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Rediscover the Bible for Life
“The Essentials of Forgiveness Part 2”
By Dennis Lee
This week we’re looking at part two in our series of the essentials of forgiveness. Last week we looked at what forgiveness is not, because before we could move forward in the forgiveness process, there are a lot of misconceptions that need to be cleared up.
Today I’d like to look at the reason’s why we need to forgive, and the last one is a dozy.
The first reason we need to forgive is because God has forgiven us.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)
Since God has forgiven us, we cannot withhold forgiveness from others. It’s far easier to forgive others when we feel forgiven by God, especially when we see just how much God has forgiven us of.
None of us will ever forgive someone else of more than what God has forgiven us.
When we stack all the wrongs others have done against us next to the stack of wrongs we’ve done against God, we’ll realize just how small other people’s piles are compared to our own.
The second reason we need to forgive is because we need to be forgiven. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus said, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12 NKJV)
Now there’s a scary thought. What we’re saying is “Lord, forgive me as much as I forgive others.” Do we really want God to forgive us as much as we forgive others? No way! We want God to forgive us a whole lot more.
And the final shocker to this whole unforgiveness stuff is that we need to forgive because if we don’t we’ll turn into the very person we can’t forgive.
The most insidious part of unforgiveness is its infectious character. When we can’t forgive, it infects our hearts and we morph into the very person we can’t forgive. It morphs us into the very person we don’t want to be.
And so, we need to forgive others, before unforgiveness sets in and sucks the very essence of who God made us to be.
So, how are we to forgive others?
First, release your right to get even. Even though we may have the right doesn’t mean it is right.
Second, respond to evil with good. Joseph after he forgave his brothers said, “What you meant for evil, God meant it for good, to save many people” (Gen. 50:20).
Third, repeat the forgiveness process as often as it takes. Forgiveness is a process, not a one-time act. Forgiveness takes time, so give it the necessary time to take hold.
Finally, rescue others with God’s forgiveness. When we forgive others we rescue them, not only from themselves, but also from their hurt, which caused them to treat us that way in the beginning.
Who do you need to forgive? How much do you want God’s best for your life? How much do you need God to forgive you?
Forgiveness is a non-negotiable, and when we offer forgiveness then we’re opening ourselves up to more of God’s wonderful mercy and grace.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study