Forgiveness


Lets talk about forgiveness today. Forgiveness is one of the hardest yet more essential attributes of a Christian.
Revenge is easier than forgiveness. Have you ever heard the term 'I don't get mad, I get even'
We have rights. But so do other people. To claim those rights over someone else often times is a form of vengeance.
As Christians we need to surrender our rights over to Jesus
Romans 12:19    Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

I was amazed and blessed when I heard that the families of those that were murdered in SC by that evil person, said they forgave him even in their hurt.

Matt.18:21    Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Matt.18:22    Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

They forgave even though that young man didn't ask.
Forgiveness is not normal.

Matt.6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Matt.6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

I want to be forgiven don't you?

Almost 2000 yrs ago there was a man, God's only Son, that went about teaching preaching healing and doing miracles. The Bible tells us He had no sin. Yet men falsely accused Him of doing evil.  They beat Him, they spit in His face then they took Him and crucified Him.

Luke 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
Luke 23:34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

From the Cross Jesus asked forgiveness for those that were crucifying Him. Not only was Jesus offering us forgiveness and salvation but Jesus even then was being an example for us to show forgiveness to people that offend us.

There was a woman called Corrie Ten Boom.   I would like to share some of Her story with you, this information comes from her book titled "I'm still Learning to Forgive" it centers around the time of the Nazi occupation of Holland and the years following the holocaust.

Corrie Ten Boom's Story on Forgiving

“It was in a church in Munich that I saw him—a balding, heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken, moving along the rows of wooden chairs to the door at the rear. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives.

“It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favorite mental picture. Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I liked to think that that’s where forgiven sins were thrown. ‘When we confess our sins,’ I said, ‘God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever. …’

“The solemn faces stared back at me, not quite daring to believe. There were never questions after a talk in Germany in 1947. People stood up in silence, in silence collected their wraps, in silence left the room.

“And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights; the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor; the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin.Betsie, how thin you were!

[Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent.]

“Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: ‘A fine message, Fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!’

“And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He would not remember me, of course—how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women?

“But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.

“ ‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’ No, he did not remember me.

“ ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’

“And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

“For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’

“I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

“And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

“And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“ ‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”

(excerpted from “I’m Still Learning to Forgive” by Corrie ten Boom. Reprinted by permission from Guideposts Magazine. Copyright © 1972 by Guideposts Associates, Inc., Carmel, New York 10512>). 


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Corrie learned a lesson that day that many of us are still waiting to learn.

Matt.6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Matt.6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Mark 11:25 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.
Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Think for a moment, if I commit a sin, maybe an unintentional sin which is still a sin and have unforgiveness for this other person who sinned against me, can I really ask God for forgiveness?

On that Cross as Jesus cried out  "Father, forgive them" Who was He praying forgiveness for?
The Jews, the Romans, or the world?
He could have called 10,000 angels but He hung on that Cross for us.

The Jews may have delivered Jesus to the Romans, and the Romans may have drove the nails into my Lords hand and feet but it was because of our sins and His love for us that He hung on that cross and died.
And remember He lives, He was resurrected from the grave and now is our High Priest, our advocate.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
 
Since He offers forgiveness to us we must also forgive others.

Corrie didn't realize she was harboring unforgiveness in her heart.
As she took his hand this "healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“ ‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”
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Do you need to forgive?
Unforgiveness is a peace breaker.
Matt.5:23    Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Matt.5:24    Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

 

Here is an example of a salvation Prayer