By Pastor Jeff,
Forgiveness! It’s one of the most significant expressions of love that I can think of, Jesus over and over tells us the importance of it. In the Lords prayer He tells us in Matthew 6:12, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Then to further emphasis it he follows up in verses 14-15, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” As we see here, it can be positive if you are willing to forgive, and negative if you chose not to forgive.
Joseph (Genesis 37-45) is a great example of someone who chose to forgive his brothers who should distain to him and even came to the point of almost killing him but sold him to slavery. Eventually Joseph had the opportunity to exact revenge on his brothers but instead showed grace. The story if Ahitophel is the opposite, a one time friend and council to David, he became an enemy as result of David’s sin with Bathsheba whom was his granddaughter. We find him at the end of the story hung from tree after his betrayal was not heeded by Absalom (2Samuel 17:23).
Recently I had the opportunity to see the story of one Eva Moses Kor who had a twin sister named Miriam. These two sisters as well as the rest of their family were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944 where the entire family except for the twins were killed immediately. A doctor Josef Mengele “the angel of death” began experiments on Eva, Miriam and many other twins which had lasting affects on they bodies and may of contributed to Miriam’s’ death in 1993. Eva later was put into contact with another “Nazi” doctor who was at the camp, a Dr. Munch. She was soon confronted with the idea to write a letter of forgiveness to this doctor but was challenged to also to forgive Dr. Mengele. Eva decided that she would and then realized that she and she alone had any power to forgive, not the others who were at the camp, not any church, or any other organization. It was hers alone as we also have the same power to or not to forgive, it’s our power!
Ephesians 4:30-32, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Forgiveness is not always easy, but it is necessary, even if the person who is the recipient does not or cannot accept it we still need to forgive not once, not twice, but as Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:22, “seventy times seven”, really what Jesus was saying is there is no limit on our ability to forgive others except the limit we put on it.
Our greatest example is found in Jesus Christ, even after the beatings, mocking, and bing nailed to a wooden cross he declared in Luke 23:35, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” If we want to be Christ-like we need to be able to do the same!
picture care of: hellemanworld.blogspot.com