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Insight & Foresight

FORGIVENESS

FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness and unforgiveness are two different spiritual phenomena. While forgiveness is a fruit of the Spirit unforgiveness is the product of anger, a work of the flesh.

The power to forgive is not a natural life force. It is a gift, received from above. That is why natural man cannot forgive. Even when he or she says: ‘I forgive you’ it is from the head not the heart. You must receive the power to forgive before you can forgive effectually.

Jesus taught that we must forgive those who have sinned against us. Why does God insist that we forgive those who have sinned against us? Unforgiveness is a harbinger of idols of the heart. Satan is looking for idols in Christians about to sleep or be raptured in order to stop them from entering heaven.

In Mt 18:18, it is written “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” What you do not forgive is bound here and in heaven and God cannot violate your will.

The second point to note about unforgiveness is that it deprives God of His right to judge. Vengeance belongs to God; therefore, unforgiveness deprives Him of His right to judge as an offender cannot be convicted twice for the same offence.

Also, unforgiveness limits the power of God to extend mercy to the offended. Job was angry with his friends when they became ‘miserable comforters’ to him.  God COULD NOT release Job from captivity until he had released his friends from the cell he locked them in his heart with anger.

How Can You Tell If You Have Not Forgiven A Person Who Hurt You?

  1. If you complain to a third party that things would have been better for you in life but for the hurt or harm caused you by the person.

  2. If you remember the hurt but fail to put it out of your mind immediately.

  3. If you find it difficult to go out of the way to show kindness to the one who hurt you knowing that it is the Holy Spirit who is nudging you.

  4. If by way of testimony you relate the incident of hurt in a way calculated to evoke sympathy for you.

Take note that forgiveness is for the benefit of the victim and not the offender. There are serious spiritual implications if a person who has been hurt fails to forgive the offender.

  • Forgiveness is the noble act of not rendering evil for evil; it believes that vengeance belongs to God.

  • Forgiveness releases self from the offence of spiritual imprisonment.

  • Forgiveness frees one from hardness of heart, which is a begetting sin. Also, grudge and malice are idols of the heart.

  • Forgiveness makes one a giver and not a receiver; it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Forgiveness opens the doors of mercy and divine visitation. “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Mt 6:12). It acknowledges Jesus as the Man appointed by God to judge the world. Forgiving the sins of others is tantamount to self-judgment. There is nobody who does not hurt another person one way or the other, “For we all stumble in many things” (Jam 3:2).

Forgiveness reminds us of our own inherited sinful nature. Forgiveness bestows promotion, restoration and respect. The unprofitable servant who failed to forgive lost everything including his liberty.

Just as repentance opens the door of mercy, forgiveness opens the door to the peace of God that passes all understanding. Forgiveness does not treat wrong as right. It does not condone evil, but without it a greater evil is perpetuated. The only human beings that do not owe a debt of forgiveness to anyone else are those who are perfect.

Nobody attains perfection in this life. “As it is written: ‘there is none righteous, no, not one’” (Rom 3:10). The only sinless Being who ever lived on earth the Lord Jesus Christ was the first to forgive those who nailed Him to the cross without cause.

The power to love is a gift. The power to forgive is also a gift and like every spiritual gift must be received to be used. The commandment to love applies equally to forgiveness because without one the other is meaningless.

Forgiveness is the nature of God. Forgiveness is the evidence of the power and control of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The greatest act of gallantry is the power to forgive especially in circumstances where revenge is fully justified and publicly demanded.

The worst therapy to apply to hurts is revenge; it not only aggravates the absence of peace but can cause serious disillusionment. It is practically impossible to achieve anything useful to God in life without obeying from the heart the commandment to forgive one another.

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