I want to talk about forgiving in this article. I had a discussion with a man recently and he addressed a situation in a way that was very caustic towards another person. And I will add here He had every right to be mad at that individual. But After our discussion I meditated on our talk for a few days and wrote him back discussing forgiveness. This is the inspiration where the article originated.
In the Webster’s Dictionary if you look up forgive it states that “to cease to feel resentment against an offender”. PARDON: And under forgiving it states, And I definitely like this one, “willing or able to forgive, allowing room for error or weakness”. We all are so flawed and that says it all. Let’s go to the Book that discusses abundantly about forgiving, forgiveness, or just plain forgive, and that Book is the Bible. It is A message of hope to God’s Creation, Mankind.
The first place Forgive is mentioned in the Bible is in Geneses 50:17; what is taking place here is Joseph was betrayed by his 11 brothers, they sold him into slavery because they were jealous of him and told their father that Joseph was mauled by an “evil beast”. Please read the whole account of Joseph to get a better understanding of what is going on. Now in Gen. 37:33” Joseph’s father Jacob admits that Joseph must be dead because of being mauled by a beast. Now years later when Joseph became ruler of Egypt right under the King of Egypt Joseph’s brother who sold him as a slave let’s go to Gen. 50:16-17” And they (Joseph’s brothers) sent a messenger unto him, saying, Your father commanded before he died, saying, So shall you say unto Joseph, FORGIVE, I pray you now, the trespass of your brother’s, and their sin; for they did unto you evil: and now, we pray you forgive them their trespass as of the servants of God of your father. And Joseph wept when they spoke unto him.” Do you see here that Joseph was true as the definition states, “allowing for error or weakness” in his brother’s? And of course Joseph did forgive his brothers and knew it was a plan of God to send Joseph to Egypt the save his family from the famine in the land where they lived, Gen. 50:19-21.
God in many places in the Old Testament states that he will forgive Israel’s sins if they will just come back to Him, and of course they don’t repent and return to their Creator and He is Our Creator as well.
Let’s go now to the New Testament and see what is said to forgive and how it is used there. In Mathew 6:12 is where Jesus is telling His disciples about the subject of Prayer, and He states in verse 12 praying to the Father, “And forgive us our debts, (KJV) as we forgive our debtors.” Other versions of the Bible call debts, trespasses, sins, which means, “to cease to feel resentment against an offender” (Webster Dictionary meaning). I will take a moment to add here, In verse 14 and 15 Jesus states “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Do you see another good reason to be forgiving to people, just as you forgive your offenders, God will forgive you, and we all need this. (Go to the article on this website “The Lord’s Prayer” to get more on this.) To carry around resentment towards others in time will lead to hatred towards them animosity and who needs all that frustration inside of them all the time. It will eat you up and your attitude will be a force to reckon with.
This is fine and dandy as some would say, but is there more to this than that you may ask? And I will answer Most Definitely! Let’s go one more place that speaks of someone forgiving someone else, and in my opinion this is the Ultimate Forgiveness in the Bible. It is in Luke 24:33-34; this is where Jesus Christ, Savior of the World, (1 John 4:14), is crucified for the sins of the world, see also, (John 1:29), Let’s go to Luke 24:33-34, “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, (Christ) and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, “FATHER, FORGIVE THEM; FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.”
How ironic is it that the creator of Mankind comes and dies for the sins of mankind and in His final breath prays to the Father of all, to “FORGIVE them for they know not what they do”. They killed Him and He said FORGIVE, they beat him with whips, and He said Forgive them, they slapped and mocked him, and He said FORGIVE them. If you need a good example of forgiveness I don’t know of any other one than that of Jesus Christ. Have we been offended to the death, No are we laying in our grave because of someone who has been hard on us? No. And friends it isn’t easy to forgive, but yet our Savior did forgive them and we need to forgive our adversaries as well. Again, we can’t move forward in our Christian life harboring ugly, hateful, or disgusting feelings toward another. With this in mind, Please Do your best to forgive people, ALL people, (as I told my friend) “even if they don’t ask for it, for your sake forgive them the best you can and move on with your life. I beg of you to FORGIVE, as Paul states in Ephesians 4:32, “And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, FORGIVING one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has FORGIVEN YOU!”
Now let’s go to John 13:17, (here Jesus is talking with his disciples about following his example in life), verse 17, “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them”. It’s tough to forgive but as it states in Mathew 5:44-45, Jesus speaking here, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (WHY) That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven;” Who doesn’t want to be the child of our Father in heaven? FORGIVE my friends and as time goes, you will be Happier. God promises that! God Bless You, Pastor Mark