More damage, pain, and ongoing separation is rooted in the sin of unforgiveness than just about any other divisive heart issue that exists. Like gossip, unforgiveness is one of those sins that followers of Jesus accept, and even flaunt in the face of the One who died for them. Rooted in pride and arrogance, often masked by pain and personal hurt, the sin of unforgivness wrecks the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. As we follow the teachings of Jesus, we find that He taught us to forgive over and over again.
Matt 6:14-15 (NLT) “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Forgiveness is a non-negotiable for the disciple of Jesus.
#1 – Forgiveness is commanded by God.
Luke 6:35-36 (NLT) “Love your enemies! Do good to them! Lend to them! And don’t be concerned that they might not repay. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
Mark 11:25 (NLT) But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. “
#2 – Forgiveness Reflects the Image of Jesus.
Luke 23:32-34 (NLT) Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. 33 Finally, they came to a place called The Skull. All three were crucified there—Jesus on the center cross, and the two criminals on either side. Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.
#3 – Forgiveness Breaks Strongholds in our lives.
Gen 50:18-21 (NKJV) Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 “Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
#4 – Forgiveness Loosens the Stranglehold of Guilt in the Offender
Eph 2:7 (NLT) And so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus.
#5 – Forgiveness Brings Freedom to All Involved.
If Jesus hadn’t extended kindness and forgiveness to sinners, we would be forever strangled by sin, guilt, shame, and judgment.
David exhibits tremendous grace in 2 Samuel 19 after the rebellion inspired and led by his son Absalom is brought to a complete halt by God in an instant. If there was ever a time for revenge, this was it. But instead David extends forgiveness. Read the chapter and notice:
- We see in David’s dealings with Amasa (11–15) that forgiveness wins over former enemies.
- We see in his dealings with Shimei (16–23) that forgiveness gives time for people to change.
- We see in his treatment of Mephibosheth and Ziba (24–30) that forgiveness placates irreconcilable adversaries.
- We see in his relations with Barzillai and Chimham (31–39) that forgiveness causes blessing to overflow on others.
- We see in the section revealing the final reactions of the Israelites and the Judahites (40–43) that forgiveness lays a strong foundation for the future.
Prayerfully consider God’s heart on the matter of your rebellious choice to not forgive. Allow Him to soften your heart and walk forth in obedience, leading to reconciliation.