“Five Basic Principles of Biblical Forgiveness”
Recently, I have engaged in a study about forgiveness. I was certain that I knew all the basics that I needed to know. Many times we hear so much about a topic that we, without knowing, turn our listening off and move on to the next issue. However, as I studied further, I found some very interesting and practical facts about forgiveness.
1. We must recognize our own condition as sinners: Without the clear revelation that we are sinners and that we need God’s mercy we will never be able to forgive anybody. Forgiveness is a test for our hearts and consequently gives us a clear indicator of where we are spiritually in our walk with the Lord. Psalms 130: 3 tells us, “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?” As long as we assume that we can stand while we blind ourselves from our own need for forgiveness we will be jammed spiritually.
2. We are all called to always forgive; no exceptions: Matthew 18:21-22 tells us, “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.” There is never a reason to run out of reasons to forgive. Forgiveness is more than about the person that sinned against you, it is about the condition of your heart. Lack of forgiveness is lack of understanding of the reality of the Gospel.
3. Our Forgiveness for others is connected to God’s forgiveness for us: Matthew 6:14-15 establishes this very serious truth, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” We try to ignore this reality, but un-forgiveness can have devastating consequences.
4. Forgiveness is a promise not to ever bring the sinned committed against you back up again: To continue to bring the offense up repetitively it is a clear indicator that we have not forgiven. Our example of how to forgive is God Himself and in His Word He tells us in Jeremiah 31:34, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
5. Forgiveness is not complete without purposely and actively going after reconciliation: In the book, “Forgive! As the Lord Forgave You” Mr. Patrick H. Morrison made an excellent point.
“Frequently, it is said, ‘I can forgive, but can never forget.’ Actually this cliché misses the point; the issue is not forgetting but forgiving. The notion of ‘forgive and forget’ implies abandoning rather than healing the relationship.”
2 Corinthians 5:18 clearly states that we are all called to the ministry of reconciliation, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation…” Many times people struggle with the idea of what they’re called may be; one of many calls is the universal call to the beautiful ministry of reconciliation. The word reconciliation means, “A return to God’s favor.” Reconciliation also strongly implies a return to fellowship with God and with each other.
Do you have un-forgiveness in your heart? Give that pain to the Lord; He will give you a heart to forgive and set you free from the chains of un-forgiveness.