forgive

nail-in-hand

Forgive

verb
1. stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.

“I don’t think I’ll ever forgive David for the way he treated her”

(synonyms: pardon, excuse, exonerate, absolve)

  • stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for (an offense, flaw, or mistake).

“they are not going to pat my head and say all is forgiven”

  • cancel (a debt).

“he proposed that their debts should be forgiven”

I once worked with a man whose mother, by birth and by training, was truly a ninja warrior.  My co-worker’s mom was an accomplished martial artist, and a self-defense instructor for several police departments . My co-worker told me that he had seen his mom do some very violent things to others, so violent in fact that he grew up with absolutely no desire to follow in her footsteps and study karate. My friend told me that his mom lived by a very strict motto—a motto that had been handed down to her from generations of her warrior ancestors—which went something like this, “If you scratch my arm, I will cut your flesh, If you bruise my flesh, I will break your bones.” Although I did not grow up in a household of martial arts experts, I did grow up in a culture that routinely programmed me to think that “Revenge is a dish that is best served cold.”

From birth I was taught to hurt those that hurt me, and that it was my right to hold people accountable for their wrongs. However, as a man that has experienced the new birth through faith in Jesus Christ, God is teaching me that this kind of thinking is wrong.  As a follower of Jesus, I am being taught a new philosophy of life that instructs me to love my enemies, and to forgive them.

Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 18:21 ¶ Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

You may ask, “How serious is God about us learning and living the new behavior of forgiveness?” “How far does God want us to take this?” Well the answer to these questions can be found in Matthew 6:15, where Jesus said that if we do not practice forgiveness then “neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Furthermore, the standard of forgiveness by which God will hold us accountable is the standard demonstrated to us by Jesus himself. I like R. T. Kendall’s thoughts on “Total Forgiveness” below. R. T. Kendall writes,

     It is very hard to forgive those who have hurt us directly, especially when they do not feel the slightest twinge of conscience. If our offender would put on sackcloth and ashes as a show of repentance, it would be much easier to forgive them.

     But remember, at the foot of Jesus’ cross no one seemed very sorry. There was no justice at His ‘trial’—if you could even call it a trial. A perverse glee filled the faces of the people who demanded His death: “’Crucify him!’ they shouted” (Mark 15:13). Furthermore, :those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!’” (Mark 15:29-30). They shouted, “Let this Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe” (Mark 15:32).

     What was Jesus’ response? “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). This must be our response as well.

     Jesus could have said, “I forgive you.” But such words might have been misinterpreted and wasted, like casting His pearls before swine. (see Matthew 7:6) Instead Jesus asked the Father to forgive them, a far more grand gesture. Asking the Father to forgive them showed that not only had He forgiven them and released them from their guilt, but also that He had asked His Father not to punish or take revenge on them. It was not a perfunctory prayer; Jesus meant it. And it was gloriously answered! These offenders were among the very ones Peter addressed on the Day of Pentecost and were converted. (see Acts 2:14-41)

Three Crosses and Silhoutted Person in Prayer at Sunrise

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Published by

E. Wohner

By God's amazing grace, I have served in the ministry for over 22 years; 17 of which were as a cross-cultural missionary in New York City, and five years as a local church pastor. Currently, I work for Prudential as a financial professional associate. The only things that I can say about myself are that I love God, I love people, I love living my faith, and I love being of service to others helping them reach their full potential.

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