‘“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against any one, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you for your trespasses. But it you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive you (Mark 11:25, 24).”’
When people abuse others, perhaps physically or mentally, they act without love. Their actions may bring about trauma and distress to the afflicted, and according to the severity of the abuse, those abused may be fearful of the perpetrator.
The sort of person who deliberately brings distress of this kind is not likely to want to be sorrowful for their conduct. For this to happen, there has to be a change of heart. If the heart is changed to the extent that the perpetrator understands that he has acted badly, without love for the other, he may seek forgiveness. He might humble himself and ask the one he hurt for their forgiveness. He might even seek to make redress by offering some form of compensation for the injury he caused (Luke 19:8). This is true repentance (2 Timothy 2:25, 26). His sincere repentance may be understood and appreciated by the injured person, who in turn, may forgive the offender and confirm his forgiveness by telling him.
On a human level, for both parties, it can be a hard act. Humbling and abasing oneself, while seeking forgiveness is foreign to the macho, selfish mindset of an abuser. And for the abused, not holding a grudge against the perpetrator is difficult. For him to go a step further by forgiving the one who caused the pain is stretching the bounds of the natural man. However, if there is to be a loving, forgiving relationship, this stretching is required by both the abuser and the abused.
We humans in our natural, worldly condition (1 Corinthians 2:14), rebel against God (Daniel 9:9). We disrespect Him and reject His laws. We do not appreciate we are sinners (Romans 3:23) who are in a perilous, dreadful mess and destined for hell unless we repent. We are ongoing catastrophes, and there is nothing good in us (Romans 7:18). We are our own worst enemies. If we are given a choice, we invariably take the wrong one, because of our selfishness, greed and lust.
We won’t admit it, but we are in league with the serpent who tempted Eve (Genesis 3:1-6). As blasphemers, we are unloving and unforgiving (2 Timothy 3:2-3). That is our nature, ‘children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).’
But God sent His Son Jesus (1 John 4:14) to remedy the situation by overcoming the power of satan within us. He throws out the ‘accuser’ (Revelation 12:10) and replaces him with His Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). We become new creatures in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our spirit is enlivened, and as regenerate creatures we desire and have the ability to make *choices that are pleasing to God. Our thinking and our will are in line with the doctrine of Christ (2 John 1:9).
Jesus, the Supreme Example of Forgiveness
Jesus was often abused. Indeed, He came to the earth for that very purpose – even to be abused to the point of death on a cross, to bring forgiveness to men (Acts 5:31) – amazingly to His abusers (Luke 23:34).
Jesus became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13), and He laid down his life in exchange for ours (1 John 3:16). He paid the dept owed by us to God for our trespasses. We deserved death; instead, in His mercy, He gave us life – even eternal life (John 3:16). In Jesus we have everlasting forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7).
Dear reader, have you ever knelt before Jesus at the foot of the cross and told him you are sorry? Have you pleaded for His forgiveness? ‘For “whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved (Romans 10:13).’’
*Choices and Decisions before God
Psalm 86:5 ‘For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon Your name.’
Psalm 99:8 ‘You answered them, O LORD our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgivess, though You took vengeance on their deeds.’
Psalm 103:3 ‘Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.’
Psalm 130:3, 4 ‘If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O LORD, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared..’
Daniel 9:9 ‘To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.’
Matthew 6:14,15 ‘“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”’
Matthew 9:6 ‘“But that you many know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”’
Matthew 18:21, 22 ‘Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often should my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”’
Matthew 18:35 ‘“So my heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”’
Matthew 26:27, 28 ‘“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”’
Mark 2:7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone.”’
Mark 3:28, 29 ‘“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.”’
Luke 5:24 ‘“But that you might know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the man who was paralysed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”’
Luke 6:37 ‘“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven..”’
Luke 11:4 ‘“And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”’
Luke 17:3, 4 ‘“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”’
Luke 23:34 ‘Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”’
John 20:23 ‘“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”’
Acts 2:38 ‘Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”’
Acts 5:31 ‘Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Saviour; to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.’
Acts 13:37, 38 ‘“but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins.”’
Ephesians 1:7 ‘In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.’
Ephesians 4:32 ‘And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving, one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.’
Colossians 1:13, 14 ‘He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.’
Colossians 3:13 ‘bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you must do.’
Hebrews 9:22 ‘And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.’
1 John 1:9 ‘If we confess our sins, His faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’