The Key to Forgiveness
“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink”
(Pr. 25:21; NASB)
Sometimes it seems impossible to get a group of people to agree on anything. Human nature is funny that way. Christians are no exception. We all read the same Book and still can’t agree on what it says. There are many differing opinions about what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to living a Christian life. Many of the disagreements come from a misinterpretation of scripture or a lack of knowledge. However, the Bible has some things that leave no room for argument. One of those things is forgiveness. In the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus gave us “The Lord’s Prayer”. It states, “And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). This means we are asking God to forgive us in the same way we have forgiven others. Jesus then drove the point home even further in verses 14-15 where He said: “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” That is as direct as it gets. If you want forgiveness, you must forgive. Think about that for a minute. Considering all that can happen in life, how is it possible to forgive everyone of whatever they may have done? It is impossible for us to do it on our own. It is the Lord who puts the forgiveness in our hearts. We need to receive it. Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love is the root of forgiveness. If you do not love your neighbor, there will be things he or she can do that you might consider unforgivable. However, unforgiveness is not an option for a believer. You may feel as though you can’t possibly forgive someone, but if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, it is possible. It is your willingness to forgive that is key. When we take the deep offenses in our lives to the Lord in prayer, we must let go of our perceived right to be offended. If your enemy is hungry and you feed him purely out of obedience to the Lord, your efforts will not go unrewarded. You will find that forgiving someone comes through your willingness to please God, not your ability to forgive. Because of your obedience to His word, He puts the forgiveness in you. Is there anything you have been hanging on to that you need to let go? Has anyone ever done anything that brings you negative thoughts whenever it comes to mind? Pray for God to reveal the unforgiveness that may be in your heart. Then be willing to let it go. It may not be easy, but it is certainly worth the effort. Have a great week and God bless.