Jesus taught us about the doís and doníts of PRAYER (Matthew 6:5-8 NKJV), and then He shared the OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN PRAYER (Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV), which was a list of 10 areas that we should consider when we speak to Our Heavenly Father. Well, the interesting part of the OUR FATHER PRAYER that Jesus focuses on after teaching it was the area of FORGIVENESS (See, Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV).
Hi, Iím back to continue the topic of GOD being OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. Iíve been teaching about the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5, 6, & 7; Where Jesus presents GOD as OUR FATHER and about all the topics which Jesus spoke about. Remember Jesus taught the people 19 different topics.
Forgiveness is Key to Answered Prayer
After Jesus taught the OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN PRAYER, one of the KEY FACTORS to receiving an answer to our prayers is to FORGIVE. Jesus spelled it out for us;
14. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses
(Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV).
If we desire to receive an answer to our prayers we need to really mean what we say when we pray about the area of forgiveness. When we say, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12 NKJV); Do we really mean it? Or is there some resentment in our hearts toward that person who did us wrong? We can know when we still feel resentment by a few actions or reactions we display toward the person who offended us.
1. If its money owed to us and they failed to pay us back we get angry at them and try to get them to pay up or actually enslave them to pay us back, Jesus gave us a story about being unforgiving in this area (See Matthew 18:21-35 NKJV about the parable of the unforgiving debtor). What is the point of the story? We will experience mental, emotional, and physical torment on earth when we fail to forgive.
Forgiveness on 2 Levels
We need to understand that there are 2 Levels of forgiveness in the life of a Christian.
Level one--is when we accept Godís forgiveness toward us when we were unbelievers then we became believers when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV)
Level twoóis when we are Christians and we are instructed to forgive one another. Paul said it this way, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV).
Whatís the difference? Level One is a one-time event. Level two is an ongoing process look again at the Matthew 18:21-35 NKJV Peter asked Jesus how many times am I to forgive my brother 7 times? Jesus said 7x70 times we are to forgive our brother or whoever offended us. So after 490 times we stop? No, I donít think we are going to be offended 490 times by the same person in a life-time. If so, the point is we need to continue forgiving them in order to receive forgiveness from God.
Forgiveness on a deeper level
What happens if someone killed our family member how are we I to forgive them? What happens if someone raped my wife or daughter, how are we I suppose to forgive them? This is a difficult situation a painful and unforgettable one. But by the strength of the Holy Spirit we can Supernaturally come to a Divine understanding and Level of godly confidence to place our faith and obedience on God and be Divinely inspired to forgive.
David forgave his son Amnon when he raped his half-sister Tamar. David could have had Amnon killed but David chose to be Merciful and left it in Godís hand. Amnon was killed by Absalom Tamarís full brother (See 2 Samuel 13:1-39 NKJV). God is a just God nothing slips by HIM Justice and Vengeance belongs to Him (See Romans 12:17-21 NKJV).
Jesus not only taught on the topic of forgiveness on level one that God forgave us through His shed blood. Jesus applied forgiveness as a believer when HE was being crucified Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34 NKJV). If Jesus was able to do this we can do it by faith and grace thatís granted to us by the Holy Spirit.
I had to forgive the guy who cut my face it required 17 stitches it went away it healed very good. This happened before I was a Christian but I was still bitter about it and I planned to get even. As I kept reading Matthew chapters 5, 6 & 7, I was challenged by God to forgive that guy.
I had to forgive to guy who blew my cousins head off, I was going to do a Moses move and bury him in the sand in 1991 just before I was a Christian again I kept praying let your kingdom come to strengthen me to forgive this guy who killed my girl cousinóboy was it hard to say those words but every-day until it did not bother me anymore inside my heart OUR HEAVENLY FATHER healed me to go on and forgive without being bitter about the entire situation. There were so many things that I was told to forgive that God brought to my attention.
Just recently I had to forgive my supervisors for passing me up on a promotion. They made a mistake but they didnít apologize but in the Tuesday meeting last week offered it to anyone who wanted the position including me. Although it was done out of hypocrisy I left it alone and I applied for another position in the company earning twice as much and itís in another building away from these unfair supervisors. Forgiveness is an ongoing practice that we must apply and now I donít stay angry as long as I used too. I get rid of the un-forgiveness as soon as possible Jesus did it and so can we. Amen