Think About This: “When a person makes a mistake and has to be forgiven, the shadow may hang over him or her because it is hard for other people to forget. But when God forgives, He begins the new page right there, and then the devil runs up and says, ‘What about this person’s past?’ God replies: ‘What past?’ There is no past. We started out fresh when he came to Me and I forgave him!” – A.W. Tozer
Put Your Oxygen Mask on First: To Live in Forgiveness
Posted on November 24, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” – Luke 17:3-4 (NKJV)
“I can’t forget so I’m not going to forgive.” Hmmm… yeah that statement has all kinds of issues with it, doesn’t it? It’s funny how we regrind all the offenses we receive in a day and determine which is to be forgiven and which is to not even be given the slightest amount of wiggle room. Some of us even have a plan for making sure the offending party knows ahead of time that if they do X, you’ll be responding with Y, and it’ll be their fault that we’re all living on Channel Z before the day is done. Now the residents of Secularland live this way by reflex, but in Christianity, we’re told a totally different thing. Jesus says if you’ve sinned against 539 times in a year, month, day, hour or even a minute, you are to forgive the offending party, when they ask, no matter what. How’s that for no wiggle room?
Deciding to not forgive is a real ugly way of saying you would rather rehash the incident over and over again in the dungeon of your heart then to live in the freedom provided for you by the forgiveness of Christ. It’s telling God that you have a better hold on what a sin against you is rather then it being a sin against God, who has forgiven you in all the ways that you sinned against Him. I mean, the whole tri-unity of The Godhead says that to not forgive means you’re NOT gonna be forgiven either. It’s not gonna matter how much of a tithe check you write to your local church, or how much food you give to the local pantry, or even how many times in a day you hold a door for someone. If you don’t forgive, the doors of heaven will be closed upon your arrival. I’m not saying it, Jesus is saying it through the principle is in His Word.
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” — Luke 6:37
It’s always the sinner who suspects sin, there ain’t no getting away from that but it’s also always the practiced deceiver who imagines and carries out deceit. This may be a really good reason to live in forgiveness because anything less means you are probably fooling yourself that the rehash in your head is justified and that the law of retribution needs to be carried out…. even if God won’t do it. If we keep deceiving ourselves into thinking we can do what God has already said, isn’t meant for us to do, we live so outside His will that we might as well put down our cross and exchange it for a nail and hammer. Vengeance, glory, and judgement are three royal prerogatives that God has reserved for Himself. Your name isn’t even on the guest list.
A lot of what causes us to not wanna forgive someone lies within our own sense of righteousness. Because we can be like the rich young ruler in many ways, we think because we haven’t violated the Top Ten Commandments of God the Father, we’re in a better position to decide who is worthy of forgiveness, and that is just not so. When Jesus boils all this down it’s all about loving God then loving others (Matthew 22:36-40), so if you say “I love God because He forgave me but these have sinned against me so there is no love for them” then 1 John 4:20 calls you a liar. His Words, not mine.
If you’re living in unforgiveness, prayers hit the ceiling and land wherever, worship music seems dull and unexciting, your Pastor could be preaching fire and brimstone from the pulpit one morning but his words are as dry as chalk to you, your tithing shrinks, even the kids wait for you pass in the hall instead of pushing you aside as they run to wherever because your countenance has “Here comes the Judge” written all over it. I’m thinking this is a good place to stop this list but you do get my point, I hope.
The next time I’m with you I’m hoping to bring some solutions to living in unforgiveness and what needs to happen to bring a forgiving heart back in that chest or yours (and mine). When I found out that I still had an axe to grind with certain people in my life recently, I grieved. I thought I did the right things by saying “I forgive them” but it’s that forgetting stuff that can cripple you along your walk with Jesus. I found that out and it was only the red letters of my Bible that brought me outta that dark mess and brought me into a glimmer of His marvelous light. This applies to you as well. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, a father, and has recently become a grandpop. He has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy, 11/2003. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at email@example.com.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29