Forgive Others as Christ has Forgiven You
By: Anna Bright
“I’ll never forgive them as long as I live!,” “I forgive you, but I will never forget what you did!,” “All **** will freeze over before I will ever forgive you!,” “Forgiveness is not a part of my vocabulary!”
Haven’t you heard of at least one or more of these exclamatory remarks expressed by someone who has been hurt, refuses to let go of the situation, and insists on carrying it to his grave? Forgiveness is not for the oppressor but for you because while you are shouldering the hurt, that individual has probably forgotten the situation and has moved on with his life. "Let go and let God…"
Now take a look at what the Word teaches the believer about forgiving others. All of the Scriptures below have been taken from the English Standard Version of the Bible:
- Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
- And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:25)
- Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him. (Luke 17:3-4)
- For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)
- Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. (I Peter 3:9)
Just imagine what our lives would be like if God did not forgive us! The beautiful thing about God’s forgiveness is that He never brings it up again. It is cast far into the deep as He remembers it no more. Contrary to man, who“will wash your face in it” every time the opportunity presents itself. Refusing to forgive others is just like “a cancer.” Ultimately, it destroys everyone involved in some way or another.
Further, if you refuse to forgive others, you will never know complete peace. God wants us to live peaceably among one another.
In this brief closing illustration, a punctuation mark teaches a valuable lesson about forgiveness as illustrated in the story of Alexander III.
“Alexander III was Tsar of Russia from 1881-1894. His rule was marked by repression, and in particular, by persecution of Jews. His wife, Maria Fedorovna, provided a stark contrast, being known for her generosity to those in need. On one occasion, her husband had signed an order consigning a prisoner to life in exile. It read simply, ‘Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia.’ Maria changed that prisoner’s life by moving the comma in her husband’s order. She altered it to, ‘Pardon, impossible to be sent to Siberia.’
“In Christ, God has changed the comma that stood against us. From ‘Pardon impossible, send to Siberia’ comes the good news of salvation: ‘Pardon, impossible to send to Siberia.’”
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at email@example.com.