Why we should Forgive

“By this we are sure that we are in him.  Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:5-6

In addition to this verse, the Bible tells us to “clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14) and to “fix …our eyes on Jesus”(Hebrews 12:12).  All of these phrases boil down to the same meaning …imitate Christ, he is our model.  We are to watch Him, to follow His example, to become one with Him.

So, think about Jesus and all the people he forgave:

He forgave the paralytic whose friends lowered him through the roof to be healed (Mark 2:5)

He forgave two tax collectors, Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10) and Matthew (also called Levi) who became one of the twelve disciples (Luke 5:27-32)

He forgave the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) and the sinful woman who anointed His feet (Luke 7:36-48).

He forgave Peter after he denied Him three times, and He even forgave those who crucified Him.

He forgave things that seemed unforgivable:  sinful behavior, betrayal, selfishness, greed, even murder.  If I want to become like Christ, shouldn’t I be willing to forgive:

the cashier at the store who was rude and abrupt?

my friend who forgot to call when she said she would?

the fellow church member who criticized me?

the neighbor who complains about everything I do?

Often the things I don’t want to forgive are truly petty.  Instead of feeling empathy for the people who offend me, I go over and over my own feelings of hurt and anger.  That’s turning in on yourself, the definition of sin, and it isn’t pleasing to God.

If I truly want to walk as He walked, I must forgive as he forgave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accepting Forgiveness

I’ve been thinking about how this month we’ve spent a lot of time blogging about forgiving, but not so much about accepting forgiveness.  Michele said forgiving isn’t easy –well, accepting forgiveness isn’t easy either.  Why? Here are some of the reasons I think cause us to have trouble.

  1. First of all we have to humble ourselves.  We have to admit we’re wrong and we need forgiveness.  I don’t know about you, but I like to pretend I don’t need anything, that I’ve got things together, that I’m in control.  That’s just plain denial.  Romans 3:23 tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 
  2. Sometimes we’re convinced that we don’t deserve to be forgiven.  We think that thing we did is so awful nobody, certainly not a perfect God can forgive it.  Well, (see point #1) we don’t deserve it.  It’s a gift.  Wow!  Get this –“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
  3. We think we have to earn forgiveness, and we feel hopeless to do that.  Again, remember forgiveness is a gift and it’s free.  We don’t deserve it, and we can’t earn it. “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us…”Romans 8:3-4
  4. We’re afraid we might have to change, and really, deep down, we don’t want to.  Remember when Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery, he also told her, “Go and sin no more.” John 8:11

Think of the difference between the two disciples, Peter and Judas.  Judas betrayed Jesus, but so did Peter.  He denied Him three times.  The difference between these two men was not in what they did, but how they responded to it.  Peter trusted Jesus.  He confessed his sin and accepted forgiveness.  Judas felt guilty, but tried to take care of the problem himself by committing suicide.  How sad.  He denied himself the opportunity to be forgiven.  In so doing, he separated himself from God.

So, if you are feeling you can’t be forgiven, remember this promise:

“For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart.” 1 John 3:20

Be a Peter! Accept God’s forgiveness and let Him use you in a mighty way!