Forgiveness is a trademark of Christians. This is an area to master and practice to resolve offences that come up every day. A great verse to learn, memorize and teach your children is James 1:19
19 Why, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
There are 3 rules listed here
- Be swift to hear
- Be slow to speak
- Be slow to anger
By following these 3 rules then 80-90% of relationship problems will never occur.
The Message bible has a beautiful translation of this verse.
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.
In the event of an offense then forgiveness is necessary for your own peace and freedom. Unforgiveness will eat away at you thinking patterns, impact relationships negatively, and cause physical ailments.
32And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.
We are to forgive one another even as God for Christ’s sake forgave us. Did God forgive you? He allowed his son to die on the cross to pay the price for my sins and yours so that we could be reconciled back to God.
Unforgiveness is a tool of the devil.
2 Corinthians 2
7 So that contrariwise you ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
8 Why I beseech you that you would confirm your love toward him.
9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether you be obedient in all things.
10 To whom you forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
When we do not forgive then we are in partnership with Satan! God wants us to be very aware of the schemes of the Devil.
26 Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath:
It’s common for unforgiveness to be the root of anger. Don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath means to take care of your anger today and not let it linger until tomorrow because the longer you stay angry the stronger the root in your mind becomes which results in providing accommodations for the devil in your life.
We endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. We don’t make the unity but we keep the unity. It’s impossible to keep the unity of the spirit when you have unforgiveness. Also you will not have the peace of God. We need the peace of God so that we can hear from God. Unforgiveness causes a running dialogue in your head that will drown out the voice of God.
When we forgive we restore our peace so that we have an open channel to hear from God. We need to forgive others regardless if the other person accepts our forgiveness.
There are 3 categories of forgiveness.
- Forgive God – You may blame God for your looks, your height, your family, your lack of friends, your intelligence, your thoughts, etc.
- Forgive yourself – You may blame yourself for past errors, wrong thoughts, wrong words, unhealthy attitude, unbridled anger, unkindness, etc.
- Forgive others – You may blame others for treating you unkindly, making fun of you, talking behind your back, excluding you,
Sometimes there is a need to inform the offender of their offense. Since love has both eyelids and eyes then we do not want to point out every offense. We see a lot and ask God for the things that he wants us to address. This process is uncomfortable but also necessary. In Matthew 18 Jesus instructs us on the process.
15 Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother.
Step one is to go to the person and share in privacy your heart concerning the offense. This does not require counseling or an elder. This just requires that you love your brother enough to give them an opportunity to hear the problem. It amazes me that often the offending person is unaware or has forgotten the trespass.
16 But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
This does not require an elder but should include mature believers. The reason is that both sides of the problem need to be heard and then understood by reflecting on the Word of God.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be to you as an heathen man and a publican.
At this point it is time to engage an elder or pastor in the process since this is involving the corporate body.
18 Truly I say to you, Whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say to you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middle of them.
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
We are not expected to literally count 70×7 which is 490. This is a figure telling us that we forgive AND forget each time. This is challenging but necessary for us to move on without the baggage of unforgiveness slowing us down. The option of being unforgiving (which is aligning with Satan) is not an option.