I want to talk about something that is completely overlooked by most Churches and Pastors today. That is forgiveness, not so much to do with you being forgiven, most comprehend that Jesus died on the cross and you can be forgiven. However, where most Christians and believers lack is forgiving others and themselves.
I tweeted early today this: If Jesus forgives someone, regardless of the type of sin, I will forgive them too. I am not better than my Lord.
Lets look at the Lord’s Prayer taken from Matthew chapter 6
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
How many of you just recite this prayer and don’t really think about what Jesus is saying? He says, if you will not forgive others you will not be forgiven, that is quite heavy and often overlooked by the lukewarm churches. I cannot tell you how many times I heard Christians say, I cannot forgive them, or something to that effect. That is quite sad, because it is not a suggestion that we forgive others, it is a commandment. In 1 John 2:3-4 ‘We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.’ Very clear, but often not considered as it is too rigid for todays teachings. Jesus has not changed my friends, only us. His Words are as true today as they were 2000 years ago.
Matthew 18: 21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. This passages lets us know there is not a limit to the amount of times we are to forgive.
The Corinthian Church had that problem as well, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
That is quite a host of sins, is it not? Yet they were all forgiven, and they weren’t just our favorite sins, or ones we might have been guilty of, so we can comprehend and feel better about it. Some of them were child abusers, vile, abused their wives (hard for me to accept as well) what many consider to be the scourge of the earth, from a contemporary view point today, were members of this church. Shocking, didn’t Jesus know what type of people He was allowing in His Church. Yes, He sure did, and He forgave them, and we need to as well.
In John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Jesus gives us a new commandment to love one another, if fact, He tells us that is how non-believers will know that we are His. Wow, has that ever been prevented over time. If we love like Jesus, we forgive like Jesus. If we love one another, we treat each other different, the world sees us through our love towards one another.
There is no direct verse that says thou shall forgive thyself. However, if not forgiving yourself is holding you back from showing the love of God, or following Jesus’s commandments. You are in violation of Jesus’s commandments, because to him/her that knows to do good and does not, that is sin. Forgiving your brother/sister is a commandment, and forgiving oneself is something that must be done before you can truly understand how wonderful it is to be forgiven. We are often more hard on ourselves than any one else, but when we comprehend that we can make the same mistakes or have committed the same sins, we in turn can have compassion and love for one another. If the followers of Jesus were unforgiving they would just be like the rest of the world, we must be better.
Show me a church that has no forgiveness, or a heart that has no forgiveness and I will show you envy and strife.
James 3;14-18 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.