Forgive and Be Forgiven

“‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12, NASB95)

Forgiveness is at the heart of God’s redemptive actions. The church does not exist without forgiveness, but forgiveness is often misunderstood. Forgiveness is an essential attitude of the church because the church can’t survive without it. We are all human, and we all sin. If you can’t forgive someone who sins, especially someone who sins against you, then you will have a root of bitterness that, like cancer, will grow and destroy you from the inside out.

Jesus instructed His disciples about the essential element of forgiveness which would be necessary to build a healthy church. Forgiveness first comes from God and is crucial to restoring our relationship with God. When people sin, they offend God and break their relationship with Him. Forgiveness is a restorative action taken to release the debt of offense, and even though God has the right to be offended, He releases His right to condemn.

Overlooking a wrong is not forgiveness because the debt of the offense still exists. Overlooking a sin is the same as covering it. The overlooked sin remains underneath the covering, and even though it is not easily seen, the sin is still there. God initially covered man’s sins with the atonement of the blood of bulls and goats, yet sin and man’s sin debt remained until Jesus shed His blood which removed the debt of sin.

Jesus paid man’s sin debt with His blood, and God now offers unconditional forgiveness to anyone who asks for forgiveness. The forgiven believer’s sins are no longer covered but completely removed, and the sinner is released from the debt of sin. This same pattern of forgiveness is to be offered towards others in the same way God forgives. We are forgiven on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice, and we are to forgive one another the same way. A lack of forgiveness of others reveals the lack of understanding of God’s forgiveness. To forgive one another is a clear command of God for your own good so that you will know the full blessing of forgiveness of God.

““Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” (Mark 11:25, NASB95)

Pastor Cary

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