I cannot stress enough the importance of remaining free from offense and being quick to forgive people. Jewish Rabbinical tradition taught that a person only needed to forgive three times per day, but Jesus told Peter to forgive ‘seventy times seven’ (Mat 18:21). That’s equivalent to nearly every four seconds throughout our day. It shows just how important forgiveness is to our Lord. It also reveals God’s willingness to forgive our transgressions at the same rate!
God would never ask us to do something He wasn’t willing to do Himself. We serve a forgiving and merciful Heavenly Father! The bible says God forgets our sins, ‘once and for all.’
God keeps no record of wrongdoing, and all our sins are thrown into the ‘sea of forgetfulness,’ as some have called it. He expects you to forgive others with the same readiness. This is great news! Kenneth E. Hagin would often say, ‘be quick to forgive and quick to forget.’ Hagin stressed the importance of forgiveness throughout his ministry. He had more cause than most, often being attacked by the religious crowd for his ‘Word of Faith’ teachings. He never once retaliated to any of his accusers and his legacy speaks for itself.
The Apostle Paul said the ‘mystery of faith’ was keeping a pure conscience (1 Tim 3:9) and that includes forgiving people on a regular basis. Paul had plenty of opportunities to forgive and you can read about his numerous travails for yourself (2 Cor 11:23-30). Our God forgives and forgets…so should you.
Don’t be handed over to the tormentors
Because we’ve been forgiven of so much by our Lord, for us to hold on to any offense is an affront to God Himself. We’re commanded to forgive, just as Christ has forgiven us (Col 3:13, Eph 4:32). I urge you to stop reading right now and study the passage on the unforgiving servant, placing yourself in the Lord’s shoes (Matthew 18:21-35). If you’re not angered by this passage, you might want to check if you have a pulse.
It concludes with a sober warning from Jesus, “And his lord was wrath, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise, shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses” (Matt 18:34-35).
Who or what are these mysterious tormentors? In prison, the servant was punished physically until he paid his entire debt, yet for our application, the tormentors are a ‘type’ of the demonic realm. If we grasp tightly to unforgiveness, in time we’ll be subject to demonic influence in the form of oppression. Eventually, this may lead to sickness if it’s not dealt with. Don’t be a debtor to demons…forgive now!
Unforgiveness keeps the door open to the devil and he’ll rob your lunch for it! Some scholars have described unforgiveness as the, ‘the sin unto death’ (1st Jn 5:17). This alludes to premature (physical) death for some believers who’ve chosen not to forgive others. Hellish accounts in recent years (there are a multitude of them available on the internet) often mention people in Hell because they wouldn’t forgive. This is scriptural, even if we don’t necessarily believe the authenticity of every OBE (Out of Body Experience).
Matthew 6:14–15 says,” For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” This scripture applies to Christians too. If you don’t forgive, the Heavenly Father won’t forgive you! Ouch.
It’s time to forgive
The theme of unforgiveness or having ‘ought’ against someone is replete in scripture, particularly within the Gospels. In the church, believers commissioned to pray for the sick, are instructed to ask the recipient if they need to forgive someone, prior to the laying on of hands (Jam 4:14-15). I suggest that many of the physical ailments we suffer from, are related to unresolved heart issues, with unforgiveness at the top of the list. Scripture warns us of developing a stronghold of bitterness which can defile many (Heb 12:15).
I firmly believe physical sickness is more related to our soul condition than we realize. Our spirit, soul and bodies are interconnected each having an impact on one another. Our emotions can also greatly impact our physical well-being.
Some people are offended at God because of expectations they have surrounding people or circumstances. Many things they’ve believed for have not yet come to pass, or certainly not fast enough for their liking. These people end up blaming God and become bitter toward Him. Believe it or not, some of us might need to forgive God, (not that He needs forgiveness for anything) but in doing so, it releases our soul. It’s imperative we know some of the reasons our prayers might be hindered and how to prevent this going forward.
Click here to listen to a recent podcast regarding hindrances to prayer.
Are you drinking from a poisonous well?
Let’s be clear, some people have been wronged in a major way. Some have been molested, raped, attacked, betrayed and so on. Many innocent children grow up in abusive families and are thrown into environments they have no control over. I am not belittling your offense in any way. The people who’ve wronged you don’t deserve forgiveness if they haven’t apologized for their indiscretion.
Jesus told us to forgive someone who apologizes for their trespass, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him” (Lk 17:3). Yet we must realize that even if our wrongdoer doesn’t apologize, you must forgive them still!
We must give them a gift they don’t deserve. If not, they have a hold over us. God will give us the faith to forgive traumatic offense’s and/or difficult people. It may take time but ask Him for help.
Using this analogy holding on to unforgiveness in the long term is only going to hurt you, not the person who wronged you. In fact, they’ve probably forgotten all about it. Don’t let someone else have a detrimental impact on your life…let it go!
Mountain moving faith requires forgiveness
Jesus admonished us to speak to obstacles or hindrances in our path. The most popular passage along these lines is Mark 11:23-25. Let’s read it together now:
“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore, I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.“
But let’s focus our attention upon verse 25…
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Some have joked that people often kneel in church because if they stand, they have to forgive. Many believers are speaking to the mountain in their path (i.e., the obstacle) whilst simultaneously harboring unforgiveness, unaware their faith is being nullified. Satan is legalistic. If you hold ought against another, the enemy uses this against you in the Heavenly courts and your Father is unable to forgive you. You must make the first move; the choice is in your hands. If we forgive, then we will be forgiven but if we don’t forgive, we won’t be forgiven (Lk 6:37).
Forgiveness: A Greek word study
Rick Renner, is a Greek scholar and we lean upon him for the precise meaning of ‘forgive,’ in the New Testament, “The word forgive is the Greek word aphiemi. It means to set free, to let go, to release, to discharge or to liberate completely. It was used in a secular sense in the NT times in reference to cancelling a debt or releasing someone from the obligation of a contract, commitment or promise.
Thus, it means to ‘forfeit any right to hold a person captive to a previous commitment or wrong he has committed.” In essence, the word ‘forgive’ – the Greek word aphiemi – is the picture of totally freeing and releasing someone. A modern paraphrase of this Greek word would simply be ‘to let it go!‘”
It’s time to let it go friend. Sometimes after we’ve forgiven someone, the enemy reminds us of the offense, but we must persist in casting down imaginations which attempt to gain a foothold once more. Forgiving and forgetting are synonymous. If we’re meditating on the offense over and over, this is likely an indication we might not have truly forgiven from our heart. Forgiveness is a one-time decision, but the enemy might try to remind you of the offense. Tell him to take a hike! Some people might need to forgive themselves, are you one of those?
Are you a murderer?
Finally, have you ever been accused of murder? Sounds like a bizarre question, doesn’t it? This notion is of course, detestable to us but Jesus accused the Pharisees of being murderers because of their hateful attitude (Jn 8:44). Why would you be lumped in the same basket?
Believe it or not, the epistles teach that if we keep hate within our heart then we are placed in the same category as murderers, “Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them” (1st Jn 3:15)-NLT. This is a very sobering reprimand. Holding on to unforgiveness is a serious issue in God’s sight and leaves the door open to the devil. You must not ignore it any longer.
I urge you to close your eyes right now and ask Holy Spirit who you need to forgive. As you do, you’ll receive times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19).
I’m excited for what God has in store for you!
Have you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ? If not, click here to find out more…
Author – Carl G.M. Joseph
Sparkling Gems from the Greek (Volume I) – Rick Renner (Teach all Nations Publishing, Tulsa, OK, 2003- 14th Edition).
Apologizing Halakhically – Torah Musings.
Related keyword searches: