THE WAYS OF GOD Part 2 (3)
By Ps. Jerry
The final part of the message is that portion God told me to emphasize. It is about FORGIVENESS. This is found in the Lord’s Prayer, where Jesus taught us how to pray. He says, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. (Matthew 6:9-12) So, we receive forgiveness as we forgive others. But what if we don’t forgive others, are we forgiven through the blood of Jesus and by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross? Let us see what the Bible has to say about forgiveness and what is God’s way with regard to forgiveness.
An integral part of the Lord’s Prayer recorded in Matthew 6:12 and Luke 11:4 is, “And forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.” This truth is repeated in other verses as well. Jesus says very clearly in Matthew 6:14-15, For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. God is not going to forgive your trespasses if you do not forgive your fellow man. It’s very simple but we seldom want to hear this, because forgiving can be very painful. We say to God, “So many people have hurt me, Lord, so it is difficult to forgive.”
Not only must we forgive, but the question is, how many times must we forgive? If the same person keeps hurting me over and over and over again? I have prayed for him like you said, Lord! You said to pray for those who persecute me. But they keep doing it again and again. So, how many times must I forgive? Jesus did not leave that to chance! Jesus deals with it in Matthew 18:21-22: Then Peter came to Him and said “Lord, how often must my brother sin against me and I forgive him, up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” So how many times must you forgive? Seventy times seven, and it doesn’t mean just four hundred and ninety times. Seventy times seven means continuously, just like how Jesus and Father God forgives you. We are to continually forgive others. You already know that you must forgive in order to get forgiveness, so do not argue and say, this person keeps hurting me or that the hurt is too deep. That is not acceptable to Jesus Christ. That is not God’s way. God’s way is, you must forgive in order to be forgiven. God’s way is, whatever you sow, you will reap. That’s God’s way. That’s the reality. That is the truth and the truth will set you free!
So after Jesus answered Peter that he must forgive seventy times seven times, He immediately told Peter a story, a parable about two debtors, to help him understand better and permanently. This would also ensure that nobody distorts what Jesus had to say! This is how the Kingdom of God operates. In Matthew 8:23-34, there were two debtors. The first man, we will call him Debtor A, owed the king a lot of money, which he can never repay. But the king says, your debt is forgiven! But then another man, whom we will refer to as Debtor B, owes Debtor A some money. And Debtor A goes after Debtor B without mercy! “He laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!” (Matt 18:28) Debtor A throws Debtor B into prison. And God deals with Debtor A severely. Let’s hear what Jesus says at the end of that parable in Matthew 18:32-35: “Then the king called in the man that he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant, I forgave you the tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
It is yet another heart issue. It is from your heart that you forgive, lip service is unacceptable, mind service is also unacceptable. It must come from the heart. And He removes every doubt. If you have any doubt this is how Father God operates, that doubt should be removed because He has spoken so plainly. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” So, I don’t think it’s an option. It is a requirement and a condition precedent. You have to forgive!
Apart from God not forgiving us, if we do not forgive, unforgiveness brings sickness and disease. It brings trouble into our lives. It’s like poison that we harbour inside. That’s why God wants it out of our system. We must learn to forgive. Some are not in good physical health and some are not in good mental health. I’m suggesting that some are not well in so many areas because they harbour unforgiveness. Forgiveness is so important that Jesus emphasizes it over and over again. In Matthew 5:23, Jesus says, therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift. Can you imagine coming to church and praising God and saying, I want to offer sacrifice, and God says, leave your sacrifice at the altar if you remember that your brother has something against you. Whether it’s worship, service in the mission field or pastoring – in all things, the requirement is, forgive first. First be reconciled to your brother. When the relationship is restored, the anointing can flow through you. We must forgive. It is not an option. As a Christian, forgiving others is a requirement. Through Jesus Christ, God has forgiven all our sins. We have received freely, so we must freely give. You must be the conduit of God’s love. You must be a conduit of God’s forgiveness. Forgive our fellow man. Forgive those around us. We must. I know it is difficult because I struggle with it too. I know it is very difficult. I know sometimes the hurt can be so terribly painful. So if you have unforgiveness in your heart, tell the Lord that you want to deal with it. Though it is difficult, I want you to know God can give you the ability to forgive. Where is this found? Look at Mark 9:23-24.Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” Cry out with tears. I don’t want you to miss that. It’s a heart issue, and Jesus was moved. Lord, I forgive. Help me, help me forgive. I find it difficult. Help me. That’s our prayer. God wants each and every one of us to forgive. The Bible is so clear that as we forgive others, God will forgive us. He also says, as He forgives us, we are to forgive others. God bless you as you walk in forgiveness and freedom in Christ!