BY HARLAN S. MORGAN
“And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
As typically frail human beings, we often and fall; making mistakes in our spiritual walk toward that better land. In our spiritual weakness, we immediately approach the throne of God in an attitude of repentance, asking Him to forgive us our sins. This is an appropriate measure, and one a child of God should take. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We cannot view this scripture alone, however, for other scriptures must also be taken in to consideration. We must realize that our receiving forgiveness from God primarily hinges upon our willingness to forgive. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
Jesus farther stated “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses But if ye do not forgive, neither will your
Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:25-26).
Luke 6:37 compliments the previous passage by saying, “. . . forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” (See also Matthew 6:1215 and Matthew 18:21-35.)
At first glance. Luke 17:3 tends to give the feeling that it is only necessary to forgive when asked for forgiveness. “… if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”
However, the introductory phrase of the scripture should cause us to take a second look. “Take heed to yourselves…” This phrase reminds us of the idea established in the previous verses mentioned–if you
want forgiveness, you must forgive. Sure, we have a right to withhold forgiveness, but take heed, if we refuse to forgive, God will likewise withhold forgiveness from us!
We must be willing to forgive continually, regardless of the number of offenses. Luke 17:4, “And if he [thy bother) trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee
saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him.”
When the apostle asked Jesus how den he must forgive, Jesus gave him the answer in Matthew 18:22, “I say not unto thee, until seven times but, Until seventy times seven.” Jesus’ answer demands a
continual forgiveness on our part toward those who trespass against us.
We have often heard it said. “I will forgive, but I sure will not forget!” When we consider this thought in light of Matthew 6:12, we will quickly reconsider. The prayer here is “forgive us our debts as we
forgive our debtors.”
While the word ‘as’ could be defined as meaning several things, we must consider it denotes that we ask God to “forgive us our debts [in the same manner as] we forgive our debtors.” Often, we indict
ourselves when praying this prayer. Sometimes, I really do not want God to forgive me in the same manner as I forgive others! No animosity or bitterness can remain when we forgive. If we want God to forgive unconditionally and cast our sins into the sea of forgetfulness, we must be willing to ‘forgive and forget.’
A parable is told of a servant who could not pay his debt to his lord. His lord forgave him of the large debt he owed. The servant then laid hold on a fellow servant and demanded that he pay the small sum of
money owed. Matthew 18;34-35 concludes the parable. “And his Lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay an that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
Is it being suggested that if we do not forgive the small things done against us, that the heavy weight of sin God has forgiven will once again be laid upon us? Oh, the need for forgiveness from the heart!
Finally, we must look at our example, Jesus Christ. We are to be like Him. He became the epitome of forgiveness. From the cruel cross of Calvary, he cried, “Father, forgive them,” forgiving those who
This principle of forgiveness which Jesus taught and lived must be manifest in our lives. If we want to be forgiven by Him, we must forgive. Then, with a pure heart, we can come into His presence and say, “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us” (Luke 11:4).
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY LOUISIANA CHALLENGER, PAGE 9. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.