“Forgive as I have forgiven you.” Luke 11:4
That is a command not a suggestion.
“For if you do not forgive your brother then neither can my Heavenly Father forgive you.” Matthew 8:14-15
There are conditions.
Who ever said that being a Christian was a riparian delight or a walk in the park? Depending on where you live, it can get you murdered.
But, let’s be honest, American Christianity has not been tested and I fear if it was, it would not pass muster, not at this point anyway.
There are standards, some would call them laws, and this issue of forgiveness is one of those. It is serious!
We can gloss over it, as many do, with all kinds of reasons why it is impossible to keep this command, such as, “I can never forgive him, you don’t know what he did to me.” No, well then, why should God forgive you for what you have done to Him? Is not the greater sin your telling God you won’t do what He asks of you. Disobedience, my friend, is outright rebellion, in case you didn’t know.
We can say that God does not really mean that He won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive our brother, because He loves us and He accepts us in Jesus just as we are. That is a half-truth. Half-truths are no different from lies. A little bit of dog poop in a brownie still makes it inedible.
I can just hear someone say that I am being legalistic. Really? Have a glance at the Proverbs of Solomon and see how often he uses point and counter-point to show how God looks at things. There is the Law and there is the Gospel. There is the Old Testament and there is the New Testament. These are Covenants, made by God. He takes them pretty serious. I think He means what He says.
Offense comes to every one. There are no exceptions, we live in a fallen world. Again, choices are made. We either decide we will forgive or we decide we won’t. No decision is a no decision, simple! Is it easy to forgive? Absolutely not! It is probably one of the hardest things to do. “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city.” Proverbs 18:19
So, my friends, the challenge today is this: Have a look at your heart before the Lord. Are you offended by someone, by something said or something someone has done? You better deal with it, because the repercussions are great.
God is a righteous judge. This is how fine it gets: “But I say unto you, (Jesus speaking) that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
Matthew 18: 23-35 Jesus tells the story of a steward who worked for a King. He owed the King a huge sum and could not pay. So the king commanded that he be sold, with all that he had, until he could pay off the debt. He begged for his life and the king had compassion on him and forgave him. However, the servant found a fellow-servant who owed him a small amount and told him to pay up or else. The poor fellow begged for patience and he would pay, but he would not hear of it and had the fellow thrown into prison. This really irritated the other servants and they complained to the King, who when he heard addressed this unjust steward with these words: “You are a wicked servant, I forgave you all your debt, could you not have compassion and pity upon your fellow-servant as I had upon you.” And, then He handed him over to the tormentors, “till he should pay all that was due unto him.”
Here is the kicker: Verse 35 “So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
I guess that pretty much sums it up for me. I have no choice. Either I forgive the one who offends me or I won’t be forgiven. And, if I won’t forgive the tormentors come, guess who they are… I choose to forgive, for my own sake. I like freedom and peace….don’t need tormentors, no thanks. How about you?