Learning to Forgive

I was healed from Multiple Sclerosis and can testify that forgiveness was the ultimate necessity to complete my inner healing. My physical healing was linked to an inner healing.

This inner healing is a complete restoration and cleansing of the heart and soul from a broken marriage or relationship, abuse, a traumatic situation, bitterness and disappointments. God cannot heal if there is any unforgiveness in your life – as this blocks the process of blessing.

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35

Following the Lord’s guidelines
In Matthew 6:9-14 Jesus teaches us to pray; all our prayers can and should be based on these guidelines of the Lord’s Prayer. In verse 12 it says “Forgive us our sins as we also have forgiven those who sin against us”. ‘Sin’ here is also translated as debts.

Sin is a debt we owe God, and it is a debt to our neighbours if we hurt them in any way. All sin hurts God and therefore we owe Him our repentance and sorrow for the hurt done to Him in the sin we have committed.

We need to ask forgiveness of God
Sin is often considered an “old fashioned” concept and the very mention that we are all sinners who fall short of the Glory of God can offend those who think they are good. A lie is not white, it is sin. Sleeping around is not having fun, it is adultery and fornication, and it is sin. Embezzlement and ‘cooking the books’ is not clever, it is dishonesty and it is sin. Corruption is greed at work and is sin.
Integrity is almost a forgotten word these days and clever crime is often admired and emulated in many cases.

It is not politically correct to say the word sin in case we appear narrow minded. Nevertheless sin is sin, and in God’s eyes we have fallen short and done wrong. We have hurt Him and owe Him an apology; we must repent and make it right with the Lord and the person we have hurt.

We cannot withhold forgiveness
Damaging other people with words or deeds, however thoughtless, is sin. We are told to love our neighbour as ourselves. Hurting people is not loving, it is sin. Jesus says in Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
This is a hard thing to accept. Who can be perfect? No one but Jesus, who was the sinless Son of God; only in Him can we be perfect. If we sin regularly against God and others, how can we withhold forgiveness from those who have sinned against us and hurt us? Jesus asked the same question in Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of dust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own?”

Unforgiveness keeps you bound
I think Jesus had a wonderful sense of humour. Can you imagine Him telling this story with a grin and a twinkle in His eye! How ridiculous to have a plank in your eye. How big do you think the plank was? He didn’t refer to a chip of wood, but rather a huge plank – can you imagine how a plank would even get into one’s eye? You wouldn’t be able to walk, let alone see with a plank in your eye! I can just imagine the crowds giggling when He painted this picture. But the reality is that when we are hurt and injured by people, we don’t want to forgive them, we want to see them punished.

However this unforgiveness does not punish them, it punishes us. The only person who suffers when one won’t forgive is oneself. Bitterness and unforgiveness are like cancer in our heart and lead to misery, illness and demonic soul ties.

A plank in our eye is painful to live with, difficult to move with and impossible to see with. Forgive and you will take the plank out of your eye. Whew, what a relief!
Your life is tainted…

How often have you heard people say; “I am not a bad person. I don’t murder or steal or cheat. On the whole I am a good person.” How does one answer a statement like this?

If you are making an omelette of 10 eggs (a large omelette) and crack the last egg into the bowl, you would be horrified to smell it was a bad egg. What do you do? Can you still use the other eggs, take out the bad one and pretend it was not in the bowl? No! You have to throw the whole batch away as now they are all tainted.

In just the same way, if one egg in your life is bad, you are a sinner. Only the Blood of Jesus can take out that bad egg and make the omelette usable and edible. Just imagine how many ‘bad eggs’ there would be in your omelette batter if even just one small rotten egg dropped in every day!

We can have the bad eggs removed and our lives cleaned out by accepting the sacrifice that Jesus paid for our sins. He gave His life as a sacrifice for iniquity. Only in Jesus can the bad eggs be removed. As soon as we accept Him and give our lives to Him, we are forgiven and cleansed. It is as if there was never a ‘bad egg’ in the bowl; God sees it as a perfect omelette.

How can we be self-righteous?
How can we be self-righteous and refuse to forgive others who have thrown bad eggs at us? We can get out of the way of the rotten eggs launched our way, but if we try to catch them, we are covered in the grime. Unforgiveness is like standing still and allowing rotten eggs to break all over us and not washing them off. What a smell!

When we are in a ‘rotten egg throwing contest’ of blaming others and hurting them, the eggs we throw leave a smear and a stench on our souls and spirits. We are made dirty and need to be forgiven and washed clean. Only the love and forgiveness of Jesus can remove the stench.
We are hurt and injured, and feel violated and unclean. We have to wash off the  bad egg mess ourselves and only then can the forgiveness and love of the Lord cleanse away the remaining dirt, hurt and smell of the rotten eggs of others.

Don’t start throwing rotten eggs!
If you have ever had an egg thrown at you, or breaking over you, you will know what a thorough mess it makes and how difficult it is to clean. Your clothes need a very good wash. Any trauma or abuse you have suffered is like being pelted with rotten eggs.

This same dirt and mess comes from the marriage fights (throwing rotten eggs) that lead to divorce, and without us giving forgiveness (washing off the surplus mess) and allowing God to wash off the deep stench and stain (His forgiveness), can we be fully healed and cleansed?

In Matthew 6:14 Jesus plainly tells us; “For if you forgive men their sin against you, your Heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their sins, neither will your Father forgive your sins.”

We can’t claim forgiveness if we don’t forgive others
This is a scary Scripture – how can we expect reconciliation and forgiveness from God, if we won’t forgive others?

We have no shame pointing out the sawdust in another person’s eye but we don’t notice the plank in our own eye. Jesus called this hypocrisy. Unforgiveness is hypocrisy. God will hold the Christian responsible for their reaction to the hurts and sins of others. We know better and thus have no excuse to live in a place of bitterness, anger and unforgiveness.

Helpful tips for walking in love
Christians are supposed to stand out from the world. We are to give off the fragrance of Christ which is beautiful, not the stench of rotten sin and a begrudging attitude. Lay down the hurts and injustice of the past. Pray for your enemies and extend kindness to those who persecute you. If you are not able to make right with the person who hurt you, write them a letter and let it go! Make a quality decision not to remember past hurts, just as the Lord makes you clean as snow. Forgive much, that you may be forgiven much.