Saturday, March 3, 2012

Forgive? Why?

From the  February 22nd post entitled Problems  there came questions and comments concerning forgiveness.

Today we have directed our thoughts back to those comments and wish to address the subject of forgiveness from a scriptural point of view.

The words forgive/forgiveness appear over 100 times in the Scripture so indeed it is an important subject. 

What does  word forgive mean?  The dictionary says: to cease to blame or hold resentment against (someone or something)
to grant pardon for (a mistake, wrongdoing, etc.), (tr) to free or pardon (someone) from penalty,  (tr) to free from the obligation of (a debt, payment, etc.)

Ok, so what if I don't feel like forgiving someone?  It is natural for us not to feel forgiveness because we live in a sinful world where getting even is more common than forgiveness. This of course is exactly what Satan , the enemy, wants us to do. Having a nature of not forgiving others or even ourselves brings about bitterness, and bitterness has been linked to stress-related illness by medical researchers.  Is there any wonder that there is so much sickness, especially illness connected to bitterness and stress?  If we forgive the wrong or hurt someone has inflicted upon us then we have loosened a hold that the enemy had upon us. That is not the enemy's plan but it is God's plan.   When we forgive someone we free ourselves spiritually and emotionally. Forgiveness is an act of our own personal will in obedience and submission to God's will, putting our faith and trust in God to being about emotional healing.

Ok, then why should I forgive someone?   When Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray he included forgiveness in that prayer. Matthew 6:12 says: Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  Jesus felt it important enough to explain this phrase. In Matthew 6:14 & 15, He said: 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.

So to forgive is taught by Jesus and he tells of the consequences of not forgiving others.

How often should I forgive a person:  Jesus told Peter, in Matthew 18:22 to forgive "until seventy times seven".  In other words we are to continue to forgive as often as one does something that we need to forgive.

Unless we forgive we continue to hang on to that hurt or misdeed done against us and that builds Bitterness which leads to,  Resentment which leads to Retaliation and that leads to Anger and anger leads to Hatred, hatred leads to Violence and violence leads to Murder.

Do you now begin to understand why it is important to forgive?

One last example and the perfect example of forgiveness.  Against who else other than Jesus has so much hatred been shown?  He was beaten, had a crown of thorns planted on his head, made to carry his cross through the streets , then nailed to a cross and crucified to suffer for hours so that we could be forgiven.

His own words from the cross were: 
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. (Luke 23: 42)

Can you think of a better reason to forgive?


Z said...

Well said, Ticker...
I also think that the difference of forgiveness and forgetting is important and many of us get stuck on that. We don't 'have to' forget because, as another wiser commenter said at that post of yours, we don't want to be burned again by someone who's hurt us, for example. True. God wouldn't want us to, either, I believe.
We can still remember, be careful, and forgive.

"Do not say, "I'll pay you back for this wrong!" Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you." Proverbs 20:22

A friend in my Bible Syudy raised her hand while we were discussing forgiveness 3 weeks ago, and I called on her and she said "Don't forget my favorite scripture..'vengeance is mine...'... 'sayeth the Lord'"

We all laughed hard because she waited so long to complete the sentence. I said "thanks for remembering the end of makes ALL the difference"

And so it does!

Fred Gregory said...

Here is an incredible story of forgiveness. It is 20 min. long but worth tour time. Enjoy

Fred G,

Ticker said...

That is true Z in that you don't may always remember the wrong that was done to you but you don't have to carry that sin in your life. When you forgive, you release them to God for He will be their judge, not you.

Ticker said...

A remarkable story Fred. Thanks for sharing.

sue hanes said...

But Ticker - Jesus is the One who has the Ablility to Forgive.


I simply know that someone took The Best Years Of My Life and walked all over them - and I'm Mad As H*ll About It And I Want Revenge - and I want what's Coming
To Me - Ticker.

Jesus Died On The Cross So That I Could Demand This - Didn't He?

Thanks Ticker.

Ticker said...

If Jesus is the only one who can for give why did he make a point of telling us to forgive?
Luke 6:37
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Romans 12:18-20
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.

Jesus died so that we could be forgiven not so that we could demand vengeance. Note, he said to Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do.

Re-read the post and re-think what you have said.

Always On Watch said...

If Jesus could forgive at that very moment those who were nailing him to the cross, how can we NOT forgive?

Forgetting is another matter, IMO.

Ticker said...

Forgiving and forgetting are two different matters. In forgiving we are putting aside the wrong that was done to us and in doing so it frees us from "hanging on" and allowing it to become bitterness, which is a sin within itself. When we forgive another person we no longer have to carry that "sin"(the one committed against us)in our life . When we forgive them, we release them into God's hands for he will be their judge and not us. You are not letting that person off the hook but you are simply handing them to God, still wiggling on the hook. You continue to hate the sin but you don't condone it.