Occasionally the question comes up, “Whom should I forgive and how can I forgive?”
Let’s first examine the key scriptures concerning forgivness.
Ephesians 4:30-32 NASB
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
It truly does grieve God’s Holy Spirit when we hang onto resentments with malice. The Greek word κακία, pronounced kä-kē’-ä, translated here as malice, implies a desire to injure, a wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws.
A good friend of mine, John Henry Corcoran who is an Assistant Pastor at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, once preached that slander with malice is like murder because you are assassinating a person’s character.
It should not be so among us. We need to always remember that we were bought at a price. That we should, “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Now it has been argued that this teaching applies only to our Christian brothers and sisters and in a way it does, but it primarily applies as to how we put on the new man, how we are to behave towards all mankind and how we are to conduct ourselves in this present age. Always remember that while we are in the world we are not part of this world for we are here to be ambassadors for Christ.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Now let’s examine a familiar passage, The Lord’s Prayer.
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day fnour daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from fnevil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]
Matthew 6:9-13 NASB
We are all familiar with this model prayer that The Lord taught us to pray, but let’s examine the reason we ask for forgiveness which The Lord immediately taught following the prayer.
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
You can not get it any more clear than the word of Jesus. If you do not forgive, your Heavenly Father will not forgive you.
So, how often are we to forgive someone who sins against us?
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Matthew 18:21
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:22
Peter might have thought that he was being generous by asking if 7 times was sufficient, but The Lord told him seventy times seven. I’ve always wondered if we might loose count by that time.
So in summary we can say that the Word of God clearly teaches that we are to forgive completely for we have been forgiven so much. That we are not to hold onto resentments, hurts, disappointments and losses. We can not force someone to forgive us they are a free agent, but we can forgive and forget, for the prisoner who it frees is you.
May the One God our Heavenly Father, Jesus the Christ His only begotten Son and their Holy Spirit be with you, comfort you and guide you in Their Truth. Amen.