For the follower of Jesus, forgiveness is not optional.
Because of the Cross of Jesus, we have all lost our excuse for not forgiving others.
Ephesians 4:31–32 (ESV)
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Paul addresses the causes of unforgiveness and addresses bitterness, wrath, anger and malice. What are we to do with all of these causes of unforgiveness?
Stop it! Get rid of it!
Often our response is, “I can’t get rid of it!” “If I get rid of it, I will lose an excuse!” or, “I would get rid of it, but I don’t know how!” God is trying to cover all the junk and all the causes of the junk that leads to an inability to forgive. At the heart of redemption is forgiveness! At the heart of the health and wellbeing of all our relationships is the issue of forgiveness!
You can get rid of all this stuff by forgiving one another!!
Pastor Andy Stanley states there are three important things to understand about forgiveness:
1. It is a decision you make.
We are commanded to forgive.
2. It is making a decision that someone doesn’t owe you anymore.
When we are hurt, there is a sense something has been taken from you.
It could be tangible–It Could be intangible.
3. Forgiveness is a decision to cancel that debt.
The result is being FREE!
Forgiveness really doesn’t make any sense unless you are a forgiven person.
As Christians, we are forgiven by God through Jesus Christ! We have been completely forgiven of our sin. Has forgiveness ever become personal for you? The degree of which you understand your forgiveness is the degree to which you will feel freed up to forgive those who have hurt you. If its not personal, there will be no forgiveness for others. “just as God forgave you”
Matthew 18:21–22 (ESV)
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Is there someone you need to forgive?