THE ESSENCE OF FORGIVENESS
Memorise: And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
Read: Mark 11:25-26, Bible in one year: 1st Kings 22, Luke 7:18-35
The enmity between God and man, created by sin, can only be reversed through the forgiveness of God. Going by the righteous requirement of God’s law, no man can pay the high price demanded by God for the atonement of sins, but the divine mercy of God brought us forgiveness through the Blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7). Without the power of forgiveness, there can be no atonement, no reconciliation and no salvation.
Just as God has extended His unconditional forgiveness to us, He expects us to extend the same to our neighbours. This is an area where the people of God have problems. We like to enjoy God’s benevolence, but we find it difficult to extend the same to others. The gravity of this negative attitude is found in the parable of Jesus about the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:23-35). Although the king forgave this servant a debt he could not afford to pay, when his fellow servant who also owed him begged his to be patient with him, he refused. Rather, he cast this fellow servant into prison. This attitude made the king so angry that he handed him over to the tormentors and charged them to torment him until he was able to pay his debt. Of course he would not be able to pay; so he was effectively banished to a lifetime of torment. The key thing to note from this parable is what Jesus said in Matthew 18:35:
“So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
The virtue of forgiveness proceeds from the offended, and it is carried out by the offended also. There is nothing anyone can do to convince the offended to forgive, if he or she does not look beyond the offending party and choose to unconditionally forgive. There is every reason to be vengeful when you are offended, but when you cast your mind back to remember how you have been forgiven yourself; you will have no choice as a child of God but to forgive. Those who easily forgive other who offend them are likely to be favourites of God because they share the nature of God in the area of forgiveness. Their prayers are also more likely to be speedily answered than the prayers of those who are vengeful.
Look out for those who have offended you, declare and demonstrate to them that you have forgiven them.