Ephesians 4:32 (New International Version)
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
We see that God first forgives us our sins, then if we receive His forgiveness, we also ought be able to forgive the people who have sinned against us otherwise our sins would be retained. We forgive because we have been forgiven. Other words that have been used in the Lord’s prayer in English are trespasses and debts, but in French the word used is ‘offences’. “Forgive us our offences, as we forgive those who have offended us.”
Matthew 5:44-45 (New Living Translation)
44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.
It is impossible to understand the spiritual world with our physical eyes, but the power of forgiveness and praying for our enemies is in the deep revelation of whom we are fighting and the Love and desire of God to deliver us from our prison.
If we would only believe the truth, what the Bible says in Ephesians 6:12, that our battle is not with human beings but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, we would find it so much easier to love people and hate sin which is deceiving them and controlling them.
If we avoid a situation we will only be caught up under its oppression. If we do not forgive people, it will be likened to us drinking the poison, expecting the enemy to die. And anyway, hurt people hurt people, but whole people heal people. When someone offends you by what they say, 95% of the time they do not mean to hurt you in the first place.
If you run away from the challenge or the test, you will only face it somewhere else with someone else. Every day everyone has the opportunity to be hurt or offended a multitude of times, and usually it comes from a person that is closest to you and should know better, but if we obey Matthew 5:44-45, we will be freed from the clutches of the enemy.
When we obey God, not only will we be delivered from the poison of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness, we will be healed ourselves, and be used by God to heal other broken people. No pain ever goes wasted in God’s Kingdom, but do we really want to stay forty years in the wilderness to do a trip that is only supposed to take 11 days as the Israelites did when they came out of Egypt?
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (New Living Translation)
3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
The way we fight with God’s weapons is to pray for our enemies and to love those who persecute us. Walking in love with people is what conquers what the devil meant to destroy us, for the good and the victory of the Kingdom when we do things in God’s way. Then rivers of living water will flow through us.
This will only happen if we give our hearts completely over to God, and we tell Him honestly how we feel, and that we cannot do anything about it if God does not change our hearts.
I pray that you would know that you can do nothing apart from God. I pray that you would be true to yourself, true to God and true to others. I pray you may be so aware that God sees your heart, and if you give your heart to Him, He will change your heart so radically if you would choose to put your ways down. I pray that you may come to know by experience this truth that leads to freedom, the abundant love and grace that come through obeying God’s principles.
- What has God done to help us forgive others?
- Why does God ask us to forgive others?
- How does forgiving others benefit us?