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Posts tagged ‘Bitterness’

Forgiveness a command given for our well-being

No one ever said forgiveness would be easy.

We should be well aware of the warning the Nazarene master teacher Jesus gives us. With several of his parables he gives an indication that if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14; Mark 11:25). God will not forgive us? The stakes could not be higher! The parable of the unmerciful servant elegantly demonstrates that the debt we owe each other is far smaller than the one we owe God.

In His sermon on mountain-moving faith, Jesus made a connection between faith and forgiveness.

He said,

“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:24-25).

As far as God is concerned, unforgiveness is no small issue. It is wickedness.

We see this in Jesus’ story of a servant who was forgiven a huge debt by his master. After the servant received his own forgiveness, he decided to deal with a fellow servant who owed him a small debt. But instead of forgiving this servant like he’d been forgiven, he had the servant thrown into jail for failing to pay.

Upon hearing what he had done, his master became furious, called him a wicked servant and delivered him to the tormentors (jailers) until he paid all that was due (Matthew 18:23-35). {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

Then the pastor goes back into history looking at what happened to Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own jealous brothers. He had not only to face that atrocious act of his brothers but was also unjustly accused of a crime and thrown into prison. In the Old Testament we can read how Joseph after miraculously being delivered from prison, was raised to the highest ruling position in Egypt next to the Pharaoh.

When he faced his brothers years later, instead of expressing bitterness, Joseph forgave them completely.

His brothers thought that Joseph would treat them harshly but Joseph said,

“No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” (Genesis 50:21). {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

In our own life we more than once shall encounter matters which can bring hate feelings to others who have done us wrong.

Whether we’ve been abused, deserted, falsely accused or mistreated, we must always choose to forgive.

We always should place everything we underwent into perspective. We may have had something terrible happened to us. Even when it would bring up so many hate feelings, we should question ourself if we not better learn something from it and use that experience to help others. Would it sometimes not be better to pray for those who did such an awful thing to us or to our beloved ones? We know it may be very difficult to forgive those that abused us or did terrible things to us. Though ….

We can’t wait for our feelings to change first, because forgiveness must be an act of the will, based on faith rather than feeling. We are to forgive others

“just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

If ever there comes a time when old feelings of unforgiveness rise up within you, say by faith,

“No, I’ve already forgiven that person. I refuse to focus on those old feelings.” {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

It can very well be we ourself have not the full strength to come to the point where we can face the one who did wrong to us and openly forgive him or her. It shall also be necessary to forgive more than once in our lifetime. Always, as Christians, followers of Christ, we should be willing to forgive.

And keep on forgiving. By the power of the Holy Spirit you will find that forgiveness becomes the “normal” lifestyle of an overcoming Christian!

If you’ve ever allowed yourself to be bound by anger and bitterness, forgiveness may sound like an impossibility, but it’s not!

As a Christian, you have the love of God inside you. Yield to that love. Press into God and you will see His Anointing in, on and through you multiplied as never before! {FAQ (3) Q: Do I have to forgive?}

 

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

In the 18th chapter of Matthew we learn that we should humble ourselves. Jesus also tells us we should be open to welcome the ‘innocent” or “young ones’ or “children” and warns us for the dangers of following our temptations.

Woe to the world because of temptations! For it must be that temptations come, but woe to that man by whom the temptation comes! {Matthew 18:7 MEV}

We perhaps can not escape to receive many temptations, but we can avoid falling for them. In our life we shall encounter many times, we ourself doing wrong, but also others doing wrong against us. That shall put us often in a difficult position, having to take a certain attitude against the one who did wrong to us.

In Matthew 6:15, Jesus looked at that situation where we would meet people who did something we did not like or found wrong. Jesus then taught that if we would not forgive men their trespasses, how could we then expect God to be willing to forgive our trespasses?

We should know that others, like ourself, can do wrong. Such wrong doing should not always be done on purpose. And even when it would be, it is up to the follower of Christ to take the first step. Though forgiveness isn’t always easy, the follower of Christ should remember Jesus his example.

The Jews knew about Judaic teachings emphasizing forgiveness for those who have offended. In the Testament of Gad, for example, the writer says

“Love one another from the heart, therefore, and if anyone sins against you, speak to him in peace. Expel the venom of hatred, and do not harbor deceit in your heart. If anyone confesses and repents, forgive him” (T.Gad 6:3).

When speaking from the heart, others soon shall come to find out what sort of heart you have. A good Jew was required not to have a heart of stone. The example above is sufficient to demonstrate Jews in the first century were not proto-Puritans condemning everyone’s sin, nor were they standing on the street corners with signs damning everyone else to Hell. For the most part, the Judaism of Jesus’s day understood they had received great mercy and grace from God and that the “venom of hatred” does no one any good.

In Jewish teachings it was taught every Jew as a Chosen one of God had to respect any other human being, because each man is created in the image of Gdo and as such as creatures of the Most High Elohim should be respected by a child of God.

It is known that offering mercy and forgiveness is not easy. When Peter asked Jesus

“Lord, how often shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

he probably thought he was being gracious with forgiving 7 times.

Jesus his reply may be astonishing, what a number of times we should forgive: he says seventy times seven which is 490. Even so He means this figuratively. We are to forgive always.

We should look at our Creator Who had to endure the rebellion of man and Who saw man going astray so often, but always was willing to come close again and help man. On many occasions God showed His love for the sinful man. Man should come to see that the Kingdom we strive for is really built on forgiveness.

To be able to forgive there first has to be love. Without love there is no possibility to honestly take the right attitude against the one who did wrong to you. We may not forget that love wipes away many sins. (1 Peter 4:8) Forgiving is covering up. Having to face a multitude of sins in our life we shall have to disregard the offences of others many times. Each time the memories of the wrong resurface, we may need to forgive again and again.

The difficulty we may face is that our emotions do not agree with forgiveness, but then we should think of Christ Jesus who looked at the people around him and knew very well what he had to do to bring salvation over them. Would we do such a thing like Jesus did? Giving our life for an other?

Remember the unending forgiveness God has already given to the disciples, and by extension to all those who are in Christ in the present age. We should come to reflect the unending mercy of the heavenly Father who has already forgiven mankind of all of their sins.

Let’s not hold grudges today and let not our pride being stronger than our humbleness. In a way it requires to be humble to put our own grudges away. Let’s remember that bitterness only destroys the vessel that carries it. Let’s love in spite of our feelings.

Sometimes we have to start all over and forgive again and again. The bigger the hurt or wrong, the harder forgiveness can be. But if Jesus can forgive us of our greatest wrong, then we too should be able to forgive others who have wronged us.

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

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