UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF FORGIVENESS – PART ONE
Welcome to today’s broadcast. Again we have received many commendations from listeners who have been helped in their spiritual lives by our messages. To GOD we give all the glory. We encourage you to keep listening to us and to put to practice the actions required. This will help you not to be a hearer only – but a doer of the Word of GOD.
Today’s Message is, Understanding the Concept of Forgiveness.
UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF FORGIVENESS
We shall be reading from Matthew 6:9-14
Matthew 6:9-14. And it reads this way,
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts [or sins],
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
There is no doubt that many people have difficulties and pains in forgiving. You could hear someone say, and I quote, “I have forgiven you, but please, go your way.” Another person says, “I am forgiving you for the first and last time.” Yet, another will say, “I have forgiven you, but I will never forget.”
I do not know your own difficulty. Our LORD JESUS knows that it is not easy – but it is not impossible to forgive. Hence HE taught us to pray that, GOD will forgive us our debts or our trespasses or our evil doings. It is evident that you cannot give what you do not have. JESUS defines any wrong any person has done to us as debts which can be written off.
Let’s discuss this concept of forgiveness in four headings.
- What is forgiveness?
- The benefits of forgiveness.
- How can I obtain forgiveness?
- What is the consequence of refusing to forgive people?
- What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim (by victim we mean the one who is wronged) undergoes a change in feeling and attitude regarding an offence. Let go off negative emotions such as vengefulness with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Wikipedia goes on to state, and the scriptures agree, that forgiveness is different from condoning. Condoning is failing to see the option as wrong and in need of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is different: not holding the offender responsible for the wrong action. One area people experience difficulty is in forgetting the wrong done. Is it possible to remove the awareness or the offence from consciousness? When an offender is pardoned by a representation of the society such as a judge or governor, the record of the offence is in the official record book, but the pardon leads to reconciliation or restoration of relationship. The records no longer count, though it remains in the record book. I hope someone is being helped here? In the same way, the record of the wrong done when registered in the brain cell cannot be easily deleted but can be of no value even when retrieved. We should know that the brain cells are the original computer processing unit or the CPU designed for the input of information, storage, retrieval and processing of data. It is possible to retrieve the wrong done but it become of no consequence if not used.
- What are the benefits of forgiveness? There is clearly a theological reason for choosing to forgive. Since JESUS died for our sins who are we to refuse to forgive the sins of other? That should be all the motivation we need. However, even though we know what the bible teaches about forgiveness we still choose not to forgive. You need to know that failing to forgive for a period or years or years will unknowingly poison our souls and sabotage our happiness. Friends, do you know what? There is a sure way to learn to forgive and reap the benefits.
In the Book of Luke 7:36-50 [please read this passage later] JESUS was invited to the house of one of the prominent Jews. Suddenly a woman (and by the way, it could be a man or a boy or a girl) who had a sinful reputation wept without shame at HIS feet. JESUS told them the parable of creditors and debtors. JESUS pointed out to Simeon his host the lapses in his reception and commended the woman and declared “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiveness, for she loved much, but he who has been forgiven little loves little. That’s in verse 47: Luke 7:47.
My good friends, it does seem that your inability to forgive fellows is that you love JESUS a little. If you consider the extent to which JESUS went to procure forgiveness for us you cannot but quickly learn to give out forgiveness to other fellows. Do you know that while we were yet sinners JESUS died for us? The bible says, greater love had no man than this that a man should lay down his life for his friends. The scripture says, blessed is he whose sins are forgiven.
Perhaps you may need to know and consider how much ability to love someone else is tied directly to one’s ability to forgive that person. There are two things involved, our ability to love others who have sinned against us flows out of our real experience of JESUS forgiving our own sins. Secondly, if we find it impossible to love one who has hurt or wronged us, it is probably because we refused to forgive that person.
In conclusion, I quote the very words of Ken Forg of InterVarsity Collegiate Ministry: “As a matter of fact, most people possess the power to forgive every trespass. So the failure to forgive is because we typically lack the desire or motivation – not because we lack the ability.”
We shall continue this topic next broadcast.
Meanwhile, I will like to pray with you. If you know you have difficulty in forgiving people, let’s be sincere. And most people do. Crisis in marriages and divorce cases are because of forgiveness. Spoilt relationships are because you cannot forgive.
Lay your hands on your chest and repeat after me
My FATHER in heaven, YOU love me and gave YOUR SON JESUS to die for me. By believing in HIM and accepting HIM as LORD and Savior my sins are forgiven. Pour YOUR love in my heart to enable me give forgiveness to all who offend me. Deliver me from having an unforgiving spirit. I surrender to YOUR will; I declare that I have forgiven all who wronged me from the Bottom of my Heart…In JESUS’ Name. Amen!
Let me pray for you.
My DADDY in heaven, the owner of our lives, I present to YOU these YOUR children who have responded to this message. Kindly motivate them to scale up their love for YOU so that they will create the platform to forgive the many people who have hurt them greatly. Our LORD, as they weep over this issue, suit the pain, and carry them through to overcome these issues. Do heal them as they go through this decision…in JESUS’ unchallengeable Name I pray. Amen!