There are many different reasons we need forgiveness in our lives. We like to think that we can hold onto un-forgiveness without it effecting anyone but us, but it can have an eternal consequence for so many people.
Look back at Joseph. He was given special gifts, favour and even a special calling from God. But his brothers hated him so much that they attempted to kill him and ended up selling him into slavery. How angry would Joseph have been? When he finally became second in command to Pharaoh he had control over distributing grain to all the people. There was a world wide famine and Josephs brothers made their way to Egypt to beg for grain in order to survive. Joseph had to make a choice to forgive his own family for their cruelty. And by forgiving them he saved the whole nation of Israel from starvation.
Moses murdered an Egyptian slave master and fled to the desert where he lived quietly. Then God called him out of obscurity and appointed him to deliver the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. But Moses felt so unworthy. He had to accept forgiveness for his own crime in order to fulfil the calling God had for him.
These are two very different stories but it took forgiveness in order for God’s plans to be fulfilled. Without forgiveness we cannot be used in the same capacity that God has planned for us.
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. but if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:13
Yikes! Now that’s a wake up call. That sounds like an old testament scripture. It’s so black and white with no wiggle room and it’s a command. But how can this be when Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross covered all of our sin. Aren’t we living under grace? Why would God deny us forgiveness for not forgiving others?
That’s a very good question. Why do we need to forgive? If we don’t extend forgiveness we become unable to love. Because love covers all sin. A friend of mine brought up this great point in discussion. There are so many people in the world why does God want us to forgive rather than just leaving that person behind and moving on to someone else?
We would eventually end up alone, isolated and unloved without forgiveness in our lives. And we need to always remember that it’s our prerogative to forgive just as Christ forgave us on the Cross.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:13
Forgiveness brings peace, love, unity and thankfulness into our lives. That’s what God wants for us. Isn’t that what we all want?
Something else that we find here is that taking offence is just another word for holding un-forgiveness. Wow! If we feel hurt by someone’s actions or words and we get ‘offended’ we’re holding un-forgiveness towards them. That’s certainly a fresh perspective on taking offence. But how easily does that happen? We didn’t get invited for dinner, they showed up late for our meeting, they didn’t remember my birthday and on and on it goes. So many little things that can hurt us and we end up holding un-forgiveness.
We need to allow for other people’s faults. We’re not to judge and we’re not to take offence. We’re supposed to extend grace and love freely. Allowing for other people’s faults stops offence in its tracks. Don’t let it take hold in your heart. Chose to love despite of the hurt.
Forgiveness doesn’t say, hurting me is okay‘. It says, ‘I love you despite hurting me.’ This is the forgiveness Christ showed us on the Cross and it’s the same forgiveness we need to extend to others.
I’ll leave you with this final thought. How can we tell we’ve truly forgiven someone?