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Forgiveness

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Scriptures On Forgiveness

Matthew 6:12 (NKJV) "And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors."

Mark 11:25-26 (NKJV) “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Matthew 5:23-24 (NKJV) "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."

Matthew 18:15-17 (NKJV) “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."

Introduction

Forgiveness—forgiving and asking forgiveness—is a key ingredient of a strong spiritual walk. We won't be forgiven if we don't forgive others. It also plays a key role in obtaining answers to prayer. In my own life, seeking and extending forgiveness has immeasurably improved my prayer life. It has also brought about amazing miracles in the lives of other people. I know that some of the things you read regarding forgiveness on a practical basis may be a bit challenging. Personal experience, however, has clearly demonstrated the necessity and abundant blessings of forgiving and asking forgiveness.

The need for forgiveness is based on Christ's call for his followers to love each other and to demonstrate to the world a unity that is "other worldly"! Accordingly, in seeking to understand forgiveness we must first take seriously the call for love and unity. Then we must turn our attention to the too present reality of fractured relationships in modern society, including the church. Acknowledging Christ's admonishment to be in good relationship with others, and responding to His specific command to go and seek reconciliation where there are differences, brings about the need to contemplate what it means to go—call, write, visit—as well as evaluating when it is appropriate. We would also be thinking of what we would want to say. Then we should go, write, call, or do whatever we feel led to do, to bring about the reconciliation. Every situation would obviously be different, but Christ's example and commands point the way forward. 

This section seeks to answer some of the questions in the area of forgiveness and make it applicable on a practical basis.

We start with some appropriate words from Ellen White—Dan

As We Forgive Those that Trespass Against Us

Mrs. E. G. White

Church-members are to help one another. Christ has given directions for their guidance, declaring that they are to show an unselfish interest in one another. When one commits a sin, they are not to talk of it among themselves. They are to go to the one who has offended, and talk with him in the spirit of Christ. “Tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” {SW January 1, 1903, par. 1}

Do church-members obey this word? If in every institution established among us, in publishing houses, sanitariums, and schools, God’s people had followed this plan, as outlined in the Old and New Testaments, would we not stand today on vantage-ground? {SW January 1, 1903, par. 2}

"It is a sin to cherish anger against any one. Christ looks upon anger as murder."

The members of the church are to be faithful one to another. It is a sin to cherish anger against any one. Christ looks upon anger as murder. He declares, “I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” God has a controversy with that man. A man may think he has occasion for feeling angry, but his passionate words are a savor of death unto death. He who utters them is under the control of Satan. In heaven his wicked railing is placed in the same list as swearing. {SW January 1, 1903, par. 3}

"The question of forgiveness needs no interpretation. There is never a time or place where it is right for you or for me to say, “I will not forgive my brother; I will not walk in fellowship with him.” He who does this places himself in opposition to the teachings of Christ."

There are many things that are not now seen in a true light, which in the day of the Lord will be made plain. But the question of forgiveness needs no interpretation. There is never a time or place where it is right for you or for me to say, “I will not forgive my brother; I will not walk in fellowship with him.” He who does this places himself in opposition to the teachings of Christ. If your brother does you an injustice ignorantly, and then holds out the hand of fellowship, saying, “If I have erred, and have done you an injury, forgive me,” and you draw away from him, refusing to forgive, you walk away from the great Counselor, and need yourself to repent and be forgiven. {SW January 1, 1903, par. 4}

"If he does you an injury knowingly, and afterward repents, saying, “Forgive me,” it is not for you to turn away, refusing to forgive him because you think that he does not feel humble enough and does not mean what he says. You have no right to judge him, because you can not read the heart."

If he does you an injury knowingly, and afterward repents, saying, “Forgive me,” it is not for you to turn away, refusing to forgive him because you think that he does not feel humble enough and does not mean what he says. You have no right to judge him, because you can not read the heart. {SW January 1, 1903, par. 5}

"If a brother errs, forgive him if he asks you. If he is not humble enough to ask, forgive him in your heart, and express your forgiveness in word and act. Then his sin will not in any degree rest on you."

If a brother errs, forgive him if he asks you. If he is not humble enough to ask, forgive him in your heart, and express your forgiveness in word and act. Then his sin will not in any degree rest on you. “Consider thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” “If he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him.” And we are not only to forgive seven times, but seventy times seven. Just as often as God forgives us, we are to forgive one another. {SW January 1, 1903, par. 6}

"Christ sees that little heed is paid to his instruction. His people come to him in prayer, asking favors of him, while at the same time they are cherishing hatred against their brethren, not only thinking, but speaking evil of them. God can not bless them; for they refuse to put out of the way that which causes discord and variance."

Christ sees that little heed is paid to his instruction. His people come to him in prayer, asking favors of him, while at the same time they are cherishing hatred against their brethren, not only thinking, but speaking evil of them. God can not bless them; for they refuse to put out of the way that which causes discord and variance. They would not appreciate the blessing of God, should he give it to them as they desire. {SW January 1, 1903, par. 7}

My brethren and sisters, prepare the way, that you may come to God and be forgiven. Act your part in the work of confession. It is not your brother’s sin that you are to confess, but your own. In doing this, you are making straight paths for your feet and for his—paths that will lead him to Christ. {SW January 1, 1903, par. 8}—Mrs. E. G. White, Southern Watchman , January 1, 1903

Forgiveness Bible Study

Here is a Bible study on forgiveness.

Quotations on Forgiving And Asking Forgiveness

Find instructive quotes on the subject of forgiveness.

Sermons On Forgiveness

Here you will find articles that address the issue of forgiveness.

Testimonies Of Forgiveness

I have a few wonderful testimonies on how God brought wonderful miracles to His children when they chose to forgive. 

Some Questions on Forgiveness Answered

Many practical questions on forgiveness are answered here.