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Biblical Principles and Life Application II - Forgiveness
Posted by: administrator (Jan-31-2009)
Biblical Principles and Life Application II - Forgiveness

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Matthew 18: 21-35


Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him the thousand talents was brought too him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.


The servant fell on his knees before him. Be patient with me, he begged and I will pay back everything. The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denary. He grabbed him and began to choke him. Pay back what you owe me, he demanded.


His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, be patient with me, and I will pay you back. But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.


Then the master called the servant in, you wicked servant, he said, I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.


This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.


Principle


This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother/sister from your heart


In chapter 18 of the book of Matthew, the disciples were asking Jesus many questions and the question of forgiveness soon came up. In verses 15 – 20 Jesus taught His disciples principles that we will discuss later.


From the above parable, we can come to the following conclusions about God’s view and what He wants us to do with people who offend us.


* We have a heavenly Father who has forgiven us a bigger sin than anyone on earth will ever commit against us.



* Once we ask our heavenly Father, He forgives.



* Our heavenly Father expects us to forgive sins committed against us



* When we don’t forgive offenses against us, He will not to forgive us as well



* Forgiveness from the heart is different from other forms of forgiveness



To forgive someone is to physically and emotional release (or let go) of the bad things (perceived or real) that someone has done against you. To forgive does not mean you forget the situation, it means when you remember the situation you do not have any feeling of revenge or anger toward the person, rather you have a feeling of compassion or pity toward such a person.


In my personal life and as a lay counselor, I have seen un-forgiveness break up many homes (divorce) and also many people trying to forgive their offender in their own strength.



There are some basic things that we need to understand about forgiveness


* It is a command not optional (not forgiving is disobedience)
* It requires a spiritual awareness in the individual (one of the fruit of the Spirit)
* Understand the principle of God first, others second and I’m third



When someone offends you (Principle of the offended)


Matthew 18: 15-17


* go to the person “alone” and explain how their action made you feel
* If rejected, take a witness with you and go back to the person and explain again how their action made you feel
* If rejected, take the person to a council of elders (church, mosque, community, etc) and state your case again.
* If the person rejects everyone’s gesture – the Bible said such a person should be treated as a pagan or tax collector (outcast – someone not within the fold)



In a marriage situation, the above principle would mean husband and wife discussing whatever the problem is between each other first, then to a marriage counselor or therapist, if no solution is found, then the pastor or his/her council should get involved and pass down a judgment. If such a person is still refusing, then the bible says such a person should be seen as an outcast from the body of Christ. This principle and procedure can be applied in every relationship arena not just marriage.


I want to suggest to my pastor friends, to set up a lay group that deals with issues first, before it gets to them (marital or otherwise), they should be the final authority when the first layer can’t get it done. The pastors primary duty is to feed the sheep and a good food require adequate preparation.


When you offend someone (Principle of the offender)


Matthew 5: 23


* If you offend someone or someone offend you, put aside your gift to God, make amend with the person and then bring your offering to God.



This principle is seen all over the Bible and it is the same principle that applied when God forsook His Son, when He bore the sin of the world on Himself on the cross. Psalms 15 says no one with filth (including un-forgiveness) can ascend on to the throne of God. For those of us who are married, Malachi 2: 13-14, 1 Peter 3: 7 clearly states that our prayers are hindered when we treat our spouse badly (un-forgiveness – is a big part of any marital issue).


Why does God want us to forgive?


1. Un-forgiveness hinders relationship


We are created for relationship and because we are humans (sinful by nature), God gave an alternative, He said “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”


Because God wants relationship with us and He cannot behold sin, He ask that we seek genuine “repentance” (Lord I’m sorry, Lord forgive me and Lord I wont do it again) so we can have relationship with Him.


Our un-forgiveness also hinders Him forgiving us, Matthew 6: 14-15 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” and when God starts to count our sins, none of us can stand.


2. Un-forgiveness wrecks our body


Our body is the temple of God, the abode of the Holy Spirit, and God wants us to take care of it. However, when we harbor un-forgiveness, science have proven that many ailments plague our body, from dry bones (some form of arthritis), to depression (chemical imbalance), to high blood pressure, to headaches (various forms), to Ulcer, and many more.


When we carry resentment within us, we feel like we are carrying this whole world on our head, we spend too much time trying to avoid the person that has offended us and hormones in our body goes crazy (epinephrine and nor-epinephrine).


3. Un-forgiveness pollutes our soul


When we choose not to forgive, we give the enemy a foothold into our mind and soon enough, this foothold becomes a stronghold. Satan has no authority, except that which we give to him, when we have unforgiving spirit then we are giving Satan a legal right to step into our business (because at such times we are away from the secret place of God or the shadow of the Almighty).


Satan, then goes to work on our mind by either reminding us of what the person has done to us in the years past listing each one and bringing it to your memory or by telling you what the person is up to and you are busy making contingency plan or what has not happened, and in both cases you get wound up, developing tightening of the chest and other physical ailment.


The enemy is killing two birds with one stone when we don’t forgive; un-forgiveness keeps us away from God (which is bad in itself) and un-forgiveness wreck havoc to our body physically.
Forgiveness
Pros Cons




Prayer answered Prayers hindered (Matt. 5: 23-24, 18: 19)


God will forgive you God will not forgive you (Matt. 6: 14-15)


Leave room for God’s judgment God will not judge the offender (Rom. 12: 19-21)


You have freedom You are in bondage (Colossians 3: 13)


Obedient to God Disobedient to God (Isaiah 1: 19-20,


How do we forgive?


1. Forgiveness starts with obedience because God said it then I will do it. We know as believers that there is reward for obedience. The toughest part of obedience is when someone does a terrible thing to us like kill a loved one, or a deliberate act to make us suffer, in such case, twice the Bible tells us what to do (Proverbs 25: 21-22, Romans 12: 17-21). In both passages the bible reminds us to repay evil with good, not to avenge ourselves, to love the person, and then He at His time would avenge us.


2. Forgiveness cannot be achieved in our strength. I’ve seen many people (including myself) trying too forgive within and of themselves, it is only a matter of time before we go back to our un-forgiveness, especially if the person concerned has not changed and continue to do those things that we dislike or even hate.


Forgiveness starts in our “will”, believing that God would wants us to forgive, then we ask the Holy Spirit too give us the grace to forgive those who trespass against us. When we recognize that humans are sinners saved by grace, then we understand that they will offend us, just like we will offend other people, forgiveness then becomes easy, in-fact you start praying for people who sin against you, because they really don’t know what they do, like Jesus prayed for those who killed him.


Unfortunately, the “Buddhist” has perfected the act of forgiveness much more than us followers of Christ, when Christ himself showed us example by forgiving and praying for those who killed him while He was on the cross.


When we become selfless, then forgiveness becomes easy, when we realize how much we are forgiving then we understand our we need to forgive, when we understand the implications of un-forgiveness then we will seek His grace daily to forgive.


May God help us all to forgive and leave it to him to avenge our trespassers when and if necessary.


Femi Awodele
 
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