By Pastor Brenda Patterson
What is forgiveness? The dictionary says it is a verb that means it is an action word. I did pay a little bit of attention in English class.
1 a: to give up resentment of or claim to requital for <forgive an insult> b: to grant relief from payment of <forgive a debt>
2: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender): pardon<forgive one's enemies>
When we forgive it doesn’t mean what was done to us was OK. It doesn’t mean that person will not have to pay for the sin. It does mean we will not be the one making them pay for it, God will. And we will not be taking the consequences of the sin on us. If we don’t forgive the sin it could lead to thoughts of getting even.
Romans 12: 19 NIV
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
What does it mean when Christ forgives us?
Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. KJV
When we forgive others sometimes we take back our forgiveness, if someone does the same thing to us over and over again. God doesn’t do that. When HE forgives, it is as far as the east is from the west, it can never touch again just like the east and west never meet. God never holds or remembers that sin again. You can forgive with your mouth and not forgive with your heart. When we forgive with our heart, we don’t bring it back up to that person and use it against them.
Why do we forgive?
First of all, it is commanded of us to forgive, and if we don’t God will not forgive us. I don’t want the consequences of unforgiveness in my life.
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
I want my father in heaven to forgive me. Forgiveness has parts, I think when we hold judgments and condemnation against others we are holding unforgiveness against them as well. In Luke 6:37 it ties them all together.
Luke 6:37 NIV
37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
When we forgive others, our Father remembers our sin no more.
Do you forgive yourself? Not forgiving yourself is putting you on a pedestal and saying I know what is better for me than God, and that is idol worship. We are created in God’s image so we are to love the person God created in us, while we are learning to love the person we created out of HIS creation.
When do we forgive?
Have you come to church and didn’t know communion was going to be served and saw it and the Lord brought someone or something to your remembrance that you had not forgiven? That is definitely the time to forgive.
1 Corinthians 11:27-30 KJV
27 Wherefore whosoever (who is a whosoever) shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
(That word sleep translates death.)
Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV
26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
When we get angry, we need to forgive quickly so it doesn’t give bitterness and resentment and all the other negative emotions a chance to grow. I heard Jessie Duplanis say one time that Cathy will be upset with him and he will say, “Do you forgive me?” and she will say, “I got till the sun goes down, let me think about it for a while.”
This verse also makes it very plan that unforgiveness is a foothold for the devil. At one of the garage sales we had at church, I was talking to a lady and asked her if she went to church and she said she watches it on TV. I said well that is good but you miss out on the fellowship with other believers and she said she had gotten hurt in the church a long time ago and not gone back. That was so sad to me that her unforgiveness has kept her from having a church family and another part of it is the body of Christ didn’t get the benefits of her gifts either.
Mark 11:25-26 NKJV
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.
James 5:16 KJV
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. KJV
I looked up the word faults and it said Strong’s number NT: 264 (figuratively) to err, especially (morally) to sin: KJV - for your faults, offend, sin, trespass.
When God healed me of chemical/chemical intolerance, I was lying in the floor and it was like every hurt in my life came in my right ear, went across my brain and I forgave it, and it went out my left ear. When I got up, I was completely healed of what had been a big interruption in my life for 25 years.
How many times are we to forgive?
Matthew 18:21-22 NIV
21 Then Peter came 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.
Matthew 18:23-35 NIV
23 Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 The servant fell on his knees before him. Be patient with me, he begged, and I will pay back everything. 27 The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. Pay back what you owe me! he demanded. 29 His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, Be patient with me, and I will pay you back. 30 But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 Then the master called the servant in. You wicked servant, he said, I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.
I don’t want to be cast into hell for unforgiveness. I heard about a pastor that was raised from the dead through Reinhardt Bonnke. Pastor Daniel Ekechukwu of Nigeria, Africa. He went to hell because he had told his wife he would not forgive her for one year. He had been embalmed, not like we do in America with the removal of organs but by injecting with fluid to keep his body from stinking. Unforgiveness is a dangerous thing. I think we take it way too casual. You can get a copy of Daniel’s testimony from the internet.
John 20:19-23 NIV
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.
When someone sins against us we can hold their sin to us and we become part of that sin, or we can forgive and their sin will not be on us. This is something the Lord has been showing me that we take up other people’s sins by not forgiving and we don’t realize it. When we are taught prejudice by our parents or other people, we are taking upon ourselves someone else’s sin and spreading hate and is totally against how God teaches us to behave.