Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 ESV)
I would say this is one of the hardest, most humiliating things for a Christian to do: to FORGIVE. I have seen it in myself, as well with other Christians, who grit their teeth when it comes to forgiveness. Have you ever noticed when someone is praying, they always pray for God to forgive them, but never pray to forgive others? Why is that? Why is it so difficult it seems for us to forgive one another (and don’t let me say forbearing with one another)! It comes down to our true understanding of forgiveness. We may not understand the value fully of what Christ Jesus did for us, and need a little edification on the matter. Also, we may desire for God to forgive us sometimes way more than we would like to forgive others. Here’s a good scenario to prove if we need to allow Christ to build us up in forgiveness: You have a young duaghter who you later find out is raped by a family member of yours. The family member doesn’t show any remorse for his actions what do you first? 1 – Get angry, stop all ties with family member, think of taking revenge, take revenge. 2 – Get angry, Forgive, love your daughter, love your family member, use wisdom when around the family member, take no revenge. Did your answer come close to number 1 or number 2? Even with that scenario, THE BIBLE COMMANDS THE BELIEVER TO FORGIVE!!!! No matter how you feel, what you think, what you desire to do, as a Christian, God’s Word says to forgive!!!!
The key to understanding forgiveness is to look at the one who exemplified forgiveness the best. God in human flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the One who totally perfected forgiveness. The last part of the Ephesians 4:32 text, delivers a great comparison with Christ forgiving us. You are not going to see the value of forgiveness until you look at and believe the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Luke 23:34)
These words from the mouth of our Lord took place before He gave up the ghost upon the cross. He forgave us, even before He died. What? Yeah, He forgave our sinful lifestyles, debauched living, before He died. Can you do that? No! We must understand that forgiveness is apart of God’s character (Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 86:5, 103:3; Jeremiah 31:34, Colossians 1:14 and many more).
aphiemi af-ee'-ay-mee - to send forth, in various applications (as follow):--cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.
In the Greek transliteration above, you see that forgive can mean to lay aside or to omit. This is what Christ did in love for us. Can we not do the same for our brethren and those in the world? The answer is yes, because it is commanded of us.
And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. (Luke 11:4)
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. (Mark 11:25-26)
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye. (Colossians 3:13)
These are not suggestions; we are to do these things because we have His character living on the inside of us. A Christian who does not forgive is grieving the Holy Spirit. If you understand that Jesus Christ omitted your sin, should you not do that with others? Yes. One of the best scriptures I believe to understand how Jesus feels about forgiveness can be found in Matthew 18:21-35. Let that text really soak in your brain and start forgive more.
I WANT GOD’S FORGIVENESS, BUT TO FORGIVE IS HARD FOR ME….
I have used this excuse plenty of times: “It is hard for me!” No, my friend we must realize what we are truly saying here. In context, we are saying God is not able to work in us to forgive. The power you have is greater than His, which we know violates scripture. YOU CAN FORGIVE.
And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (Luke 17:4)
Is Jesus Christ saying here that no Christian has the capacity not to forgive? Oh no, you can forgive, just like you can ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you. The war comes in with the flesh because we don’t WANT to in our flesh. We can forgive, because forgiveness is a character mark of a saint.:
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them. (Genesis 50:20-21)
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:60)
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge. (2 Timothy 4:16)
Don’t let hardness of heart keep you from forgiving, even the most hideous offense. Jesus Christ forgives you, you can forgive. You can pardon, you can omit, and you can lay it aside any wrongdoing done unto you. God bless my dearly beloved, forgive and stay into the Word!!!!!
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21)
The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and [it is] his glory to pass over a transgression. (Proverbs 19:11)