” And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32
Forgiveness is a difficult concept to get a grip on. The only way we can truly understand it is if we understand the basis for which we can forgive and that is only that the Father forgives us through the sacrifice of His Son!
Prerequisites for forgiveness:
All three must be present, and are the foundation in our lives in order for true forgiveness to take place. Forgiveness assumes a standard has been broken or a line crossed in which an offense now lies. It is only through salvation that we can even acknowledge the standard. It is God who sets the standard. It is because we have been forgiven of a debt we could not pay and trust in the only one who could pay the debt on our behalf that we have the ability to forgive others.
Requirements for forgiveness:
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” ~ Colossians 3:12-13
This verse pretty much covers it all. Humility, compassion, and mercy are only abilities given to us by God. They are marks of the Spirit living inside us. We absolutely must have them to truly forgive. If we look at the two parables in Matthew chapter 18, we will see all of these attributes present in the king who forgave the debt.
Results of forgiveness:(2 Corinthians 2:7-11)
- Stops the corrosion of sin- 2 Cor. 2:10-11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us“
- Confirmation of love-2 Cor.2:8
- Inherit a blessing- 1 Peter 3:9
- Freedom- We all know and have heard many testimonies of the bondage that unforgiveness brings. It brings bars of bitterness that chain our hearts to the pain in which we have experienced. Forgiveness breaks our hearts free from the captivity.
5 Steps to Forgiveness
- Recognize your need for forgiveness from the Father. Ephesians 1:7- In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.
- Be humble. 1 Peter 5:5- Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
- Show compassion 1 Peter 3:8,9- Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion on of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
- Be merciful Luke 6:36- Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
- Love…because love keeps no record of wrongs! 1 John 3:18- My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue but in deed and in truth.
Forgiveness is hard, but as forgiven people we must also be forgiving people!
Is there someone in your life that you are harboring unforgiveness toward? Pray about that person. Pray for that person and ask God to change your heart so that you may forgive!