God’s Promise to Forgive us Helps us Forgive Others
Suggested Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”—Matthew 18:21-22
Peter asks Jesus a relevant question because repeat offenders are the most difficult to forgive. Have we noticed that God does not command us to do anything that is not possible through him, with him, and by the power of the Holy Spirit? God commands us to love him with our whole heart and soul, and he commands that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:37,38) neither of which can be accomplished without his help and power. Forgiveness can be a struggle, but even as difficult as forgiving others can be God requires it. Holding grudges may feel natural and satisfying but because God has forgiven us he demands we turn around and forgive others. What can we do if we are finding forgiving others out of our reach emotionally, mentally, spiritually? The moment we see it will be impossible, is allusive, undesirable, and that we feel justified in the attitude of unforgiveness we can and should turn to God with humility and conviction, asking God to cure us of the spiritual disease of unforgiveness which will surely kill us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually if we hang onto it.
The Christian who does not believe forgiveness is a necessary attitude and activity is only fooling him or herself, stirring in dark waters and being counseled by the devil, who is nothing but a liar in this area and all other matters. Forgiveness is not our option to choose or reject but a necessity to extend and accept. It is a fruit and biproduct of the Holy Spirit who is gracious and forgiving in nature, which will become our nature and attitude also when submit our free will to his and start to live and walk by the Spirit. It is ours when we are allowing Jesus to not only be our strength and companion but live his life through us. No matter how bad the offense we can forgive others because we are always aware of the forgiveness we receive from God, at the request of Jesus who sits at the Father’s right hand, showing the Father his wounds and scars borne upon the Cross as he died for our sins. Jesus lives and reigns to intercede for us day and night, all of our life.
We can be encouraged to practice forgiveness as an activity of the soul, heart, mind, and emotions knowing it improves our mental and physical health and is as much for our good, freedom, and peace of mind as it is for the one we forgive. We can pray we are forgiving people and pray for those who have difficulty forgiving others. We can be at peace knowing while we continue to be a work in progress, we are growing in the grace of forgiveness which is beneficial for us and pleasing to the Father, and therefore he will withhold no good thing or blessing from us. Let’s pray,
Heavenly Father forgiving others can be a difficult command to obey especially when we feel strongly about the offense we have received, yet you have required it of us. Help us to obey this and all other commands, help us to live to please you in every area of our life, help us when we find it difficult to forgive or do not want to forgive, help us remember that we are also in need of your forgiveness which is an ongoing state and need. Because you forgive us, by the power of the Holy Spirit and help of Jesus in whose name we pray always, we can forgive others. Amen