FORGIVE AND FORGET  - WHY? WHY??  WHY???

 

Luke 11:1-7

This is the Lord's prayer. I am thrilled by the statement which says "forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" This is a two way process. you forgive others so that you be forgiven also.

 

It is not easy to forgive. On the cross Jesus crucified, He said "Father forgive them for they know not what they do". David also uttered almost the same words when Saul sought for His life. He said He would not kill the anointed of God. Stephen when stoned by the Jews He prayed that the Lord should not count their sin on them.

 

Do you think it was easy to say these words. Only those who spend time with the Lord Jesus in fasting, praying, reading the word and telling others about Jesus can forgive.

 

Paul said I oppress my body so that I don't sin before the Lord. Why is it then difficult to forgive? Ask God to help you out of your pride. It is pride that hinders people to forgive others. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up. Learn to forgive and forget from the mighty Jesus.

 

Remember that the heart of God is full of mercy. The children of Israel would rebel against God time and again but God will forgive them. They made a calf to worship other than God. God became very angry and refused to walk with them because He would destroy all them along. Moses pleaded and God changed from His intention.

 

Jonah went to Tarshish because He feared that God will change from what He was sending him to proclaim.God demonstrated the compassion He has for dying souls by destroying a plant He had erected to protect Jonah. He stressed that He loves everything He has created. so what makes it difficult for us to forgive that which we have not made?

 

What do we punish that which God has cleansed?

 

Remember that by the same measure you judge others you will also be judged? If you forgive people their sins God will also forgive your sins

 

Well the Lord, who created everything and did nothing but good, forgives us ,though we have wounded him in several of our sinful ways. So lets forgive all those who have played tricks, harm and other bad things inspite you were so good, truthful and helpful to those people.

 

 

Conditional Forgiveness

Mat 6:12 (TEB) "Forgive us the wrongs that we have done, as we forgive the wrongs others have done us."

 

Luke 6:37 (NIV) "...Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

 

Mat 6:14-15 (NIV) "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

 

Sin Is Only Human...

  What is natural to "the flesh" (the carnal nature) when we have been hurt or abused or insulted is to strike back, to plot revenge, or to simmer in bitterness. This is "only human". But God requires forgiveness, else He will NOT forgive us. If we are unwilling--or unable--to forgive, then there is no use asking God for what He has told us He will not give. For believers, dealing with the sin of unforgiveness is first priority.

 

Mark 11:25 (NIV) "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

 

  As a way to test the veracity of the following points, let us consider forgiveness in the most radical sense we can. Think of something truly wicked that has been done to you or someone you love, not by accident or error but deliberately and with malice--where you have come right up against evil and the pain caused by it in your own emotions.

 

1) What Forgiveness Is Not: Play Acting For Show...

  Remember when as a child you were forced by some adult to "forgive" someone who was first forced to "say sorry" to you? Is this really repentance by the perpetrator... or forgiveness by the victim? Well, perhaps so--in a few rare cases. But let us be honest and acknowledge that this charade by children is more often a temporary cessation of hostilities for the sake of the grown-ups, with the full intent to do more of the same violence (and not get caught) and/or get revenge later--when beyond the adult's watchful eye.

 

  Adults force children through this ritual because strife in a family or group of kids is an unbearable pain; and they want to teach. Play-acting does give at least a temporary reprieve. But God's pain is more acute when He sees our strife with each other, and His solution aims a little deeper than mere words or mimicry or delay or coating over. For He is aiming not at hypocritical play-acting, but at truth from the inside out.

 

  This childish pantomime of "forgiveness" often carries into adulthood as a superficial substitute for the real thing. We think by "saying so", it is so. But is God fooled by such? Is there ever a place where we can escape His penetrating gaze? Does He not see the secret meditation of revenge or the bitter hatred behind the nice smile? Since when is He impressed with mere words when hearts do not match?

 

Mark 7:6 (Phi) Jesus replied, "You hypocrites, Isaiah described you beautifully when he wrote: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.' These teachings are but rules made by men."

 

2) Is Denial Forgiveness?

  The inability to really forgive is often due to a false concept that "forgetting is forgiving". Forgetting is NOT forgiving. To be sure, if we forgive we will forget as a result. But the reverse is not true: forgetting is not forgiving--it is denial.

 

Ps 51:6 (NAS) Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being...

 

  If we attempt to achieve a bogus forgiveness by deliberately putting "out of mind" the offense, we might be fooling ourselves and others that we have "forgiven". But all of the emotions and plots and hurt are still there--only held back by force of will in deliberated denial. But then we see "that person" again and all the bitterness and pain rise up again within us. Or, in the off moment--when such mental gymnastics cannot be maintained--we catch ourselves in an elaborate meditation of revenge or fit of rage and anger. Then we see just how deep and effective this sort of "forgiveness" is.

 

  A mind "bent" by denial has a nasty habit of "snapping back" in the worst of moments.

 

1 Jn 2:9 (Wey) Any one who professes to be in the light and yet hates his brother is still in darkness.

 

  Denial is merely a delusion: flimsy, fake, and shallow. Forgiveness is real: robust and solid and deep. It is not an avoiding of the truth, but a dealing with it squarely, however painful.

 

  Consider God's perspective. Nothing is hidden from His sight: the evil intent, the hidden lust, the damage done, the choosing of that which is wrong, etc. And yet He is the author and originator of forgiveness. If we are going to really forgive, we are going to have to do it His way: with our eyes open.

 

  For those God chooses to forgive, He will "forget" their sins, "remembering them no more". But let us not accuse the omniscient God of not knowing something or of being ignorant of any fact. He has told us that nothing is beyond His sight. Rather let us understand the "figure of speech" and spiritual dynamic of how God forgives.

 

Heb 8:12 (NIV) "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

 

  The order here is essential. Forgiveness first, forgetting second. Until real forgiveness takes place, the offense is "in our faces" as regards that person, and it is the same with God. The sin comes between us, and cannot be "forgotten" until dealt with. If and when we enter into true forgiveness, we can then regard the person without the "offense" looming first and foremost between us.

 

Isa 43:25 (NIV) "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."

 

3) Impediments To Forgiveness: The Lure Of Sin

  Another impediment to forgiveness is that bitterness, revenge, hatred, etc. have a perverted sort of appeal. Who has not felt the intoxicating lure of a grandiose meditation of scorching retribution? While we know this is wrong, it sure is great fun in the moment to fondle such thoughts.

 

Eph 4:26-27,31 (NIV) "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold... Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

 

4) Vengeance Is The Lord's... But Only If He Acts As My Agent?

Rom 12:19 (NIV) Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

 

  Surely God has more power to pour wrath on our enemies than we do, and He surely sees the evil done all to clearly. So the thought may strike us to let Him do the dirty work. But when we think this through, it may not turn out as the carnal man within us might like. For let us face the plain fact that God has this habit of forgiving people and extending great mercy, at least for the time being.

 

  So... we may not see fire from heaven come down to consume those we wish would receive God's vengeance. It is not that He is letting them off by some magic or deflection of mind, it is just that He may take the painful punishment Himself.

 

Prov 24:17 (NAS) Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.

 

Mat 5:44-45 (NEB) "But what I tell you is this: love your enemies and pray for your persecutors; only so can you be like children of your heavenly Father, who makes his sun rise on good and bad alike, and sends the rain on the honest and the dishonest. If you love only those who love you, what reward can you expect? Surely the tax-gatherers do as much as that. And if you greet only your brothers, what is there extraordinary about that? Even the heathen do as much. There must be no limit to your goodness, as your heavenly Father's goodness knows no bounds."

 

  Let us "count the cost" of letting God deal with our "enemies". He may bless them, prosper them, and save their eternal souls, rather than strike them dead with a lightning bolt. For this is what God is like, and what He is "up to" just now. And this may not satisfy our sense of what should happen. If we "let go and let God", He may well forgive and bless and love those we have plotted against and smoldered in hatred for, and even give us this same "foolish" (1 Cor 1:25) mindset.

 

Luke 17:3-5 (Phi) "So be careful how you live. If your brother offends you, take him to task about it, and if he is sorry, forgive him. Yes, if he wrongs you seven times in one day and turns to you and says, 'I am sorry' seven times, you must forgive him. And the apostles said to the Lord, 'give us more faith.'"

 

5) Is Real Forgiveness Humanly Possible?

  It has been said, "To err is human, to forgive divine." There is a truth in this.

 

Luke 7:49 (GLT) And those reclining with Him began to say within themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"

 

  For what "seems right to a man" (Prov 16:25) is revenge. If the offense is not avenged, will not the perpetrator be sanctioned in his behavior to do more of the same? What about justice and fairness? Does forgiveness even "work" at a mere human level? What would happen to our society if everyone REALLY did this? Is "loving our enemies" something that appeals to our sensibilities? Does it even make any sense to the natural man?

 

Which Is Easier?

  Perhaps the greatest impediment to forgiveness is the idea that we could actually do it on our own, that it is a human quality. Consider that we are as capable, and likely, to supernaturally heal someone in our own strength... as to be able to forgive them. For which is easier?

 

Mat 9:5-6 (NIV) Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home."

 

What Only God Can Do

  When God says we should do something that is reasonably within our power, then we can mistake our own carnal self-efforts for Spirit-led obedience. But when we hear Him say something impossible or impractical like "be perfect" (Mat 5:48) we despair and realize that it will only be by grace that we are saved, through faith in Him who alone has the qualities God requires. For this is "God stuff" we are talking about here. If "perfection" is not given to us from Christ, we will never get it on our own.

 

John 15:5 (NKJ) "...For without Me you can do nothing."

 

  On the scale of things Jesus told us we must do, perhaps just below His demand of "perfection" as being impossible to attain in our own resources... is forgiveness.

 

  Let us recognize that only God can forgive. It is not humanly possible. If we "get it" at all, it will be by God's very nature being imputed to us. And right here is the secret to real forgiveness. It is divine.

 

Luke 5:20-21 (NIV) When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

 

  Experiencing God

It is assumed that every believer will have had some experience at true forgiveness, even if vicariously though a movie or book or story. And in the range of human emotion, true forgiveness ranks as one of the sweetest and most pleasurable that a human can feel. Corrie Ten Boom called this after-effect of forgiveness "a flood of joy and peace". The burden of bitterness is removed, there is a supernatural "rightness" to it, conflict is replaced with resonance, and love floods in where hatred once ruled. This is no accident, it is the very nature of God coursing through us. It is grace at work. For the only way to truly forgive is to have His life in us. All else is play-acting, denial, or capitulation to sin.

 

May we be encouraged all the more to this aspect of "Christ in us", now that we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.

 

While many Christians are off chasing bogus revivals and spiritual hucksters making self-claims to be "anointed" or chasing some wind of doctrine to get some splash of spiritual thrill, what often goes untried is God's way of obedience. Want to experience God? FORGIVE. Want to feel His presence and power coursing through your body in a thrilling moment of supernatural encounter? Forgive.

 

What Comes Naturally To The Spirit In Us

Mat 6:12 (NIV) Forgive us our debts, AS WE also have forgiven our debtors.

 

  In other words, this forgiveness stuff should be expected as normal and intuitive for Christians. And it is. As an analogy, grace working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit is like water pressure from a faucet, where we are a hose through which that water should flow. If we are attached, the power is not ours; but the waters of life can course in and through us as we are connected to the source.

 

  Occasionally, though, forgiveness can become elusive--even seemingly impossible. The hose has gotten "kinked" somehow. It is not as if God has failed, or that we do not know better, or what should happen, we just cannot, for some reason, enter into obedience. If this is the case, here is some practical Biblical advice to again find the flow of God's nature and Spirit in and through you. For the way of forgiveness should be "second nature" for those born again.

 

Remember What We Have Been Forgiven From!

Mat 18:21-27 (NIV) Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go."

 

Mat 18:28-35 (NIV) "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow-servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. His fellow-servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow-servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

 

  Where this servant failed, then, is in FORGETTING the merciful treatment His master gave him. He FORGOT the great sin he was forgiven of.

 

2 Pet 1:9 (NAS) ...For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

 

  Let us not make the same mistake. Let us make sure to remember our salvation from former sins, even if it means some people (who think they are serving God!) accuse us of being "negative".

 

  Various people and teachers will have various opinions and advice about forgiveness. But by Biblical revelation, not remembering appears to be the MAJOR reason for "kinking" the supernatural flow of forgiveness in our lives. Are we less in need of forgiveness than those we are judging and holding in unforgiveness? Really? Have we so quickly forgotten the great mercy God has shown us when we needed it?

 

Luke 18:9-14 (NIV) To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God..."

 

Mat 5:21-22 (NIV) "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment..."

 

1Sam 16:7 (NIV) ...The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

 

Authorized By Grace... We Can Do What God Does

Col 3:12-13 (Jer) You are God's chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same.

 

1 Pet 2:21-23 (NEB) To that you were called, because Christ suffered on your behalf, and thereby left you an example; it is for you to follow in his steps. He committed no sin, he was convicted of no falsehood; when he was abused he did not retort with abuse, when he suffered he uttered no threats, but committed his cause to the One who judges justly.

 

1 Pet 3:9 (NEB) Do not repay wrong with wrong, or abuse with abuse; on the contrary, retaliate with blessing, for a blessing is the inheritance to which you yourselves have been called.

 

Luke 6:27-37 (NRS) "But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you... Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same... But love your enemies, do good... and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful... Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

 

Eph 4:31-32 (Phi) Let there be no more bitter resentment or anger, no more shouting or slander, and let there be no bad feeling of any kind among you. Be kind to each other, be compassionate. Be as ready to forgive others as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.

 

Heb 12:15 (Jer) Be careful that no one is deprived of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness should begin to grow and make trouble; this can poison a whole community.

 

Rom 12:17-21 (Phi) Don't pay back a bad turn by a bad turn, to anyone. See that your public behavior is above criticism. As far as your responsibility goes, live at peace with everyone. Never take vengeance into your own hands, my dear friends: stand back and let God punish if he will. For it is written: "It is mine to avenge, I will repay," says the Lord. And it is also written: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Don't allow yourself to be overpowered by evil. Take the offensive--overpower evil with good!

 

But God can't forgive me.

 

Many People think that they are to sinful for God to forgive, or that they need to get their life straightened out before they come to Him.  There is only one sin that God can not forgive and that is the sin of not asking for forgiveness.  The Bible says "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."(1 John 1:9 NIV)  If you ask and mean it in your heart then He forgives.  Since God is the only one who can truly straighten out our lives we should not put it off until we think we are good enough for God.  The Bible says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast." (Eph 2:8&9 NIV)  God is the one that changes our lives and not us, all we do is ask.

 

What is repentance?

 

Repentance is connected with asking for forgiveness.  Repentance is when we decide to quit doing things our way and start doing them Gods' way.  Repentance is not feeling sorry, or guilty, repentance is a decision to change the direction of our life.

 

  Let Us Follow Jesus

John 5:19 (NKJ) Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner."

 

  Thus the emphasis that forgiveness is not humanly possible. Can we really look at the evil done, and the hurt inflicted, and at the SAME TIME feel no desire to strike back and actually feel love for the perpetrator? We are not talking about play-acting here, but really. Well, if this happens, then it will be a miracle.

 

  Only God can forgive. Let us have His life and qualities and feelings coursing through us, rather than that which leads to death.

 

  In this sense, and most vividly, the Scripture rings true.

 

John 15:5 (NIV) "...If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

 

  God's Original Idea And Prerogative

Gen 15:19-21 (NAS) But Joseph said to them [his brothers who had sold him into captivity], "Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

 

Mat 18:18 (NAS) "Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."

 

Acts 7:59-60 (NRS) While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he died.

 

The Authority To Forgive

Ps 51:4 (NAS) [King David:] "Against You, You only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Your sight."

 

  Really? What about Uriah, Bathsheba, and their families? Was David being daft here, or was he piercing through to a spiritual truth? For all offense is ultimately to God, and thus all forgiveness must come from Him as well. If we see this, and acknowledge Him, then we can flow in forgiveness all the more.

 

Christ In Us: Love And Forgiveness Instead Of Hatred And Bitterness

1 Jn 2:5-6 (NIV) But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

 

1 Jn 3:24 (NIV) Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

 

Is Prayer (Or Some Other Distraction) a Sin When Forgiveness Is Required?

James 4:17 (NIV) Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.

 

Luke 6:46 (NRS) "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I tell you?"

 

Breaking The Cycle...

1 Thes 5:15 (Phi) Be sure that no one repays a bad turn with a bad turn; good should be your objective always, among yourselves and in the world at large.

 

John 6:63 (NRS) "It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."

 

  We all, from time to time, get "in the flesh". When we have gone through seasons where we have been rather "fleshly" in our instincts (judged by fruit; Gal 5:22, Eph 5:9) we have a discipline that we use that might be of help: During these times, whatever your fleshly instincts tug you to do, do rather the EXACT OPPOSITE. (If you feel like running, stand your ground. If you feel like slugging, give a hug instead. If you wish evil for the person, give them some money or a nice present. If you feel like complaining or venting, think of an honest compliment instead.) Essentially, this is like nailing rampant flesh to the cross in a violent act.

 

  It is much better, to be sure, to have the life of Christ naturally flowing through us. But if/when "the flesh" is winning the day, give it a body blow by ACTIVELY doing just the opposite of what the carnal man would desire. It may sound crazy (and may well be) but be open to the Spirit's leading in this way in the future. The idea is not to be hypocritical, but rather to allow ourselves to be jolted back into the life of Christ.

 

Rom 8:6.13 (NAS) For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace... for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

 

2 Cor 7:1 (NAS) Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

 

Rom 12:21 (NIV) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Forgiveness

 

Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:38; 22:16; Rom. 10:10; 1 Pet. 3:21          A person who is not a Christian must believe, repent, confess Jesus, and be baptized for the remission of his sins.

 

Acts 8:22-24; 1 Jn. 1:9- 2:2        Christians who sin must repent, pray, and confess their sins for forgiveness. Jesus Christ is their Advocated with the Father.

 

Christians who sin must pray in faith for God to forgive them (Ja. 1:6; 5:15).

 

Matt. 6:12         God forgives us as we forgive others (cf. Matt. 18:21-35; Mk. 11:25-26).

 

Lk. 17:3            If our brother repents, we must forgive him.

 

Col. 3:13           We must forgive a person who sins against us, as Christ forgave us.

 

Galatians 6:1 My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill.

 

Proverbs 29:23 A person's pride will bring humiliation, but one who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

 

 Mark 11:25 "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses."

 

I John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

 

Colossians 3:13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

 

James 5:15-16 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

 

Proverbs 28:13 No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

 

Luke 17:3-6 Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, "I repent,' you must forgive." The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

 

Acts 5:31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

 

Acts 17:30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

 

Acts 26:20 But declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance.

 

II Corinthians 12:21 I fear that when I come again, my God may humble me before you, and that I may have to mourn over many who previously sinned and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and licentiousness that they have practiced.

 

II Corinthians 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.

 

 GOD FORGIVES US

 

Who has forgiven us in Eph. 4:32 and Col. 3:13? ____________________________

How many of our trespasses are forgiven? Col. 2:13, Ps. 103:3 ______________

What happened to our sins? Col. 2:14 _______________________________________

Through what do we have forgiveness of sins? Eph. 1:7 ______________________

What happens if we confess our sins? I John 1:9, Ps. 32:5 __________________

How far has God removed our transgressions from us? Ps. 103:12 _____________

Does God remember our sins? Jer. 31:34 ____________

What two things do those who are sanctified by faith in Christ receive? Acts 26:18 ______________________________________________________________________

 

WE FORGIVE OTHERS

 

What did Jesus want God the Father to do? Luke 23:34 _______________________

What are we to do if we have anything against anyone? Mark 11:25 ___________

What are we not to do in Rom. 12:19?________________________________________

Why are we not to avenge ourselves? Rom. 12:19 _____________________________

How often are we to forgive someone? Matt. 18:21-22 ________________________

Do you think you have forgiven someone if you keep track of how many times

you have forgiven them? _________________

If your brother sins against you and he repents what are we to do? Luke 17:3  ___________

What are we commanded to do in Luke 6:36? __________________________________

In what way are we to forgive others? Eph. 4:32, Col 3:13 __________________

What is the glory of a man? Prov. 19:11 ____________________________________

How are we to treat those who are nasty toward us? Matt 5:44 _______________

Should we forgive seeing how much God has forgiven us? Matt. 18:23-35 ______

What happens when we forgive others? Matt. 6:14 ____________________________

What happens when we do not forgive others? Matt. 6:15 _____________________

 

Forgiveness, it's not the easiest thing to give--especially if you forget your own imperfections.

 

Jesus told a story in Matthew 18 about a servant who was forgiven a great debt by his master. This man, however, refused to forgive a small debt that a fellow servant owed him. That made the master so angry that he turned the unforgiving servant over to the authorities to be punished. Jesus ended this parable by warning in verse 35, "So my heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."

 

You may get angry at people around you and not want to forgive them, but don't forget the Bible says God has forgiven you of every sin you've ever committed. Can't you do the same to others? Read your Bible and get a new perspective on life.

 

Forgiveness of Injuries:

 

           Christ set an example of

 

(Luke 23:34)

 

           Commanded

 

(Mark 11:25; Romans 12:19)

 

           To be unlimited

 

(Matthew 18:22; Luke 17:4)

 

           A characteristic of saints

 

(Psalms 7:4)

 

           MOTIVES TO

 

            The mercy of God

 

(Luke 6:36)

 

            Our need of forgiveness

 

(Mark 11:25)

 

            God's forgiveness of us

 

(Ephesians 4:32)

 

            Christ's forgiveness of us

 

(Colossians 3:13)

 

           A glory to saints

 

(Proverbs 19:11)

 

           SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY

 

            Forbearance

 

(Colossians 3:13)

 

            Kindness

 

(Genesis 45:5-11; Romans 12:20)

 

            Blessing and prayer

 

(Matthew 5:44)

 

           Promises to

 

(Matthew 6:14; Luke 6:37)

 

           No forgiveness without

 

(Matthew 6:15; James 2:13)

 

           Illustrated

 

(Matthew 18:23-35)

 

           Exemplified

 

            Joseph

 

(Genesis 50:20,21)

 

            David

 

(1 Samuel 24:7; 2 Samuel 18:5; 19:23)

 

            Solomon

 

(1 Kings 1:53)

 

            Stephen

 

(Acts 7:60)

 

            Paul

 

(2 Timothy 4:16)

 

FORGIVENESS

 

-OF ENEMIES Ex 23:4, 5; Pr 19:11; 24:17, 29; 25:21, 22; Ec 7:21; Mt 5:7, 6:12, 39-41, 43-48; 14, 15; 18:21-35; Mr 11:25, 26; Lu 6:27-37; 11:4; Ro 12:14, 17:3, 4; 17, 19-21; 1Co 4:12, 13; Eph 4:32; Col 3:13; Phm 1:10-18; 1Pe 3:9

 

.See ENEMY

 

-INSTANCES OF .Esau forgives Jacob Ge 33:4, 11 .Joseph forgives his brothers Ge 45:5-15; 50:19-21 .Moses forgives the Israelites Nu 12:1-13 .David forgives Saul 1Sa 24:10-12; 26:9, 23; 2Sa 1:14-17 .David forgives Shimei 2Sa 16:9-13; 19:23; with 1Ki 2:8, 9 .Solomon forgives Adonijah 1Ki 1:53 .The prophet of Judah forgives Jeroboam 1Ki 13:3-6 .Jesus forgives his enemies Lu 23:34

 

-OF SINS .See SIN, FORGIVENESS OF

 

The Bible on Forgiveness

 

Definition of Bitterness : Holding onto or showing feelings of intense animosity, resentment or vindictiveness. Other words that describe it are : merciless, unforgiving, holding a grudge. Bitterness is also described as feelings resulting from something that is difficult to accept.

 

1.         God's Word warns us against the dangers of bitterness.

 

"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;"(He 12:15)

 

"Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."(Acts 8:22-23)

 

"Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them."(Col 3:19)

 

"But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth."(James 3:14)

 

2.         Do not carry or keep bitterness, but replace it with love, kindness and forgiveness.

 

"Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."(Lev 19:18)

 

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."(Eph 4:31-32)

 

"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."(Mt 6:14-15)

 

In His parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus made it clear that we will suffer if we refuse to sincerely forgive our brethren. "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."(Mt18:35)

 

"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."(1Pe 4:8)

 

3.         If you allow bitterness a place in your heart, it will eventually come out of your mouth in murmuring and complaining.

 

"Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul."(Job 7:11)

 

4.         The Lord, in His love, can deliver you from the sin of bitterness.

 

"Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back."(Isa 38:17)

 

5.         Since bitterness stems from feelings of anger and an unforgiving attitude towards others, here are some more solutions from the Word on how to avoid it.

 

" let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil."(Eph 4:26-27)

 

"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought 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."(Mt 5:23-24)

 

"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."(Col 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,"(Phil 3:13)

 

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."(Ro 12:2)

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;"(Eph 4:23)

 

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."(Ro 8:28)

 

 An Eye for An Eye, Tooth for Tooth

 

If your child punched another child in the face and knocked out his tooth, what would you do? If your neighbor scratched your car, what would you do? Some people read the passage of Scripture in Exodus 21:24 and in Deut. 25:11-12 and conclude that they should give back in kind. After all, doesn't the Bible say, "...eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.." etc??It is easy to misunderstand this passage. The passage of Exodus 21:15-35 is not a passage for individual conduct. It is a passage for the government of Israel and its judges. It contains a statement of the principle of fairness and a limit on retaliation. In the Latin language it is called "lex tallionis" or the law of retaliation.Jesus quoted it in the sermon on the mount because in His day it had also become misunderstood. People were applying it personally in their every day lives. Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, 'Do not resist injuries ("evil" in KJV), but whoever strikes you on the right cheek turn to him the other as well'" (Matt. 5:38-29 Modern Language Version).Was Jesus abolishing the government's right to punish evil? The Apostle Paul did not understand Jesus' words this way. In fact in Romans 13:4 Paul states that the governmental authorities are to retaliate against evil and we are to be subject to them and show appropriate respect.But in the passage (Rom. 12:17-21) which comes before Romans 13, Paul parallels Jesus' words about not avenging ourselves. And where did Paul and Jesus get their principles? Probably from Proverbs 20:22 and 24:29. Here's what it says: "Do not say, 'I will repay evil'; wait for the LORD and He will save you." And again, "Say not, 'As he did to me, so I will do him; I will repay a man according to his deeds.'"We know that God will repay and He will avenge. "Vengeance is mine" says God. And in the end, what principle will God use to repay?? It is the principle of fairness expressed in the law of retaliation. See Col. 3:25; Matt. 7:2; Luke 6:38; and Psalms 7:16.God is a God of justice. Governments should administer fair and just punishment. But in our personal lives, we must not seek revenge and pay back as our primary principle of conduct. Paul says, "Do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good." Therefore,"If you enemy hunger, feed him. If he thirst, give him drink." See Romans 12:17-21. Vengeance is always dangerous. First it involves wrath, anger and hatred. When these emotions are involved, there will be a tendency to overdo it and retaliate far more than is just. We don't want to be Lamech's children (Gen. 4:24). We want to be the children of God who forgive 70 times 7!

 

INSIGHT INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND RETALIATION

 

Should we retaliate every time someone wrongs us? Should we seek retribution every time someone offends us or causes us grief or pain? Should you legally pursue payment every time someone wrongs you and you have a legal right to do so? Can we say for certain that the will of God is that we always retaliate for the wrong that is done to us? We will find that it is indeed not the will of God that we seek retribution for being wronged for every situation. Sometimes what is right is not the right thing to pursue. Sometimes justice is not the optimal thing to seek even though it appears to be the just thing.

 

We are going to examine the law of "an eye for an eye" relative to retaliation. We will then use the information gained to help us govern our lives particularly during those situations when we are wronged by someone else. Our main text will be Matthew 5:38-42.

 

Matthew 5:38 (NKJV) 38"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'

 

The "eye for an eye" and "tooth for a tooth" are part of the widespread ancient Near Eastern law of retaliation. In Israel and other cultures, this principle was enforced by a court and refers to legalized vengeance; personal vengeance was never accepted in the Law of Moses, except as a concession for a relative's murder (see Numbers 35:18-21). The Old Testament did not permit personal vengeance. Vengeance was actually the prerogative of God (See Deuteronomy 32:35).

 

The primary purpose of the "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth" law was to ensure that the punishment for a crime was indeed fitting for the crime. It was designed to provide fairness or justice in the penalties for crimes committed. For example, consider the following scripture.

 

Exodus 21:22 through Exodus 21:25 (NKJV) 22"If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman's husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

 

The penalty must be fitting to the crime. That was again the whole purpose of "an eye for an eye." This was important because in some cultures the penalty for a crime could have far exceeded what would have been considered just or fair. So it appears at first glance that the Bible supports the idea of just retaliation. Let's continue though.

 

TURN THE OTHER CHEEK

 

Matthew 5:39 (NKJV) 39But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

 

Here is that famous scripture regarding turning the other cheek. It is believed that this scripture suggests that Christians are not supposed to respond to offense. For example, if someone slaps a Christian in the face then the Christian is not supposed to respond or retaliate. However, this is not true. Yes there are times when retaliation would not be in the best interest of the person slapped or perhaps the slapping person. This however does not mean that we should not respond in all cases. If this were so then Jesus would not have had to give us instruction of dealing with offenses against us (See Matthew 18:10-14). So what does Jesus mean by turning the other cheek?

 

The blow on the right cheek was the most grievous insult possible in the ancient world (apart from inflicting serious physical harm), and in many cultures was listed alongside the "eye for an eye" laws; both Jewish and Roman law permitted prosecution for this offense. A prophet might endure such ill treatment (1 Kings 22:24; Isaiah 50:6). Let's continue with the other lesson text before we discuss this any further.

 

BEING SUED

 

Matthew 5:40 (NKJV) 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.

 

The tunic was an undergarment and the cloak was a loose fitting outer garment.

 

The poorest people of the Empire (such as most peasants in Egypt) had only an inner and outer garment, and the theft of a cloak would lead to legal recourse. Jesus seems to hyperbolically (we will discuss hyperbole later) imply the turning over of one's possessions to avoid a legal dispute affecting only oneself. Jesus gives this advice in spite of the fact that, under Jewish law, a legal case to regain one's cloak would have been foolproof: a creditor could not take a poor person's outer cloak, which might serve as one's only blanket at night as well as a coat (Exodus 22:26-27).

 

GO THE EXTRA MILE

 

Matthew 5:41 (NKJV) 41And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.

 

Roman soldiers had the legal right to impress the labor, work animal or substance of local residents (see Mark 15:21). The Roman government could press anyone into its service to carry a load as far as one mile. Matthew records a Roman officer doing this to Simon of Cyrene in Matthew 27:32. In the subject scripture, Jesus suggests that a person go an extra mile even though the law only required that the person was only legally obligated for one mile.

 

UNSELFISH GIVING

 

Matthew 5:42 (NKJV) 42Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

 

Beggars were widespread. The Bible stressed giving to those in need (Deuteronomy 15:11; Psalm 112:5, 9; Proverbs 21:13). God would take care of the needs of those who helped the poor (Deuteronomy 15:10; Proverbs 19:17; 22:9; 28:8). Biblical laws against usury and especially about lending to the poor before the year of release (Deuteronomy 15:9; Leviticus 25) support Jesus' principle here, but Jesus goes even farther in emphasizing unselfish giving (especially Luke 6:35).

 

The Message

 

Jesus seems to be speaking in hyperbolic terms to teach the lesson of non-retaliation. Generally He commands us to have a generous and compassionate attitude toward the needy. He makes this application in four areas: physical attacks (verse 39), legal suits (verse 40), government demands (verse 41), and financial requests (verse 42).

 

Jesus uses hyperbole to make his point about retaliation. Hyperbole is a rhetorical exaggeration, a figure of speech often used by Jewish wisdom teachers to underline their point. The point of Jesus' hyperbolic illustrations is generally to grab the hearer's attention and force that hearer to take his point seriously. So Jesus' hyperbolic illustrations should not be considered as teachings on what to do when slapped or sued but as a means of rhetorically getting his point across about the primary message, which in this case is non-retaliation.

 

The Bible gives us more insight into the principle of non-retaliation. Consider the following scripture.

 

1 Corinthians 6:7 (NKJV) 7Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?

 

Application

 

Now let's apply what we have learned to help us govern our lives more according to God's Way. Should we retaliate every time we are wronged? We see that Jesus taught the practice of non-retaliation. However, this should be construed as an all-encompassing law. There are times when we must retaliate and there are times when we shouldn't. The Bible records many instances where retaliation was condoned and others when it was avoided.

 

Jesus used the technique of hyperbole to give a lesson on non-retaliation. However, we recall where he overturned the tables of the moneychangers, where he confronted the religious leaders, and where he escaped out of town. In general, Jesus does not condone retaliation for all situations even when we are legally or even morally justified. Non-retaliation might be the best mode of action for many situations if not most.

 

If we would weigh what the offense really means to us then we may find that it is very meaningless. Most of the offenses that we endure may be insignificant if we consider all that is going on in our lives and the potential that we have. It may take more energy to retaliate instead of just letting it go. Dealing with a situation doesn't always mean to retaliate, take revenge, or otherwise get even. Sometimes we can just take the hit and move on.

 

So think before you retaliate when someone offends you. Determine if retaliation is really the best course of action even if it is a justifiable course of action. Just because you have the right to something doesn't mean that you should pursue it. Analyze and determine by prayer and sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit if you should pursue a certain thing. You may find that it is better to just take the blow, be shamed, or be wronged.

 

GOVERNING OUR LIVES

 

So how do we apply the non-retaliation principle to our lives? Simply. Treat each situation separately. Evaluate the impact of the situation and pray to God to determine what to do. You may not hear a voice from heaven instructing you on what to do but you will be guided from within on the proper course of action.

 

There may be times when we are legally justified to take a certain legal action against someone. However, we should slow down and evaluate the situation. Is it worth it? What difference would retaliation really make in my life. These are questions that we can ask ourselves. We may find that retaliation is not a desirable course of action though it is the justified course of action.

 

So don't think that it is necessary to retaliate every time you are wronged or think that you are wronged. However, it is also not necessary for Christians to lie down and be walking mats to the rest of the world just for the sake of being a mat. Christians will be persecuted for their faith and in that we will find that non-retaliation will be very effective. Consider all that Jesus suffered even though he was "justified" to take action and retaliate. We should examine the life of Christ and govern our own lives accordingly. There were times when he did retaliate such as the incident when he turned over the moneychangers' tables and confronted the religious leaders. So learn how the Kingdom of God operates and do more to govern your life according to it. Amen