This is the first of a series of blogs about forgiveness. I know I'm coming hard to begin with, but I want to start out with a very strong statement that forgiveness is required if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus Christ.
Does that mean God doesn't care about the pain we feel or the disappointment we experience when we are hurt or betrayed by those we trust and love dearly or when we’re hurt by those we least expect to hurt us? Absolutely not! He cares, and He provides the strength and the grace we need to walk in obedience to Him.
It is clearly stated in Scripture that we must forgive, and that there are consequences if we do not forgive. And guess what? We cannot argue with Scripture. So, let's look at a few scriptures.
Colossians 3:13 (NIV) states, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” This certainly does not read like a suggestion or a request. The Scripture plainly states we should forgive one another. We ought to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us.
Ephesians 4:31–32 (NIV) commands, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” It is a command that we forgive just as God has forgiven us. The ignominious death of His only Son Jesus Christ is evidence of God’s reckless, unconditional, relentless love for us and His forgiveness toward us.
Mark 11:25 (NIV) says, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” To me, this Scripture alone should be enough to make us forgive. The risk is far too great. The words “so that” tell me that our forgiveness from the Father is contingent upon us forgiving our offenders. We must forgive. There is no point praying while we have ill feelings toward others because Father will not hear us, and He will not forgive us of our sins. According to Psalm 66:18 (KJV), “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
Is this a chance you want to take? Do you want to pray unanswered prayers; prayers that God doesn’t hear, let alone answer? I think not.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog as we go deeper.
Father, I pray that your grace and mercy will descend double fold upon every reader of this blog. Open their spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear what you are saying to them in the most powerful name, the name of Jesus name, amen.