Tag Archives: forgiveness

490 Chances

I Corinthians 13-4-7 4Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boiledover with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  6It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.  7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. 8Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

Love takes no account of the evil done to it, it doesn’t remember a suffered wrong. That can be a hard thing to do! Not only should we not pay attention when someone does us wrong, but we aren’t supposed to remember it either!  How many of us don’t have a problem with forgiving, but when it comes to forgetting we have the memory of an elephant? In Matthew 18:21-22 21Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? [As many as] up to seven times?  22Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven! I can picture this scene in my head. Jesus is teaching his disciples about many different things, and Peter pipes up, “How many times should I forgive? Would seven times be enough?” It seems that he thought that was a lot, that it would be a great accomplishment to offer forgiveness that many times. Jesus probably smiled indulgently at him and answered, “Good question Peter, but actually, you must forgive 490 times”. Jesus was making the point that when you think you’ve already forgiven, keep on forgiving. When you feel that you don’t want to give someone a second or third or fourth chance, keep forgiving. 
When one day you stand before God, He is going to ask you about your life. He might say,” What about when you didn’t forgive your sister and you held bitterness and resentment in your heart toward her?” You might answer, “God, you don’t know what she did to me. She hurt me, she defamed my character, and she was awful to me my whole life.”  God’s response might be, “I understand you suffered hurt, embarrassment, and pain because of your sister’s actions, however right now I am only talking to you. What did you do when she hurt you? What was your response?” The only thing you are responsible for is your behavior. The only thing you will be accountable for is your own actions. The way others treat you, the things that others do to you are between them and God. In Matthew 5:39-44 Jesus says 39But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too.   40And if anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt (tunic), let him have your coat also.  41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two [miles]. 42Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and do not turn away from him who would borrow [at interest] from you. 43You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; 44But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. I encourage you today to make a conscious choice to not only forgive those who do you wrong, but also to forget what they did to you.

For God So Loved

John 3:14-17 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must [so it is necessary that] the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross], 15In order that everyone who believes in Him [who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him] may not perish, but have eternal life and [actually] live forever! 16For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.

We’ve been talking about love, and the example we are encouraged to follow is that of Jesus. This well loved passage says it better than anything else. For God so loved the world. Note that it doesn’t say the Christians, or the perfect, or the good, it says the world. That encompasses anyone and everyone that has ever lived. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the righteous, the unrighteous, there is no one who is exempt from God’s love. Jesus died for each and every one of us. Just think about this- He died for the soldiers that mocked him, brutally beat Him, and put Him to death as much as He died for His beloved mother and the faithful one He entrusted her care to. We saw the other day in John 15:13No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. By laying down His life for us, Jesus showed us the greatest, most perfect form of love that we could ever experience.

Do we truly have a revelation of the precious love that was shown toward us? I think we may glimpse it from time to time, but most of us would probably have to say that we sometimes forget, that we take lightly all that Jesus did for us. If daily, moment by moment we stayed in remembrance of all God has done for us, there would be no need to TRY to do what the Word says. We would stay in such a grateful place that we wouldn’t do anything that would grieve Him. Romans 2:4 says that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. When we see His goodness, our lives will be a reflection of the gratitude we feel in our hearts.

I encourage you today to reflect for a bit on the wonderful price God paid so that you could be in constant fellowship with Him and have eternal life. If you are not a believer I challenge you to pray and ask Jesus to forgive your sins, come into your heart, and to be the Lord of your life. Is it that simple? Yes. If you pray that prayer today, please write me and let me know and we will send you some resources to help you on this journey of new life. If you are already born again, I challenge you to take the next step in your relationship with Him. What is that step? That. You already know what to do, so go do it! I want to close by simply saying thank you to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank You for loving me, for dying for me, and for welcoming into your family. I am eternally grateful, and forever humbled at the love and mercy you have shown me in my life.

Healing and Salvation

Matthew 9:1-7 1AND JESUS, getting into a boat, crossed to the other side and came to His own town [Capernaum]. 2And behold, they brought to Him a man paralyzed and prostrated by illness, lying on a sleeping pad; and when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven and the penalty remitted.  3And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, This man blasphemes [He claims the rights and prerogatives of God]!   4But Jesus, knowing (seeing) their thoughts, said, Why do you think evil and harbor malice in your hearts? 5For which is easier: to say, Your sins are forgiven and the penalty remitted, or to say, Get up and walk?   6But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins and remit the penalty, He then said to the paralyzed man, Get up! Pick up your sleeping pad and go to your own house.   7And he got up and went away to his own house.

In this passage we see that a paralyzed, sick man was brought to Jesus. Obviously the people who brought him knew that Jesus was healer, right? So what does Jesus do when He sees the man? He says “Your sins are forgiven”. I wonder if the man’s friends were a little disappointed that Jesus did not immediately heal his body. I wonder if they realized that Jesus did a far greater miracle by cleansing him on the inside. The religious leaders of the day were very upset when they heard Jesus forgive the man’s sins. Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked them if it was easier to say your sins are forgiven or rise up and walk.

This seems to be the opposite of what religious people in our day think. Why is it so easy to believe in salvation, that our sins can be forgiven, that we can be given new life in Christ, yet when it comes to healing so many have a problem understanding or believing that it is for them? Didn’t Jesus say that healing and salvation were equally as easy for Him to grant? Matthew 9:35 says 35And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. And again in Acts 10:38 38How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the [Holy] Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him. Not only did Jesus spend a great deal of time healing sick people, He also sent His disciples out to do the same. Matthew 10:7-8 7And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand!  8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give. Then in Mark 16:17-18 He gives all believers that same power 17And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages;  18They will pick up serpents; and [even] if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will get well. The same faith that allowed us to believe in Jesus and have our sins forgiven, is the same faith that will enable us to be made whole. If you are sick in body thank God for His healing power at work in you!

Forgive Us as We Forgive

Matthew 6:9-13  9Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.   10Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.   11Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.  13And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Forgive us our debts as we have given up resentment against our debtors. If we are going to ask God to forgive us the way we forgive others we had better make sure that we don’t have any unforgiveness in our hearts. If we look a little further in verses 14-15 it says 14For if you forgive people their trespasses [their [reckless and willful sins, [leaving them, letting them go, and [giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  15But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.  If we look up the word forgive we see it means to stop being angry about or resenting somebody; to excuse somebody for a mistake, misunderstanding, wrongdoing or inappropriate behavior; to exonerate, or declare someone not to blame or guilty of wrong-doing. Even if someone has legitimately wronged us, we still have to release them from blame or criticism. We are not responsible for the wrongdoing of others, but we are responsible for how we handle it. We will be held accountable for our actions. We see very clearly that if we forgive others, our Heavenly Father will forgive us, but if we don’t forgive, He can’t forgive us.

Unforgiveness in our hearts can stop the blessings of God in our lives. Not because He doesn’t want to bless us, but because He can’t go against the way He has set things up. Remember what we talked about a few weeks ago in Matthew 5:23-24 23So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against you,  24Leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift. If we know someone is harboring unforgiveness against us, we are to try to make it right before we come into the presence of God. If we are having a problem forgiving  all we have to do is look at our ultimate example- Jesus. In Ephesians 4:32 it says 32And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. Jesus forgave us for every sin we could ever commit long before we were even born. Because He offers us His forgiveness, we are to follow His example and offer forgiveness to the people in our lives as well. Isn’t that neat?- He forgives us, so we forgive others. Then we ask Him to forgive us the way that we forgive others. It becomes a never-ending circle of grace and love.