It is not possible for any man or woman to walk the face of the earth without being offended at one point or the other. The Lord Jesus Himself assures us that offences will come. They are unavoidable. However, it is not a helpless situation because what really matters are how we react to offences, and we are empowered to do so rightly. This does not go to say that every Christian always forgives. There are some who for one reason or the other find it difficult to forgive those who wrong them. It may be the gravity of the offence committed or just a stronghold of bitterness that went unchecked for a while and has taken roots in the life of that individual.
To forgive is to release oneself or another person from bondage or imprisonment of guilt or anger for wrongs done, letting the captive go as if those offences had never been committed (which is remission of the penalties). We may find it difficult if we only consider forgiveness as a commandment we have to obey or observe. Indeed, Christians are commanded to forgive (Mark 11:25) but more than that, we are empowered to forgive. Forgiveness is of love and those who are born of God are born of love. It is in their nature to forgive, no matter how grievous the offence may be. Just like we love without condition, we are empowered to for forgive without condition.
If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.
That is authority and power to forgive sins even in the place of God. Those who find it difficult to forgive for one reason or the other may take consolation in the fact that there are definite privileges or benefits to forgiveness. More so, all those benefits are to your advantage.
Benefits of Forgiving
Forgiveness empowers divine forgiveness
Luke 6:37 (KJV)
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven…
The definite command to forgive comes with a promise that one who does so will be forgiven. Forgiving those who wrong you aligns you with Divine mercies and compassion, attracting God’s forgiveness for your own wrongs. Remember that the LORD is sovereign and any wrong committed, no matter who suffers it is done to God. He is therefore justified and has the power to judge all wrongdoing. But He is willing to forgive those who will align themselves with His will to give forgiveness to others. Unforgiveness restrains or keeps those who hold grudges from receiving forgiveness from God.
Forgiveness empowers prayers
Matthew 5:22-24 (KJV)
Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Unforgiveness is the reason why the prayers of so many are not heard or answered. When we walk in unforgiveness, we walk in disobedience and rebellion against God. Of course it is not possible to oppose God and yet receive forgiveness from Him. Those who will be forgiven without condition must learn to give forgiveness without condition.
Forgiveness enhances love
Luke 7:47 (KJV)
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
When it comes to receiving forgiveness, one’s understanding of how much he or she has been forgiven stirs up love in the heart of that individual that is in a way proportionate to the magnitude of forgiveness that was received. The scripture above makes us understand that those who have more sins or transgressions for which they have been forgiven naturally show more love towards the God who forgave them than those who wrong them. It is what makes such a person wonder “how can I hold such insignificant offenses against my neighbour when so great offenses have been forgiven me of God”. The thought of how much you have been forgiven will help you understand how dearly you are loved and with that understanding, you will better walk in the love of God which is usually manifest in one’s willingness to forgive others.
Forgiveness facilitates healing
Luke 5:24 (KJV)
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy), I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
When guilt stands in a man’s way, it is difficult for him to receive the healing God offers. That is what we see happening to the man mentioned in the verse above. Jesus knew exactly why the man would not have been able to receive healing even if he was prayed for. So the LORD, in His Wisdom decided to attack the problem from its roots. Guilt of sins and transgression are a stumbling block that people often topple over in an attempt to receive healing or any other blessing God offers. Once this hindrance is taken away, the reception of healing is inevitable.
How to obtain forgiveness
Genesis 50:15-18 (KJV)
And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
It takes humility and repentance to receive forgiveness. Humility towards God is a testimonial of your consciousness that you need help. If that is not in place, even when you are forgiven, it will make no meaning to you and you may simply go on in the same path until you are eventually destroyed. Repentance is necessary to keep a man on the right track once he has turned away from wrong doing to truth.
… for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Without genuine repentance, forgiveness from God will have no actual effect in the life of the offender. This means the way to forgiveness is through humility of heart and repentance from wrongdoing to doing the truth. Now you can see that it is truly in your best interest to forgive those who wrong you from your heart. It is the virtue of the recreated spirit that affects even the soul and body. Learn and decide to forgive. So many things that seem beyond your reach will simply fall into perfect order when you align yourself with the divine order of receiving and giving forgiveness.
Without being born again, forgiveness could be impossible to either receive or give. But more than that, we will like you to understand that without having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, life is truly meaningless and unfulfilling. We invite you to receive Jesus, the Life, into your heart right now by making the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ your first begotten Son. I believe He died and resurrected again for my justification. Your word declares, whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. I confess Jesus is my LORD and Saviour. I accept Him in my heart. Fill me now with your Holy Spirit and empower me to live for you alone.
If you just made that prayer, we will like to start by saying a big WELCOME to God’s Family and Kingdom. We assure you that you will never be the same again. From now on it can only be from one display of glory to another. Please contact us. We can’t wait to hear from you. God bless you.
Pht. Emos Abamukong