I ran a post a while ago about forgiveness from the perspective of the one who was offended. I’m taking the other slant and looking at forgiveness from the perspective of the offender. The truths are the same, regardless which side your are on.
Forgiveness is four fold.
1. We are required to be willing to forgive as Christ forgave. He forgives all those who ask.
Without all three, forgiveness isn’t complete. I can do my part and still maintain the blessing of God on my life (peace, contentment, closure, etc). That is all that is required of us. If the offender doesn’t do his two parts, he will not experience God’s blessing or victory in that area (of offense). If the offended party doesn’t do his part, the same results will fall on him. That’s partly why we see Christians today not experiencing blessing or growth in their lives – they stay nominal or shallow in their Christian walk.
Christ said to forgive as He forgives. He forgives all who asks. So, I’m using His example of forgiveness to show the steps of reconciliation. If we offend someone, repent of the deed acknowledging it as sin, ask forgiveness, and pay restitution, we are the one walking right with God. If we are not forgiven by the person we offended, it will not hurt our walk with God. Of course we might suffer more dire circumstances because of an unforgiving heart, but God will walk through them with us and use them to purge us. Mercy toward a sinner can only be shown by one who sees the advantage of forgiveness. While it is true that consequences can be our best teacher, mercy can be an even better catalyst toward change in the life of a sinner. Iniquity doesn’t have to be our ruin.
(Eze 18:30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.”)
Our pastor preached Sunday on forgiveness and I thought it was a remarkable sermon. It wasn’t the normal, hum drum sermon that we’ve heard 70 times – but then none of his ever are. It was like he’d delved into it himself for personal reasons and came out of the refining fire different and wanted to share it with us. His heart is truly one of forgiveness and acceptance, full of compassion. Just watching him with our children has given me the fuel to continue on this difficult journey. Really, that’s what it’s all about. Traveling through this world is just temporary and if we can help someone along the way, then the world has been a better place because we were here. The world definitely is a better place because he lives here. Thank God for Pastor Ron.
Col 3:13 “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
Ps 86:5 “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”
Lu 17:3 “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
I try to often contemplate that God has forgiven me for a lifetime of sinful behavior, so I ought to remember that as I seek to forgive others. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it is necessary.
It is those who fall and get back up using God’s hand for a support who become a better person through it all.
(Prov. 24:16 “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”)