to forgive those who hurt me. I also had to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made and the people I have hurt along the way. There has been many tears, tears I never thought I had. I know that God carries those tears and every tear will not be wasted. I am so at peace with God now, my spiritual life is stronger than ever. I can now read the bible without struggling and I love to study the word of God. To get to where I am now spiritually, God allowed me to get to my lowest point in my life for me to understand who God is, His love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion and Grace.
I tried to deal with these issue years ago. It was only the surface spots taken care of. The root of the problem wasn’t dealt with. At the beginning of 2016 I found an amazing church that doesn’t compromise the word of God. I remember the first few weeks, I was on the floor crying because His presence caused change in my life and I was open to receive that change. The presence of God continues to feel like a blanket, a weight that sits on me and it forces me to seek God.
God has shown me through spending time with Him, at home and at Church, how to forgive. I now know how to look at people with a heart of love and compassion. I still make mistakes. That’s when I come to the cross and work out my salvation and I walk towards Gods perfection. I know who I am in Christ. Nothing else really matters. If your willing to let go of everything in your life, you too can be at peace, even through the roughest storms. Ask God to help you to forgive as God forgives you. See if you have unforgiveness in your heart towards someone who has hurt you, then ask God to strengthen and help you walk through it. It’s important to read the bible and pray in the Spirit for Gods strength. If your sitting back and waiting for God, that wont work. You need to take the first step towards change and ask God to help.