ACTS OF FORGIVENESS
by Dr. Willie B White
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What is Forgiveness? Forgiveness is the noun forms of the verb forgive, which is to cease to resent, pardon, and remit (debt) (OXFORD Dictionary). According to the American Heritage Children Dictionary, it states that forgiveness is the act of forgiving or condition of being forgiven. A condition that will call for forgiveness is hatred, but the act of love covers all hatred and sins. (Provebs 10:12).
The power of love was demonstrated so gracefully by God the Father that He gave His only Son Jesus Christ to save the world from sin (John 3:16). Jesus forgave us all for our sins when He died on the cross. Just as Jesus forgave us for our sins, we are to forgive others. Luke 6:38.”States forgive and you shall be forgiven.” Joseph found it in his heart to forgive his brothers for selling him into slavery. Through Joseph’s seemly destitute situation Joseph trust God, and God used this situation to save the nation of Israel, and keep His promise to Abraham (Genesis 50:15-21). We should possess a forgiving spirit. Provebs 24:17, 25:21-22 talks to us about a forgiving spirit by contrasting Righteousness and Wickedness. If someone commits acts of wickedness we are to heap pile of coals on his head with acts of righteousness with our forgiving spirit.
If we need help with our forgiving spirit, we need only to look to Job. He prayed for forgiveness for his two friends, and God rewarded him with twice as much as he had before (Job 42: 7-10). Let us look as Stephen. A martyr with a forgiving spirit (Acts 7:60). Even in his dying hour, Stephen asks God to forgive his persecutors for their act of sin. Stephen could fully forgive his enemies for their sins, because he knew that God had forgiven him of his sins (Romans 4:8, 5:10). We should forgive others as well.
If we fail to forgive others, then we are not in keeping with the scriptures which states “For all have sinned and have come short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Scriptures further states “that we are freely justified by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24). After reading the two scriptures and we still have some doubts forgiving our brothers, and then we should keep searching the scriptures. Another scripture that talks about forgiving one another is Ephesians 4:32, which states “ And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one anther, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”. Colossians 3:13 talks about forgiving as Christ forgave all of us paraphrased. All of the above verses support the argument that if you want forgiveness we must be willing to forgive. Dr. Luke 6:37 says it best “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven”.
If we questioned how often we should forgive our brother, Jesus made it very plain in Luke 17:3-4. In paraphrasing the verses, we should forgive our brothers seven times in a day. How can we allow our brother to ask us for forgiveness and we do not forgive him. When we ask our Heavenly Father for forgiveness, our Father forgives us. Is not our brother so deserving of our forgiveness? Yes. If we are to be forgiven, we must first forgive others.
When we forgive others we feel so much better. It is like a cloud has been swept away, because the burden of anger has been lifted off of the forgiving person. Total forgiveness means that our anger is gone forever. When we totally forgive others it shows the depth of our grace and mercy when we display our grace and mercy we are emulating God. We know that God displays His grace and mercy continually.
Let us define Grace and Mercy? Grace is God’s unmerited gift. That is giving us something that we do not deserve. He provided salvation for us when we do not deserve such kindness and love. God’s mercy is he withholding justice and giving us a second chance to repent. Psalms 145:8-9 talks about how gracious the Lord is, and is full of compassion. He is also, slow to anger, and He is of great Mercy. These two verses goes on to talk about how good the Lord is to all man kind, and how His tender mercies is over all His works. With these thoughts in mind, we should continuously give praises to our gracious God. When we reflect back on how great God is to all of mankind by tenderly and lovingly providing a plan of salvation by giving all He had to redeem man form the jaws of sin. Through God’s love and forgiveness our sins has been pardon through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Jesus paid the debt we so rightly owes, and since Jesus has paid our sin debt our slate has been wipe clean, and our sins forgiven forever. For this we should be forever grateful for a God that cares so much the He continues to love, forgives, and patiently waits for us to repent.
In closing, the question is should we forgive others if we want our Heavenly Father to forgive us? The answer is a resounding yes. The answer is yes because we all are sinner and need forgiveness from God so why not forgive one another.
When we forgiven our fellowman we have, reconciled are with him/her. This is what happens when Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross, seeking man’s forgiveness from God the Father. This was the reconciliation process to restore the fellowship between God the Father and humanity.
Now that the fellowship has been restored between man and God we still sin and need forgiveness and God our Father so lovely forgives us. This process is repeated constantly. Therefore, why should not we forgive our fellowman that we see daily? I agree with scriptures that we must forgive our brother daily.
Now the constant forgiving of our fellowman is not to be mistaken that the believer is to be mistreated of abused that is not the case. Neither was Jesus referring to the same offense constantly repeated by the unbeliever or our brother. However, the purpose is to teach the unbeliever/our brother godly principals on forgiveness.
Finally, the act of forgiveness was instituted by God the Father and carried out by Jesus Christ, His Son, on the cross to pay the penalty for humanity’s sin.
This was done out of love for mankind by the Father who could not look on sin, and the son who knew no sin in complete obedience to the will of His father went to the cross to reconcile humanity. Is this love in action or forgiveness displayed? The answer to this question is love in action because God is love. John 3:16 states that very clearly because God gave His only son to be the savior of the world to all those who believe on him. In addition, this displayed forgiveness because it shows God grace and mercy for mankind. Jesus Christ left us the perfect example of forgiveness with this statement, “Farther forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
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