“And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves do forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” –Jesus
Forgiveness from the heart is a special thing, it is to be a reflection of the forgiveness that God has had toward us.
“He who is forgiven much, loves much.”
Forgiving others who have hurt us or stolen from us or said sharp words toward us or spread false rumors about us, is not an option. Jesus does not say that it is good to forgive if you can, but that, as God has forgiven us so must we forgive them.
There are two requirements that I can see right away that are needed for this to take place. One is a real understanding of how much God has forgiven us of, and the other is a real love for our neighbor, as Jesus said, we are to love our neighbor as our self.
1. The real understanding of what God has forgiven us of. This is not just a matter of saying that our sins are so bad that Jesus Himself had to pay the penalty for them with his death, which is true. But it is coming to understand just how corrupt each of us really are. It is understanding how sinful and selfish our motives are and how truly mean and spiteful we can be, particularly when someone gets in the way of something we want. We are capable of lusting and coveting with our eyes while at the same time maintaining an outward, seemingly selfless friendship. It’s amazing how we are always able to defend our motives no matter how much they might be hurtful to someone else. However, even more than these things, is how capable we are of hurting our Heavenly Father! We mistrust His motives toward us, suspecting Him of treating us how we treat others. We have a corrupt nature and so we suspect Him of all manner of evil, not understanding what pure and unselfish motives really are. They are like another language which we will never learn how to speak unless our Heavenly Father will teach us. God forgives us continually while we are constantly hurting Him with our thoughts and our actions.
It is amazing how quickly we just assume that God will have grace towards us, as though we deserved it! We don’t. We assume that He simply understands and won’t take what we are doing the wrong way or have to punish us. But let someone do something that hurts us and we never put the best motives on their actions, in fact, very often we take offense at things that didn’t even happen. A look or a shrug, talking, or not talking, we quickly assume that what they did or didn’t do was meant to hurt us. Yes, we are quick to assume that others will forgive us and at the same time we are slow to forgive them.
2. Real love for our neighbor. Real love for our neighbor is to always love them no matter what they do that hurts us. Unselfish love is the only thing that can accomplish this and unselfish love is a gift from God. It is not something we have unless He gives it to us. I want to encourage each of you to read some stories from the organization called Voice of the Martyrs. Pastor Richard Wurmbrand demonstrates amazing unselfish love in action. His life is a testimony of real love for those who tortured him day and after day for holding on to Jesus. It makes our fights and disagreements with each other and our neighbors (this could be anyone), look like nothing in comparison.
We all have such shallow and surface love unless God gives us one that is deeper. Let us pray earnestly for God’s love, and let us pray earnestly for one another. God generally seems to teach us true love through real trials. He doesn’t test our love on situations that our shallow love can overcome. They will be trials and challenges that require constant prayer and time in God’s presence to be able to overcome. So let us keep each other in prayer! We will need each others support! God Bless!