Summary: Forgiveness is giving up the right to get even.
The command to forgive others is often repeated in the scriptures yet it seems to be the most difficult to obey or comply with.
Consequently, many struggle with:
· Hatred and anger
· Rage. And others
It is said that many patients in hospitals can actually go home if only they can get rid of bitterness, resentment, hatred, anger, and many other emotional pains brought by their UNFORGIVENESS.
Withholding FORGIVENESS is
· Like allowing a TUMOR to spread aggressively throughout our body.
· It is an unbending suffering that ruins
o Not only our emotional health
o But our spiritual health as well.
In addition to the difficulty of FORGIVING, we are faced with questions like:
1. Should I minimize the sin so it will be easier for me to forgive?
2. Am I obligated to be reconciled with the person who did me wrong?
3. Should I wait till someone has repented before I forgive?
Most often what we are missing is the origin of FORGIVENESS. The very reason Christ suffered and died is to give us FORGIVENESS of sins. In Christ we have become a new creation, separated from the world. Let us observe a few scriptures:
· In Christ everything is new – 2 Corinthians 5:17
· We have been raised with Christ. Colossians 1:1
· In Christ we can put on the new self. Ephesians 24
These are just a few scriptures that tell us that in Jesus Christ we have received that virtue of forgiveness by the Spirit he has given us. Our best human effort to forgive without the grace of God is will not work.
With these encouragements in mind, let us focus on the following steps to forgiveness that could be helpful.
1. Forgiving is giving up the right to get even.
2. Forgiving is an act of Love
3. We forgive to be forgiven0`. `
I – Forgiving is giving up the right to get even
1. We do not seek revenge
· When we are WRONGED our immediate reaction is to seek revenge.
· This situation calls us to turn to our new nature as spiritual people in order to avoid seeking revenge. In Christ, we can give up the right to get even.
· God said “It is mine to avenge” Romans 12:19
· God will give trouble to those who trouble us. 2 Thess 1:6
· One day God will settle the score
· Let it go. Who can do a better job? You or God?
· Let go of all the bitterness, resentment and anger. This is possible if we give up the right to get even and let God settle the score.
· This is achieved through our fervent prayers
2. Question. Should you just minimize the sin so it will be easier to forgive?
a. Minimizing the offense cheapens grace. Remember that it is God who enables us to forgive. He does not want us to make the sin small. It is by his grace that we can forgive.
b. Besides, in minimizing the sin, we lose our self-respect, as if we deserve to be wronged. No one deserves to wronged.
3. Do not repay evil for evil but repay evil with good.
a. Repay evil with blessing. 1 Peter 3:9
b. Do what is right. Romans 12:17
Whenever I feel that my flesh is taking control of my actions, I always go to Galatians 3:3 Where it says:
“Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”
II - Forgiving is an act of Love
1. God said: “ I will forgive their sins and will remember them no more”
· God is all knowing. He knows all our sins. Forgetting our sins simply means that God does not count our sins against us when we obey the Gospel.
· Similarly, by forgiving others, we should not count their sins against them anymore.
2. Love does not keep a cord of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5
· If we keep a record of wrongs, these will always come back to hurt us.
· Why should we keep on hurting when the person who wronged us may not even care?
· Forgiving is for our sake. Not for the offender
3. Question: Are we obligated to be reconciled with those who sinned against us?.
· Our duty is to forgive. Being reconciled is a matter of trust.
a. Reconciliation and restoration depends on the sinner.
b. He must show genuine repentance.
c. There must be an evident change in his lifestyle
d. Restoring trust needs to be developed over time.
e. Restitution may also also required.
III – We forgive to receive forgiveness