A Life Of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is widely accepted as a central doctrine of Christianity. God is a just, but forgiving Father, who sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins so that we could be forgiven of them. And because we are forgiven of our sins, we are cleansed and become presentable to the Father as His children.

Jesus even taught us a lot about forgiveness. In Matthew 6: 9-13, He teaches us the Lord’s Prayer, and in it he teaches us to pray for our forgiveness, as we have also forgiven those that have sinned against us. He adds in verse 14 and 15 that we should forgive so that the Father in Heaven should also forgive us. In Matthew 18:21-22, when asked how many times we should forgive, he tells us to forgive our brother seven times seventy times. In Luke 17:3, He says “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”

He didn’t just teach about forgiveness either, He practiced it and He lived it. In John 8, a woman caught in adultery was brought to Him. They expected Him to enforce the law and have her stoned, but instead He asked the one who had no sin among them to throw the first stone. And when nobody threw the first stone, He looked up at the woman and asked her if there were any still left that accused her. When she answered “no,” He said to her, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

In Luke 23: 34, we have an even more extreme example of how Jesus chose to forgive others. Nailed to the cross and in great pain, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Even at the moment of His greatest suffering, at the final moments of His life, He chose to forgive those who had sinned against Him.

Clearly, just as we are forgiven, we are also taught to forgive, we are commanded to practice forgiveness of others. Why, then, is it so difficult to forgive?

Some say it’s just human nature. Hurt by another person, our natural reaction is to hurt back. Whether by words or by actions, when our persons or prides are injured, we want to retaliate. Others think that forgiveness is a trait of the weak, that if you are strong you are justified in being unforgiving of others. Other times, we even justify our inability to forgive, saying that the other person would not forgive us, or that the other person was unworthy of forgiveness, or even that the other person has not asked for forgiveness to begin with.

There can be many reasons behind it, and I will admit that I myself find it difficult to forgive some things. But the plain fact is that God has commanded us to forgive others, just as we have been forgiven by Him. The truth is, we are called to live a life of forgiveness, just as Jesus lived His life that way.

If you’re struggling with forgiveness, return to the source of forgiveness and pray for a heart that can forgive. This doesn’t mean forgetting about the transgression, but it does mean letting go of feelings of resentment. Lay it at His feet, let Him take care of it, and pray for guidance and strength. Ask for forgiveness for your own unforgiving heart. And pray for a change in yourself as you also pray for the one you’re struggling to forgive.

You’ll find that God will change your heart, and that He will guide you to a life of forgiveness.

6 Responses to “A Life Of Forgiveness”

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  1. Ewa - December 7, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Amen.

    • Ron henshaw - May 17, 2016 at 7:06 am

      Aman!

  2. Peter - December 7, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    The difficulty we experience when it comes to forgiving others i due to the “vessel – which is darkness”and its human desire to be in charge and rule. When we were “born again” of the Spirit of GOD we had a completely New Person ( our spirit that was born of God and is the offspring of God Himself) that person took up residence in our vessel – and is referred to by Paul as “the Treasure”. He explains that we have this “Treasure in jars of clay” and that there is constant strife from the vessel towards the Treasure – because the vessel wants to be in control. Hence the “things I want to do, I dont do, and the things I dont want to do, I end up doing” (( my paraphrase)
    This is because the “vessel cannot understand the things of God because it is darkness” as Paul points out. When we as Christians understand that we consist of TWO SEPARATE (in one body) people – the vessel and the treasure – we will understand what Paul meant when he encouraged us to” present yourself daily as a Living Sacrifice to God”. God always works through mankind to fulfil His purposes here on earth and if we present the vessel to Him daily and allow the Treasure to lead the vessel into the Glorious things that HE has for us, we will start to be able to forgive and also experience the life that Jesus taught about in the sermon on the mount! The vessel cannot humanly attain the attributes which Jesus described ( He was actually describing the Treasure) in the sermon, even though many people think and act as best they can to display those characteristics, but human endevour always fails in the end. Our Treasure is what will transcend our vessel so I encourage you to daily present yourselves as a Living Scarifice.

  3. Jackie Spell - December 8, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I asked how many times should I forgive my sister who beat me up, or my boyfriend who abused me, or the thief that killed my entire family, and in Matthew 18:21 – 22, when asked how many times we should forgive, he tells us to forgive our brother seven times seventy times. When I read this, I almost fainted.

    Lord I pray you give me the strength to forgive… I know I won’t forget but I will try to forgive. It’s hard. It hurts and Lord since you forgive me, then I will forgive your people (those who harmed me).

    • Kristine - February 11, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      May our Lord Jesus bless you, Jackie for making this decision and for praying for strength. I know it is not easy, but you are absolutely doing the right thing, and one day you will realize that you have been released of the pain from these extremely hurtful events and you will also realize how blessed you’ve been by God because you chose the path of forgiveness like He asks you to. I’m so happy for you that you made this choise and prayed this prayer!

  4. Lindsey Gabice - July 11, 2016 at 5:43 am

    My dear Jackie spell obviously the Lord is in your life that’s why you have found yourself seeking to forgive them. May the Lord continue to prosper your soul as you continue in this walk of healing your soul of the wrongs done by other people. AMEN.

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