Forgive? WHY? Must I?
An example of how to forgive others in our Heavenly Father and GOD’s way is demonstrated by the beloved Father in the LORD’s Parable of the prodigal son. Read the story in Luke 15:11-31 below:
11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to themhis livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[a] out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. (New KJV Bible)
How are you meeting all the wrongs done to you? An Eye for an Eye?
Have you left your church because of another member’s attitude toward you?
How many times do school teachers forgive and answer their students’ questions?
Does our Almighty God ever refuse to forgive of our sins because we knew we were not supposed to sin?
Do we love and pray for our enemies? Sometimes we argue that we do not have any enemies, yet the actions we take against those who have hurt us clearly identify them as enemies, while we may not actually use that word on them.
Consider these commandments from our Lord Jesus Christ:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” Matthew 5:43.
Sometimes, we read the Bible and deliberately skip over these scriptural commandments as if they were not in the Holy Scriptures. We harden our hearts in rebellion just as the seed that fell on the highway and was immediately driven over. We must remember that when we allow the devil to fill us with any degree of hatred, resentment and unforgiveness toward other people, we are in danger of God’s judgment and the lake of fire. :
“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.” Matthew 6:14-15.
Pause and consider this warning: Does this affect me? Am I going to pray to God to help me to obey Him so I can forgive other people, and receive His Blessings or remain stubborn and bear the consequence in hell? The unforgiving and those who practice the sins of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 4:31-32; Romans 1:29-32 and Romans 13:11-14.
Consequently, and in line with the Holy Scriptures, any Christian who practice any of following sins will not go to Heaven:
“19Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, 20Idolatry, sorcery, ENMITY, STRIFE, JEALOUSY, ANGER (ILL TEMPER), SELFISHNESS, DIVISIONS (DISSENSIONS), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), 21ENVY, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (AMPLIFIED BIBLE).
“31Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).
32And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you” (AMPLIFIED BIBLE).
“29Until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of ENVY and JEALOUSY, MURDER, STRIFE (fight, quarrel, conflict), deceit and treachery, (INTENSE) ILL WILL and CRUEL WAYS. [They were] secret BACKBITERS (speak SPITEFULLY) and GOSSIPERS,
30SLANDERERS, HATEFUL to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, (unmerciful) disobedient and undutiful to parents.
31[They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless. 32THOUGH THEY WERE FULLY AWARE OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUS DECREE THAT THOSE WHO DO SUCH THINGS DESERVE TO DIE, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them” (AMPLIFIED BIBLE).
“11Besides this you know what [a critical] hour this is, how it is high time now for you to wake up out of your sleep (rouse to reality). For salvation (final deliverance) is nearer to us now than when we first believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Christ, the Messiah). 12The night is far gone and the day is almost here. Let us then drop (fling away) the works and deeds of darkness and put on the [full] armor of light. 13Let us live and conduct ourselves honorably and becomingly as in the [open light of] day, not in reveling (carousing) and drunkenness, not in immorality and debauchery (sensuality and licentiousness), not in QUARRELING and JEALOUSY. 14But clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and make no provision for [indulging] the flesh [put a stop to thinking about the evil cravings of your physical nature] to [gratify its] desires (lusts)” (AMPLIFIED BIBLE).
If any of these sins, which certainly includes unwilling to forgive will prevent Christians from going to Heaven, what actions are we taking to ensure that we obey God?
The Lord Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him, yet He put Simon Peter in charge of starting His Church (ahead of the other disciples), and also gave him the Keys to Heaven. Moreover, the Lord Jesus Christ allowed Judas Iscariot to preach, baptize, heal people, and participate in the Holy Communion, and did not deny him love. He was waiting to see if Judas would repent as Peter. We know how Judas ended his life.
Do you still want to go to your grave without forgiving those who have caused you pain and hurt you?
We want to make it clear that we do not encourage any form of wickedness meted to anyone in any relationship or situation nor do we advocate revenge. Those who practice wickedness of any form or hurt will find themselves in the lake of fire as the rich man in Luke 16:22-31 if they do not repent and ask their victims and God for forgiveness.
Moreover, consider the amazing mercy that the Lord Jesus Christ showed when He asked the Almighty God and Father to forgive the Romans WHILE they were crucifying Him: “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34.
These are the signs that we have asked for God’s Grace to forgive our husbands, wives, friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, bosses, managers, neighbors, pastors, elders, leaders, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, grandpas, grandmas, grandchildren, and even ENEMIES:
We start treating them with love as if they have never hurt or have done anything wrong to us. This will not be easy in our own strength, but with God’s Power this is possible – Matthew 6:12-15
- We do not tell another person, even our closest friends or our Pastor what they did to us – Romans 12:10
- We do not try to remind them of the pain or hurt they caused us recently or 1, 5, 10, 15 of 25 years ago – Romans 12:14
- We do not let them feel guilty by reminding them of what they should have done – Romans 12:16
- We make a determined declaration by the Power of the Holy Spirit and the Grace of God to die to self, i.e. carry the Cross daily, and be ready to forgive again, accepting the fact that others may sometimes irritate or hurt our feelings – Matthew 16:24
- We remember them in our daily prayers that God would have mercy on them and grant them Grace, and to not count the sin against them – Romans 12:17-19
- We are to ask God to help us so we do not allow the devil to remind us of the hurt – Romans 12:20-21
“But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15
True Christians should remember the Apostle Paul’s commandments in Ephesians 4:26-27: “When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath—your exasperation, your fury or indignation—last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil—give no opportunity to him.” (Amplified Bible)
ARE YOU GOING TO FORGIVE THEM?
Do you still have any excuses for refusing to forgive? consider the consequence: heaven or hell!