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The short answer is Romans 8:1-11. At age 82, I've finally figured out that my old nature is 100% unforgiving. When, even for an instant, I quit walking in the Spirit, you might say I could even "unforgive" things I had already forgiven! But when I'm walking in the Spirit, the John 17 Spirit of The Father in Christ living in me in unity with my Brothers and Sisters in Him, forgiving is so easy because looking at His forgiveness for me as He was Paying The Price for them on His Cross, I can pre-forgive everybody from now to Eternity! I look at it this way: The LOVER, living in me, has inexhaustible oceans of love He wants to pour through me to the world. My INTERCESSOR prays through me anything and everything He wants to accomplish in everybody. My GIVER wants to give, through me, anything He puts in my heart to ask, for anybody. My FORGIVER wants to forgive, through me, anybody who needs forgiveness... which is probably most people I will ever meet. My BLESSER wants to bless everybody I can reach with His II Peter 1:2-4 rich blessings plus every other blessing and resource mentioned in His Word... they are all there, just for the asking... to, as He commands in I Peter 3:9: "Bless, for to this you have been called, that you may receive a blessing!" And my firehose (explained below) is supplied by these oceans of Blessings! Note: Isaiah 9:6 lists only four names of Jesus: "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." I have two books listing 365 of His Bible names and titles... so you can have lots of fun adding to this list as you learn Who is living in you!... but here's one more: My OVERCOMER wants to overcome through me! Now that you know this, you are, from now on, a full-fledged, washed-in-His-Blood, Overcomer! As you wake up every morning, Overcomer, picture yourself as a fireman with a high-pressure water hose (connected to oceans of all the above) coming over your shoulder and in your hands is the big brass fire nozzle ready to deliver them full blast in a split second! You can pray something like, "Father, this old world (including even some of my family and friends and brothers and sisters in Christ) tried to do me in yesterday, the day before, and as far back as I can remember... and sure as heaven and hell will try to do me in today. Bring it on! We're ready! Then, as you drive to work or go wherever, God's angels, ministering to you by helping your ministry, shepherd certain people into your field of vision. They may be cutting you off in traffic or rubbing you the wrong way at your office or at school. This one has just been betrayed by her spouse, this one has just been wronged and is on his way to kill, that one had learned of a life-ending medical diagnosis and his contemplating suicide right now, and they ALL need forgiveness... and guess who is God's favorite Overcomer He has sent not only with His Forgiveness, but to bless with every blessing in The Book...... so open your mouth and let His oceans of blessings and forgiveness pour through it! Are we having fun yet?
Although I agree that in essence we/you should be able to forgive someone we don't have to take that so far as to where it will continue to be a dividing point in our lives. To forgive someone is not to say that you must continually let someone treat you bad just because of their "faults and or sins". Forgiving them is understanding them. And if you understand it correctly it sometimes may mean eliminating someone/something that is dangerous to you from your daily life. Forgiveness is sometimes meant as a rallying point for you - as you grow older you grow wiser etc. It doesn't necessarily change the person whom you have forgiven but instead it has changed you. There are many hostile influences in life that we sometimes have to let go of - i.e. people, alcohol, bad behaviors - forgiveness is not a free pass. It is a priceless gift.
The question: how can I forgive those who sin against me? All the answers I've read, with the exception of the one by Mr Rutz, has answered what wasn't asked. (1)WHY do we have to forgive. (2) what is forgiveness. (3) what forgiveness does.(4) it's effect on both the offended and the offender.(5) what happens if you don't forgive. All these responses are helpful to the many who need to forgive someone or be forgiven,but are not answers to HOW, the means by which to accomplish this difficult thing called forgiveness. Mr Rutz offered "the short answer"- Romans 8:1-11. These scriptures describe Life In The Spirit, and at first I didn't get what he meant by it. Paul is comparing life in the Spirit with the life the people had when they lived by the law of Moses. He's declaring the superiority of the new life they've been given. That answered the question of HOW, in my view. To simply tell someone "you must forgive to be forgiven" doesn't give them a clue as to HOW to make the forgiveness REAL in the secret place of the spirit of a man. To forgive someone who, let's say, curses you in public, someone you probably won't encounter again is one thing. To forgive someone who hurts you, whom you encounter every day is another thing altogether. The first example you soon forget. The second you recall daily. If you say you wouldn't I say that you haven't had the right lie told on you, so to speak. It can be next to impossible to get past with that person. Philippians 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I believe this to be the only way to really achieve what is meant by forgiveness. I don't believe I can, IN MY OWN STRENGTH, truly forgive the person who hurts me in a major way. Families have been destroyed by people and to expect the offended people to truly forgive the atrocity IN THEIR OWN STRENGTH is to expect a lot. God offers us access to His power in our lives if we will only accept it. His way is to forgive and He wants the same for us. We have a choice to make. Allow Him to set us free, or to remain in bondage to the prison of the flesh. It will not happen overnight, but in time He will change the way you FEEL ABOUT the offense and the offender. Turn it over to The High Priest!
I really enjoy Mr. Houdmann’s commentaries on the various subjects. He has a natural gift of expounding on the word of God that actually convicts me and makes me desire to put back on the Lord’s pottery wheel. Forgiving someone that has wronged you is easier said done depending on the nature of the offense. I also find that it even appears harder to forgive a person who has sinned against you when you think that they should have known better or you are closely tied to them somehow. David said ‘If it had of been a stranger I could have borne it but it was you my friend i.e., my brother” (Psalm 55:12). Forgiveness means that you are actually giving that person the opportunity to do that thing again to you, hmmm. Now that I am getting older when I am wronged I immediately take it to Jesus first, even before I address the matter when my offender. I have come to realize that all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28) So I strongly suggest that before attacking the person that offended you ask the Lord what is the purpose that should be learned from this fiasco. Surely you know that the Devil means all things for our demise however Jesus is a teacher so inquire to him what did you do to cause the offense taken. Oftentimes we think that we are guiltless of sins that are executed against us however most times we play a vital part in it. So ask the Lord why did it happen and what are you supposed to learn from it. Trust me he will respond and once he does you will be more apt to forgive. I know sounds crazy but it works. Now on another side of not forgiving a person or people, listen to me closely. You do not want anything or anybody to prevent you or separate you from your personal walk with the Lord where he cannot hear you or you cannot receive a blessing because you are holding animosity in your heart. The days are to evil now and you do not want un-forgiveness to block or hold up a prayer or blessing that is coming your way Amen.
As Christians, we are called to a higher standard of conduct, in thought, action, word, deed, being. We are not of this world, but of the Lord God Almighty's. When I really think about THAT, that's pretty heavy duty news to me. For me, with forgiveness, it is about getting right with God. If I do not forgive those who have done me wrong etc., I am not right with Him and I am letting the world own me. Not being right with the Lord is most upsetting to me! I would quote only one scriptural reference (although the others noted above are quite fitting to this topic as well) Matthew 5:43-48: 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. It is EASY to love those who love you. It isn't so easy to love those who hate you. But that is what Jesus did, and we are to be His hands and feet. Matthew 5:46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. It is what being made new in Christ is all about methinks. No more me, all about HIM being in me, and me being in HIM, and the true want of that. Blessings, in HIM, Lynn
As always, Michael provides us with a great answer and I want to add one thing. There is a therapeutic effect to forgiveness that benefits everyone in removing the negative emotions of anger and resentment and the actual pain the sin against us has caused. By replacing those emotions and pain with forgiveness we experience the peace and serenity of God's forgiveness and thus feel much better than we would if we harbored the anger and pain. Which would you choose? Gnashing your teeth and wanting to scream or cry, or being calm and relaxed and open to the day's experiences?
"Forgive one another as I have forgiven you...." is what the Lord commanded us to do. When I was a child, forgiving another child seemed to be the easiest thing in the world to do! You'd say "I'm sorry" and they'd say "I'm sorry too..." and then there would be a handshake or a hug and off to playtime or school would we both go! Now, comes the hard part. I used to be so close to God that I could forgive something mean someone said to me in a heartbeat; however, the older I get, the more offended I have become and the more bitter I seem to become and the harder it seems that it is for me to forgive. I don't know what changed. God didn't change, so I guess I did! Perhaps the childlike faith and innocence of forgiving the offender got pushed into a corner. Perhaps I got tired of forgiving over and over and over.... Oh, and I am sure that I must have analyzed every detail of what happened so that I could try to understand the offending party's perspective. But did I, really? I guess what I am trying to say is "Forgiveness isn't easy..." And when I think about the stripes of blood on Jesus's back and the crown of thorns that He endured for you and me, and the spits and insults and misunderstandings that people had of Him... well all of that leads me to believe that it wasn't easy for him to forgive either! It was hard for Jesus to forgive, and to think that all of the sins of mankind were laid upon his shoulders when he was nailed to the cross.... It makes me think, well, "If Jesus can forgive others for things that they did to me, then I can forgive them, too." One of my favorite Bible verses has been "Unless you become like a little child, you shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven." Well, here I go again: So, 1.) I won't overanalyze 2.) will try to forgive and forget right away, and 3.) Ask God what He wants me to learn from this situation. If I am like an innocent child, I trust God completely and I forgive others completely, even if they have hurt me deeply. It's a God-given quality that I just have to reach down and re-claim -- like a muscle with memory -- I remember what my function is as a Christian.... to be like Christ, and to forgive others, because Christ has forgiven me. Does this help anyone besides me? I hope So!
Perhaps the best way to forgive someone is to take their good points to God in prayer everyday interceding on their behalf for God to forgive "THEM". The Lord changed my own perception of A person (I was angry with) from victimizer to victim and much of my anger subsided. List their good points and admit to your own short-comings and ask for peace for the entire situation regardless of who is the most to blame. In the name of Jesus.
I whole heartily agree with all the other answers here and readily admit true forgiveness is often not easy. But I also think that deep down I emotionally don't want to "give them a pass" because by doing so, I will be saying what they did is ok. But forgiving another person is not "agreeing" with them. It is letting go of any need for revenge, knowing that we (including me!) are all imperfect humans, and trusting that God is sovereign and His truths will prevail! Forgiveness allows us to grow!
The question is: How can I forgive those who sin against me? Answer: We are to forgive those who sin against us because we are commanded to do so..... Matthew 18: 21-22: Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus says unto him, I say not unto you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Luke 11:4: And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us [sins against us]....... Why do we forgive others when they trespass/sin against us? Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men their trespasses/sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: BUT if you forgive not men their trespasses/sins, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. This all ties in with the command we have been given by our lord Jesus to love our neighbors as he has loved us. And he willingly gave his life for us while we were yet sinners. Are we developing through renewal of our minds to have the mind of the lord Jesus and live out his love working in and through us by his spirit toward our neighbors - the good, bad and ugly...
I'm glad you asked. We see in Matthew 5:38-42 (Life Application Bible Notes) when we are wronged, often our first reaction is to get even. Instead,Jesus said we should do good to those who wrong us! Our desire should not be to keep score, but to love and forgive.This is not natural, it is supernatural. Only God can give us the strength to love as he does. Instead of planning vengeance, pray for those who hurt you. So in answer to your question, we are to not only forgive those who have persecuted us, but we're to forget as well, "start a clean slate".
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