When, Who and How to forgive
Luke 6:37 – Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Matthew 6: 14-15 “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.
When? Now and Quickly
When you forgive you are helping first yourself and second others. Forgiveness is a gift you first give to yourself. Who are you helping most when you forgive the person who hurt you? Actually, you’re helping yourself more than the other person. To be unforgiving is like taking poison and thinking your offenders will drop dead and die. My dear friend that is not going to happen.
The best time to forgive is now. There is never a bad time to forgive. Never procrastinate on forgiveness, as it would only give room for bitterness and resentment to fester. In 2 Samuel chapters 13-19 Absalom allowed is hatred and anger towards Amnon his brother for raping his sister Tamar to fester for two years and it resulted in him masterminding the death of his brother Amnon. He left the hatred and anger to fester further and it resulted in him temporarily taking the throne from David his father and sleeping with all his father concubines in the front of all Israel. The end was the death of two thousand men and the death of Absalom himself. Unforgiving people never end well. To be unforgiving is demonic and a stronghold of the devil. So the earlier you forgive the better it is for you in order to prevent mass destruction.
Who? – All your offenders, yourself, God and situation
Forgive the person who badly hurt you long ago and also the stranger who stepped on your toe in the grocery store. Take those two extremes and forgive them in addition to everyone in between. Forgive quickly. The quicker you do it, the easier it is. Forgive freely.
When you forgive, you must cancel the debt. Do not spend your life paying and collecting debts. Hebrews 10:30 says that vengeance belongs to the Lord; He’ll repay and settle the cases of His people. Let God pay you for past injustices. Do not try to collect from the people who hurt you, because the people who hurt you can’t pay you.
Also, forgive yourself for past sins and hurts you have caused others. You can’t pay people back, so ask God to.
Forgive God if you are angry with Him because your life didn’t turn out the way you thought it should. God is always just. There may be things you don’t understand, but God loves you, and people make a serious mistake when they don’t receive help from the only One who can truly help them.
You may even need to forgive a situation or an object— your organisation, bank, a certain store that may have cheated you, a car that always gave you trouble, etc. Get rid of all the poison that comes from bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. And remember Proverbs 4:23: Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance…for out of it flow the springs of life.
To be unforgiving is spiritual filthiness, so get washed in the water of God’s Word to forgive and stay clean.
How to forgive?
1. Decide to forgive and do it by faith – You will never forgive if you wait until you feel like it. Choose to obey God and steadfastly resist the devil in his attempts to poison you with bitter thoughts. Make a quality decision to forgive, and God will heal your wounded emotions in due time. The same applies to receiving forgiveness for yourself, you receive it by faith. Remember, we walk by faith and not by feelings. Your feelings will eventually line up with your decision so stick to your decision.
2. Depend on the Holy Spirit for help – You cannot forgive without the power of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is a supernatural act and brings out the divine nature of God that is within us. It is too hard to do on your own. If you are truly willing, God will enable you, but you must humble yourself and cry out to Him for help. In John 20:22-23 Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit!” His next instruction was about forgiving people. Ask God to breathe the Holy Spirit on you so you can forgive those who have hurt you.
3. Obedience to God’s word in relation to your enemies – The Word tells us several things we’re to do concerning forgiving our enemies:
a. Pray for your enemies and those who abuse and misuse you. Pray for their happiness and welfare (Luke 6:27-28). As you pray, God can give them revelation that will bring them out of deception. They may not even be aware they hurt you, or maybe they’re aware but are so self-centered that they don’t care. Either way, they need revelation.
b. …Bless and do not curse them (Romans 12:14). In the Greek to bless means “to speak well of” and to curse means, “to speak evil of.” You can’t walk in forgiveness and be a gossip. You must stop repeating the offense. You can’t get over it if you continue to talk about it. Proverbs 17:9 says that he who covers an offense seeks love.
4. Do not forget that you have forgiven – People tell me I can forgive but I cannot forget. I tell them forgive and don’t forget that you have forgiven. Forgiveness does not erase past event from your memory but you can re-categorise the event in your mind. Carry out a mental reclassification of these hurtful events. Place them in your mind as experience and tests that you have passed.
For Further Study
Proverbs 17:9, Romans 12:14, John 20:22-23
Person Declaration For the Day
It is more blessed to give than to receive, I will give the gift of forgiveness to all. I receive grace to give forgiveness and to receive forgiveness.
Questions for you to reflect on
How do you forgive?
When was the last time you received or gave forgiveness?