FORGIVE US, AS WE FORGIVE OTHERS
How many of us have fallen for the lie of the devil, that it is okay to have unforgiveness? How many of us have personally said, or heard another say, “you just do not know how wrong they did me” or “I hope God punishes them for what they did to me” or “they ruined my life” or countless other similar statements?
Let us seriously consider the heart of God on forgiving and being forgiven. There was a day when Jesus was approached and asked how we should pray. What is commonly known as the Lord’s prayer is recorded in two of the Gospels.
It is also recorded in Luke 11:2-4. The very next words that Matthew recorded of Jesus saying, is a matter of life and death!
The message of the Lord pertaining to the seriousness of forgiving others, is recorded in other places. In the parable about the talents, Matthew 18:23-35, a man was “forgiven much” but refused to forgive another man “of a small debt legitimately owed him.” This resulted in the master saying unto 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." – Matthew 18:32b-35
Our Father, generously and with His whole heart, has given us His “mercy and grace” for a multitude of sins and He does not take it lightly when we “refuse to give mercy and grace to others.” And the Lord provided that forgiveness for us out of love, mercy and grace, before we ever asked or were sorry. How dare we think that we can hold a single sin or error done to us, or even a boatload of wrongs from someone, and that it is okay with God. Consider what the Lord told Peter in the following verses.
This does not mean there is a limit of 490 times. It was a way of saying to keep on forgiving someone. When we pray “forgive us as we forgive us others,” it is very serious. In essence, we are praying, “to be forgiven in the manner, as we are forgiving others” and therefore if “we refuse to forgive,” our “forgiveness is refused also.”
To think we can hold grudges and not forgive others, and still go to heaven, is a lie from the devil. If we believe this lie, we will still go to hell. The measure of mercy and grace we give, is the measure of mercy and grace, God gives us.
If we have ought with anyone and it seems totally justified and we refuse to forgive them, even if they never even ask for it, we must realize that it will cost us eternally. By “demanding justice” instead of “giving mercy,” we are “requiring justice” upon ourselves and voiding the mercy we could be receiving.
We can go to church, read our Bibles, pray and even do good works, but if we refuse to forgive someone, no matter how bad the wrong is, we better be prepared to pay the eternal consequences.
This message might seem harsh, but time is of the essence. Everyday wasted believing the lie of the devil, that it is okay and justified to not forgive, is robbing us of the mercy and life that Jesus has for us and if we die in such a state, eternal death and hellfire awaits us.
If you are struggling over an issue, ask the Lord for help. Get counselling if need be, but make the choice to forgive and ask the Lord to help you continue doing so. It is not a onetime thing. At some point, a word will be said, an emotional reminder will come up, and one has to choose to keep forgiving. Eventually, one will even be able to pray for the one that did them or their loved one wrong, just as Jesus did on the cross (Luke 23:34). This is the kind of love that can only come from God, agape love. And the Holy Spirit is with us to help us love in His manner. In our own flesh, I believe it is almost impossible, but with God, it is totally possible.
The Lord never asks us to do something that He is not willing and able to help us do! The Holy Spirit is with us to help us live the life that the Lord has for us. There is nothing like having the slate clean between us and God but it is natural from time to time to fall into a snare of the enemy and for us to have to realize it, repent and ask the Lord to help us get back to where we need to be.
Prayer: Lord, help us to never let anything come between us and You. Please forgive us for the times we seriously fall and the little times too. Help us to forgive, and even love, as You have forgiven and loved us. And please help us in the days ahead to keep forgiving. We need Your help in every way, every day. Thank You Lord for Your mercy and grace and for the opportunity to pass it on. In the Name of Jesus, amen.
What do we do when the answer to our prayer, does not come the way we asked or wanted? Do we give up? Do we get mad at God? Do we toss our faith in the Lord, out with the garbage? How do we still believe for the rest of our prayers?
These are serious questions that every Christian must deal with. We must first ask, do we really expect God to answer according to our wisdom, or His? We know all too well, that we can only see in part and that the Lord sees all and in past, present and future tense. We also know His ways (agenda) are not our ways. We know He loves us and wants us to bring our cares unto Him. But we must trust that His agenda and wisdom are better than ours.
Maybe the answer is not, “no.” Just because the answer does not come exactly as we ask, does not mean His answer is no. For example, most of us pray for healing for ourselves and loved ones many times in our lives. We know God wants the best for us. We also know accidents happen in traffic, yards, sports, homes, work and everywhere else. We know genetics and diet can open the door for issues. Life happens. And we call on our Lord for healing and help. There is no doubt most of us prefer instant miracles. And there is no doubt many of us have received them. But most of the time, healing comes in time. If healing does not come that fast, then we can know there is a reason. Sometimes, the ailment is the one that will be the final one.
Do you remember this verse?
Many times in life, we believe our actions, or our parents actions, are the cause of an illness. And maybe, sometimes, it is true. But consider the answer of Jesus, about the man who was born blind. Sometimes, God allows these types of things, because God wants to work through the circumstances for His reasons.
The Amplified version says, “… he was born blind in order that the workings of God should be manifested (displayed and illustrated) in him.” This helped and taught the former blind man, and many others of that day. For those who had hearts to believe, it increased their faith. For those who had “hard hearts” toward God, their hearts grew even harder. And for all of us who have read this testimony with the leading of the Holy Spirit, have had our faith touched also. It spoke to all who saw and heard about it. It spoke to the religious leaders who where against Jesus. And their hearts and actions were displayed, for all who saw how ugly they treated the healed man and his parents.
We can rest assured that the following verses are true.
Many of us are glad to know, stand on and quote that last part of this section of verses, that all things are working for good for us, who love God and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). But consider what precedes that part. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to help us in our weaknesses. He has come to help us pray and intercede for us “according to the will of God.” This is important!
So how does it happen? It happens when we pray according to the Lord’s direction or leave the answer to our issue, completely up to Him. For those baptized in the Holy Spirit, with the gift of tongues, we trust the Holy Spirit is supernaturally directing our words and prayers. At other times, for us and for others, our humble cries from our hearts are heard before God, via the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, and He is in and with us. He relates our prayers to the Father.
Perhaps the following verse is not often viewed pertaining to prayer, but it certainly can and does apply.
We need to approach the Lord with respect and humility. At times, over the years I have heard people pray rudely to God. Demanding things of Him like a toddler would to a parent. If you were God, how would you answer such prayers?
If you are a child of the Lord, His ears are open to you. But we can know, our Father is not raising brats! When a person is disrespectful to God, he should not expect anything but correction. In the Lord’s mercy, He looks past a lot of our error, but in time, He certainly expects us to mature.
Naturally, there is another simple reason our prayers would not be answered in the way we asked. Sometimes we ask “amiss.” Asking God to bring vengeance on someone we should be forgiving and praying for their mercy or salvation could be a big one. But there are many other ways we can ask amiss. Unforgiveness of others can impede our relationship with God and even cost us eternally, if not dealt with.
Not only is it important to forgive others, but the Lord says we need to get their forgiveness too.
The measure of mercy we give to others, determines the measure of mercy we receive from God.
God will not be mocked, we will reap what we sow. If we are willing to receive the Lord’s mercy, we must be willing to give mercy also. If we do not forgive another human being for something they did once, twice or even a thousand times, why should God forgive us of our multitude of sins? God does not allow us to receive His pardon and then not be willing to forgive others. The result is that if we err in such manner, we are asking for justice of others (some of us even demand it of God), so that if that is the way we want it, then justice is what we have to receive also. This asking or demanding of justice about someone else, means mercy is no longer available and voids the pardon of Jesus for the one showing no mercy.
Jesus has shown us the way to pray with what is popularly called, “the Lord’s prayer,” but many of His personal prayers are recorded in the Gospels. He always prayed according to the leading of the Holy Spirit and kept the Father’s heart and will in mind. Even on the cross, Jesus prayed “Father forgive them for they no not what they do.”
Jesus Himself, never had to ask the Father for forgiveness, but we certainly need to. Salvation means picking up our cross and following Him daily. This means heeding the correction and conviction of the Holy Spirit at all times. We must not let sin come between us and God. We need to keep humble and clean hearts.
Anyone that believes and says a person only needs to repent at the moment of salvation, has been blinded by the devil. The whole problem with sin, is that it separates us from God. To be close to God, means keeping sin out as much as possible and when we err, to repent of it as fast as possible.
There is another hindrance I know of to our prayers and that involves how we treat our spouses. In the following verse, it pertains to how a husband treats His wife, but we can rest assured, that a wife is also accountable to the Lord on how she treats her husband.
Sometimes we have to go on blind faith, rejecting the circumstances and pressing on for the answers we need. The Lord is the very one who taught us about the persistent widow who kept coming before an evil judge with a petition. The judge ultimately wearied from her persistence and granted her the petition she sought (Luke 18:1-8). Sometimes also, we have to speak directly to the mountains in front of us ourselves (Matthew 21:21).
When it comes to prayer, the bottom line is that it is up to us to pray. And it is up to God, how He answers. There is no doubt that if we pray godly prayers with the direction of the Holy Spirit, we will see the best results. If we are in one accord with the Lord, we will be living right and praying right. And as such, we can pray and let it go. The answer is up to the Lord. In His time and according to His ways, He will answer. Praise the Lord, that He is all-wisdom, all-knowing and loves us with a pure heart. We can trust in Him, with all our cares because of who He is.
Eli Cockrell and Carmen Pușcaș share thoughts about the end times and life as a Christian in the world we live in today.