WHY WE MUST FORGIVE
by: Pastor Max
23:34 - "Father, forgive them for they know not what they
hanging between two thieves upon a rugged cross, dying for the sins of the
world, Jesus set the ultimate example. He prayed for mercy for His
enemies. Jesus prayed for his enemies to be forgiven.
their ignorance and spiritual blindness, they had crucified their own
Messiah. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, exhibited the
same godly spirit. In his agony and pain, he prayed, "Father,
lay not this sin to their charge." (Acts 7:51)
ERR IS HUMAN AND TO FORGIVE IS DIVINE
is an old saying, "To err is human and to forgive is
divine". The human family is born in SIN and has a natural
inclination toward that which is immoral, illegal and sinful. The
easiest thing in the world, however, is to criticize, judge and malign one
another. That trait comes naturally to us humans, who are arrogant,
selfish and proud.
IS IT THAT MAKES PEOPLE SO VENGEFUL & UNFORGIVING?
of character is also becoming commonplace in our society. What a sin
and shame! Where do all these base, carnal and sensual thoughts and
actions come from. What makes mortal man so vengeful, deplorable,
mean and so unable to offer forgiveness?
the cause of an angry, hateful spirit is jealousy, envy and a sense of
insecurity, rather than a vindication of truth. Dragging a great
person into the mud, undoubtedly makes gossipers and antagonists feel
equal or even superior for the moment.
& JEALOUSY CAUSE A HATEFUL & UNFORGIVING SPIRIT
Bible says, "For he (Pilate) knew that the chief priests had
delivered Him for envy" and even though they "found no guilt in
Him", yet they crucified Him "without a cause". (Luke
23:13-16; Matthew 27:24; Acts 13:28)
BIBLE WARNS AGAINST ENVY & LUSTS OF THE FLESH
brothers sold him into 'Egyptian slavery', because they were "moved
with envy". (Acts 7:9) The Bible warns against the sin of
envy, including it in a long list of sins ranging from homosexuality to
murder. (Romans 1:29)
John warned about the devastating effects of the lusts of the flesh.
St. Paul spoke of devouring one another through fighting and back-biting.
St. James, the pastor of the first Pentecostal Church in Jerusalem, asked:
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not
hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?" In his
epistle, Jesus' half-brother, spoke of lust and hatred as underlying
causes of war and strife.
IS OFTEN ADMIRATION IN REVERSE
known Evangelist T.L. Osborn stated: "Don't let criticism bother
you. Criticism is really admiration in reverse. As a rule,
your critics admire you, or they wouldn't talk about you."
How difficult for all of us to receive criticism, but how easy to dish it
out. And for many, it is even harder to forgive and forget.
Bitterness, hatred and jealousy will destroy the one who harbors
them. Carrying a grudge can produce insomnia, nervous tension,
ulcers and other illnesses.
FORGIVING SPIRIT IS BEAUTIFUL & CHRIST LIKE
unforgiving spirit is demanding, cold and uncaring, while a forgiving
spirit is beautiful and Christ-like.
IS A GIFT FROM GOD
pastor Rev. Dale Lang of Taber, Alberta, whose son Jason was shot to death
by a fellow student in his high school on April 28, 1999 stated: "Forgiveness
is a gift from God."
their terrible grief, the pastor and his wife, Diane, publicly forgave the
youth accused of their son's murder and prayed with the other
students. He said: "Without God's love I couldn't have
forgiven that young man who shot our son. This is too painful a
thing to do on your own. With God in my heart He has made it
possible. I've been set free from bitterness and anger and
un-forgiveness, and that is a wonderful gift."
JOHN PAUL 2 OFFERED FORGIVENESS TO THE MAN WHO TRIED TO KILL HIM
John Paul 2 was following in Jesus' footsteps when he visited Mehmet Ali
Agea in his prison cell and prayed for the man who had tried to kill
him. He stated: "Peace and forgiveness go together as an
inseparable pair. One cannot remain a prisoner of the
past....Individuals and people need a sort of healing of memories so that
past evils will not come back again."
Oral Roberts, who had been the subject of harsh ridicule in the press,
delivered a powerful sermon on forgiveness to 5,000 ministers at a
conference, shortly after being vilified in the media.
John wrote, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to
forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John
Bible says, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin
is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputes not
iniquity." (Psalms 32:1-2) It's great to know that God has
forgiven us, on the merits of Jesus' death, as our substitute.
Bible says: "...And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the
Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous: And He is the propitiation for our
sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole
world." (1 John 2:1,2)
word 'propitiation' means 'appeasement'; that God is
satisfied with Jesus' death on the cross! His sacrificial, vicarious
death for us satisfied the 'demands of divine justice', in the courts of
taught His disciples to pray: "And forgive us, our debts, as we
forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation. For if
we forgive men their trespasses (offences), your heavenly Father will also
if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father in heaven
forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:12-15)
WE DO NOT FORGIVE OTHERS - GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE US
is a sobering thought! If I do not forgive those who have wronged
me, God will not forgive me. Refusing to forgive is there, an
unpardonable sin. God cannot forgive the sins of an individual, who
refuses to forgive those who have wronged him or her.
GOD'S GRACE ALONE WE ARE FORGIVEN
took God's grace, through Jesus Christ to forgive us, and it takes His
grace for us to forgive one another, as well as to forgive ourselves when
we have done wrong.
Bible says, "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved,
bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a
quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."
Paul warned, "Neither give place to the devil...Let him that stole
steal no more....Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your
all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and evil speaking, be put away from
you with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted,
forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven
you." (Ephesians 4:27-32)
IS FORGIVENESS? - HOW CAN WE LEARN TO FORGIVE
the Hebrew, the word forgiveness has a strong connection with the word 'kaphar'
(atonement) meaning "to cover". God instituted the
sacrificial system which pointed to the cross where His Son, Jesus Christ,
the Lamb of God would shed His blood to wash away the sins of all those
who believe on Him.
Bible says, "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we
have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son
cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
the Old Testament system, the blood of the sacrificial animal covered the
sin, but through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on Golgotha, our
sins are purged, cleansed and washed away.
IN THE GOOD NEWS: "But Christ being come an high priest of good
things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with
hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats
and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place,
having obtained eternal redemption for us.
if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling
the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh."
much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the Eternal Spirit
offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works
to serve the living God!" (Hebrews 9:11-14)
to believers, St. Paul admonished: "And above all things have fervent
charity (gr. Agape, love) among yourselves: for charity (love)
shall cover a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)
SECOND meaning of the word forgiveness is conveyed by the Hebrew word 'nasa'
which was used in the Old Testament to express the carrying away of
Israel's sins. It means to "lift up or away", by
God forgives unworthy sinners (us all), he lifts from us all the burdens,
guilt and condemnation that those sins have created.
THIRD meaning of forgiveness comes from the Hebrew word 'salach' which is
"to send away, let go". Again, this refers to God's grace
in removing the sin from us. It denotes a separation of the sin from
the sinner. The sin and its penalty - which is death - is separated
from the believing penitent soul, and he is divorced from his carnal, evil
and wicked state.
Bible says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver
and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your
fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without
blemish and without spot."
born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of
God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Peter 1:18, 19, 23)
Whom, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins,
according to the riches of His grace; And you hath He quickened, who were
dead in trespasses and sins;" (Ephesians 1:7; 2:1)
FOURTH meaning comes to us from the Greek language. The word 'Apoluo'
is "to loose away" and the FIFTH meaning comes from
the Greek word 'charisomai' means "to be gracious to".
Christ has "loosed us away" and separated us from our sins,
fear, torment and guilt, because God has been 'gracious' toward us.
Praise His Holy name for His mercy endures forever! Amen.
Bible states, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man
should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
when we were yet without strength, in due time Chris died for the
ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet
peradventure for a good men some would even dare to die. But God
commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we
shall be saved from wraths through Him."
if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His
Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
'lifted off' from us the burden of guilt and shame and carried our sins
far way. He is our substitute and like the scapegoat, removed our
sin and its penalty from us. (Leviticus 16:21, 22)
the blood of Jesus Christ, and the Word of God, has the power and ability
to purge our conscience from guilt! No amount of counseling or other
form of therapy has that ability.
Bible says: "There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in
Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
BASIS OF ALL FORGIVENESS
basis of all forgiveness is God's unfathomable love! Let this great
truth resonate in your spirit. It is because of God's great love,
mercy and grace that I have received forgiveness and peace.
people often say, "The Old Testament is void of love and
compassion. It is about the law and God's severity and
judgment. And the New Testament is about God's grace, mercy and
seem to think that our Heavenly Father is severe and delights in punishing
people, but Jesus Christ, God's Son is full of compassion and love.
SAID, "....He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father and how
sayest thou then show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in
the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you, I
speak not of Myself: But the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the
works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or
else believe Me for the very works sake." (John 14:9-11)
SAID: "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the
Father do: but what things soever He does, these also, and show Him all
things that Himself doeth, those also doeth the Son likewise."
the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that Himself
doeth...because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of Him Who hath
sent Me." (John 5:19, 20, 30)
do nothing of Myself, but as My Father hath taught me, I speak these
things. And He that hath sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not
left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him." (John
6:28, 38, 39)
Bible states: "God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son,
Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the
worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of
His person..." (Hebrews 1:1-3)
OLD TESTAMENT PROVES GOD'S MERCY
study of the Old Testament proves God's love and mercy was also evident
there. It is true that "the law was given by Moses, but grace
and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17) It is also true
that Jesus would not have come to this 'sin cursed world' with the message
of grace and truth, if it was not the Father's will.
AND EVE - God gave them a free will to choose whom they
would serve. He strongly warned them about the 'Sin of
After 'The Fall', He drove them out
of the Garden so that they would not be doomed to live in their
sin forever by eating of the tree of life. Immediately, God
came to their rescue by killing an innocent animal, to atone for
(cover) their sins! (Genesis 2:16, 17; Genesis 3:21)
CAIN - After Cain killed Abel, and was banished from
that place, he complained that someone finding him would seek to
kill him. The Lord therefore put a mark upon him, so that no
one would harm him! (Genesis 4:13-15)
SENT THE FLOOD - Why was the flood, that destroyed
about 8 million souls necessary? The people had become
corrupted to the point, where the bloodline of the promised
Messiah was iin danger of being compromised.
On planet earth, there were only 8
souls - Noah and his family - who were not corrupted by the sin
and unrighteousness that had swept across the earth.
By sending the flood, God in His
mercy guaranteed the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, through
the miracle of the incarnation (God in human flesh), begotten of
the Holy Spirit and born of Mary, the virgin.
Satan's plan was to totally pollute
the human race, so that no one would be able to bear the Christ
Child, but God saved righteous Noah and his family by sending the
flood of judgment upon the earth.
The Bible states: "But Noah
found grace in the eyes of the Lord." (Genesis 6:8)
GAVE HIS ONLY SON - Jesus became the burden bearer for
the sins of the world! God the Father laid upon His Son the
sins, pains, sicknesses, diseases and fears, guilt and torment
that Satan - through man's disobedience - had brought upon the
How could anyone call our Heavenly
Father uncaring, when you consider the great sacrifice He made in
giving His One and Only Son to this world, to suffer, bleed and to
die for our wins on the 'cursed cross'?
THE BIBLE SAYS: "Surely He
hath borne our sicknesses (heb. makob), and carried our pains (heb.
nasa): yet we did esteem His stricken, smitten of God, and
"But He was wounded for our
transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities: the
chastisement of our peace was upon Him: and with His stripes we
are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have
turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid upon Him
the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:4-6)
The Word of God declares: "For
God so loved the world that He have His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting
life." (John 3:16)
"He that spared not His own
Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him
also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)
GREAT SIN FORGIVEN - Although David sinned grievously,
he was obedient and willing to repent of the sins of adultery and
murder. By God's grace he was forgiven and restored.
Even though David was a mighty man
of God, he fell into sin repeatedly. David's heart was
pliable and sincere however, and he sought mercy in repentance and
continued to go on with God.
At one point, God sent a
prophet to confront him. Judgment was swift. David's
son by Bathsheba took ill and died, and as the prophet declared,
"the sword did not depart from his house." (2 Samuel 12:
He repented, however,
and God forgave and restored him fully. Here is the prayer
he cried out to the Lord: "Have
mercy upon me, O God...blot out my transgressions. Wash me
thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall
be whiter than snow...Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all
in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within
me. Cast me not away from Thy presence: and take not Thy
Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy
salvation: and uphold me with Thy free Spirit."
GRACE OF GOD! To me, this is one of the most remarkable
accounts of God's GRACE in the Old Testament. David had
committed adultery, impregnating Bathsheba. In trying to
cover his sin, he had her husband Uriah killed. Yet, God's
Holy Spirit had not departed from David. He cried out: "Cast
me not away from Thy presence: and take not Thy Holy Spirit from
desperate. He knew that he was close to stepping over the
line of God's grace. It was his last wake-up call to repent
and he did. God forgave him and restored him! PRAISE
GOT A SECOND CHANCE - Samson broke his covenant with
God when he divulged the secret of his great power to Delilah, the
enemy of his people. When the Spirit of God departed from
this great champion, who had ruled Israel for 20 years, he lost
his power and was taken into captivity.
Philistines put out his eyes and turned him into a spectacle of
derision and a visible sign of their triumph over Israel and the
living God, whom they served! He was made to grind at the
mill, like an ox, while people came to view his humiliation and to
praise their god, Dagon.
those painful, desperate and shameful hours, he began to call upon
God afresh and the Lord heard his cry and gave him another
chance. Here is the account right out of the Holy Bible:
the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him
down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did
grind in the prison house. Howbeit the hair of his head
began to grow again after he was shaven." (Judges 16:21-22)
a given day the Philistines were planning to sacrifice to their
god Dagon for their victory in capturing their greatest
enemy. Samson was brought to make sport for them.
"And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand,
Suffer me that I might feel the pillars whereupon the house
stands, that I may lean upon them."
the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the
Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three
thousand men and women that beheld Samson make sport; And Samson
called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray
Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, O God, that
I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two
Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house
stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right
hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let
me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all
his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the
people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at this
death were more than they which he slew in his life." (Judges
ISRAEL SINNED & GOD WANTED TO DESTROY THEM - Moses
had just come down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of stone
on which God had written with His own finger, the Ten
was going on in the camp was horrible. During Moses' forty
day absence, the children of Israel had abandoned the Lord and His
laws. They had already broken the first commandment and made
themselves a god in the form of a calf of gold.
Bible says: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down;
for thy people, which Thou brought out of the land of Egypt, have
corrupted themselves: Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath
may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will
make of thee a great nation.'
Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth Thy
wrath wax hot against Thy people, which Thou hast brought forth
out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty
should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did He bring
them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from
the face of the earth? Turn from Thy fierce wrath, and
repent of this evil against Thy people."
Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants, to whom Thou swore by
Thine own Self, and said unto them, I will multiply your seed as
the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will
I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit forever."
the Lord repented (changed His mind) of the evil which He thought
to do unto His people." (Exodus 32:9-14)
SAVED FROM DEATH
than a hundred years ago, a Russian Nobleman and his servant left St.
Petersburg by dog team to purchase a large supply of goods and
provender. The five-day journey across the rugged, frozen tundra was
easily accomplished without incident. And on their return journey,
all went well for the first four days.
the morning of the fifth day, however, they noticed something like a grey
wall appear to their rear. Any apprehensions they had earlier, now
turned into reality as they understood that a large pack of timber wolves
had picked up their scent and were gaining on them. They urged the
dogs on, but they were tired and thee load was heavy. And the wolf
pack, spurred on by their hunger for blood and flesh were zeroing in for
were 10 miles from home. The sun had just set in the western sky and
the lights had come on in St. Petersburg. The wolf pack was on their
heels and getting ready for the kill. They could smell their foul
breath, see their yellow fangs and hear their blood curdling yelps.
As they neared their quarry, the weary travelers knew that it was too
late. They were not going to make it.
trusted servant, who had served the Nobleman's father earlier, moved to
the back of the shed. With a shout, he threw himself backwards into
the path of the blood thirsty pack. As the wolves begin tearing him
into pieces, the smell of blood filled the air and the wild beasts began
to fight one another over the kill.
as servant lay dying, the dog team and the Nobleman continued unharmed
toward St. Petersburg. You may ask: "Why would you share with
us the account of that terrible event?" The servant offered
himself to save the Nobleman and that is what Jesus did for us. He
threw Himself to the wolves when He offered Himself as the ultimate
sacrifice to save a lost world.
CHRIST IS THE LAMB OF GOD
hundred years before Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins, Isaiah
foretold His virgin birth, sufferings and death on the cross, as well as
His resurrrection from the dead and Everlasting Kingdom! (Isaiah 7:14;
John the Baptist saw Jesus, he stated: "Behold the Lamb of God, Who
takes away the sins of the world." (John 1:29) And St. Peter
said: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with
corruptible things, as silver and gold...But with the precious BLOOD of
Christ, as a Lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18,
Bible says: "For He hath made Him to be sin for us. Who knew no
sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God Him." (2
Corinthians 5:21); "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that, though He was rich, but for your sakes He became poor: that ye
through His poverty might be rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9);
"Who His own Self Himself bear our sins in His own body on the tree,
that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness: by Whose
stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24)
Friend, please allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. May you open
your heart and life to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour
today! You will not be sorry you did. He loves you so much and
waits for your call. He will save you for time and eternity.
May God richly bless you, heal you and fill you with the marvelous Holy