Forgiveness means we grant release to an offending person or situation. It does not mean minimizing the event or pretending it did not happen. We are all born into a sinful world with imperfect parents, siblings and friends. All of us are damaged, some more than others, and we are not denying that we are hurt if we forgive.
Matthew 18:21-22 Then came Peter to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."
Luke 17:3-4 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
In forgiving we are not saying that what a person did was all right or that we approve of it. You don't have to trust this person anymore or place them in a position of trust anymore after you forgive them. Forgiving means we don't hold resentment, bitterness, grudges, or plans for retaliation. Forgiveness does not involve fairness or whether we feel like it or not. Jesus spoke forgiveness over the people that were executing him on the cross, leaving us with no excuse about forgiving others.
Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Matthew 5:43-45 You have heard that it was said, “Love you neighbor and hate your enemy.” 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If we do not forgive, God will not forgive us, so this issue is very serious.
Mark 11:25-26 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that our Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:12,14 & 15 (Amp) 12 And 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. 14 For 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. 15 But 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.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Matthew 18:23-35 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you Owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
We usually have the sense that the person that caused the problems needs to make things right, but they probably cannot. Hurting people do hurt people, so they were probably in a lot of pain themselves. Only God can fix such problems and heal our hearts. Forgiveness does not necessarily change the other person, but it frees us from the negative emotions and thoughts that continue to affect us, even if we are not in the situation anymore. Forgiving benefits the forgiver more than the one forgiven. Unforgiveness will open the doors for the devil to have his way with you bringing you all kinds of demonic spirits that bring sickness and disease. This is the major cause of most illnesses, diseases and disorders, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have witnessed this many times in my life. Reconciliation may still not be possible. We need to remember that our problems are not really with people, but with the demons influencing the people.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
We must change our thinking and understand that we don't hate people. We hate the demons that are controlling the way people act and live. For example; A murderer has to have a demonic spirit of murder in them to act the way that they do. A person that lives in depression has to have a demonic spirit of depression in them to act that way. A person that has committed suicide had to have a demonic spirit of suicide in them to perform the act of suicide in the first place; and on and on I could go.
We have to use our authority over the devil that Jesus gave to all Christians as He states in Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
The two scriptures above says it very clearly. That we fight the demonic spirits with God given authority and not fight with people. This is a learning process. We must start with a decision to forgive people. Then we need to ask God to help us forgive. Sometimes this is a long process, which leads to sincere forgiveness from our hearts.
Joel 2:25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.
We also need to forgive ourselves. Everyone has regrets about their past and wish they had said or done things differently. First we need to repent sincerely and individually for any of the ways that we have hurt others or ourselves and sinned against God. Then we need to repent to God and ask for His forgiveness. Then since God has forgiven us, then we need to forgive ourselves. Please know that we could never doing anything bad enough in God's eyes for Him not to forgive us just for the asking.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.
It may sound odd at first, but a lot of people need to forgive God because of things that have happened in their lives. They may question why God allowed certain things to happen to them or others in their lives. People blame God for many things because they think that He should have prevented bad things from happening in the first place. I will tell you that bad things happen at times to everyone in this life. There is no free pass or get out of jail free cards. That's a make believe world only. God gave us free will and we get in our own way sometimes.
Proverbs 19:3 A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord. Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Luke 6:28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the people that you need to forgive
Then forgive them
Prayer: Oh Heavenly Father, I choose to forgive __________ for what they did or said to me. I ask You to help me do this. I choose not to hold these things against them any longer. I repent and ask for your forgiveness for holding on to any unforgiveness toward them. I ask You to bless them. To send them blessings. I send drink for their thirst and food for their hunger, in the name of Jesus. I command that my body be healed and restored, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually as a result of all past unforgiveness, all in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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