Understanding Forgiveness – PART 1

APRIL 2

Matthew 18:21-35

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’  And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So, my heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

APHIEMI is the Greek word for forgiveness. It means to: remit debts, to completely cancel debts owed, deliverance of sinner from the penalty of sin committed, complete removal of the cause of offence, to let go of trespasses. Divine forgiveness is in two folds; firstly, it signifies the remission of punishment due to sinful conduct, the deliverance of sinners from penalty divinely: secondly, it involves the complete removal of the cause of offence. So, forgiveness deals with both the cause and conduct.

Forgiveness is one of the greatest words in any language and it remains one of the most emotively powerful word in the Kingdom of God. It is positioned at the very heart of God’s message to us. Christianity is founded on the forgiveness of the sin of mankind. Sin stems from the fall of Adam and through his fall, we all became sinners. So, by nature, the human race is sinful. As a result of the fallen nature and conduct, our character is shaped by sin.

Everyone has been offended and everyone has offended before. You have been in need of forgiveness and others have needed your forgiveness as well. Jesus said that offence must come. Life is a contact sport, so from time to time, we will trespass against one another either in words or in deeds. The challenge is that although we all know offence is a given, we have not made provisions for it as we make provision for defaulters in case of contracts. In every business contract, there is always a clause to deal with a breach in the payment or agreement. This provides flexibility, a get-out clause sometimes for the parties involved. But the most important thing is that offense is included in the calculation before a contract is signed off.

Friend, you will offend at one time or the other and you will also be offended, so get real and develop a reservoir of forgiveness for possible offenders. Please, be aware that forgiveness is a gift you first give yourself. You must first learn to forgive yourself and receive forgiveness from God and others.

You must also learn to forgive others in advance: I mean before they ask for it or in case they never ask for it. This is because if you don’t forgive, you are holding inside you a poisonous substance and poison kills if left unattended. Unforgiveness is like drinking a poison and expecting the offender to die, but that’s not going to happen. So, set yourself free by letting go of the offence before it eats you up and make you bitter. Nobody likes a bitter person and the Holy Spirit is not effective around bitter people.

In the above scripture, our Lord Jesus Christ insists that we forgive all men at all times. According to Bible scholars, they said to forgive seventy times seven implies infinity. Unforgiveness is not natural, it is demonic and satanic. The reason I say that is, if you look at children they don’t hold grudges or unforgiveness. They are quick to forgive and let go. One minute, they are unhappy and will not talk to anyone, the next minute, they are back to play with everybody including their offender. The Bible says that in malice we should be like children and in understanding we should be matured. Unforgiveness makes you static and dries up the anointing. I encourage you to sit down and do some soul searching on this issue and stop it from stopping you and your blessing.

 

For further Study

Luke 6:38, Romans 6:23

Personal declaration for the day

Heavenly father, help to receive and give forgiveness.

Questions for you to reflect on

  • Have you received and kept the forgiveness you received?
  • How often do you give forgiveness?