The bible teaches us some characters that a true follower of Christ must have as a sign that they are really children of God.
Nothing that has been commanded by God do we find easy to carry-out in the flesh and that is natural, in fact, we should expect that to happen, because the bible tells us that the flesh which we are in is always at war with the ways of God.
It says it like this:
“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” – Galatians 5:16 ESV
So, we see what makes it extremely difficult to do those things that God would have us do.
We’ll be looking at one of the commands that God gave us which we most often find very difficult to obey; this is the command to forgive, which Jesus gave his followers. He said:
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14 ESV
The Power and Importance of Forgiveness
Jesus gave us an insight into what happens in the heavenlies, he said, “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
It means that while we are here on earth “fellowshipping” and claiming to enjoy the mercies and blessings of God, if we do not forgive those who wrong us, then we are also not forgiven and all we do is vain worship.
Forgiveness is a character of love. For no man can forgive without love. Jesus said this when he was asked by the people which command was the greatest:
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31 ESV
Love is supreme! Jesus tells the people this as he teaches them that the whole Law and Prophets are summarized into these great commands:
Love the Lord your God with everything that you have and everything that you are, and if you can do this, it naturally will translate to loving every person that you come across (your neighbor).
If you love your neighbor, you won’t steal what belongs to them; you won’t murder them; you won’t find it difficult to forgive; and many other evils will be avoided.
Just as God showed us the ultimate example of forgiving all our sins even before we knew we were sinners, he also wants us to forgive people with this kind of love. You mustn’t even wait for them to ask your forgiveness before you forgive them.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:7 ESV
Forgiving Others Who Hurt You
When you forgive those who hurt you, you not only get forgiveness from the Father as well, but you also are doing yourself a world of good by letting go of everything that disturbs your peace.
You lose peace when you have somebody in mind for doing you wrong, that is what the bible calls malice. It is a very destructive character and a gateway the devil uses to bring all sorts of evil into our lives without us knowing it.
There are many blessings attached to forgiveness, and one of them is peace. You can never enjoy true peace without forgiving others and yourself being forgiven as well.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:1 ESV
Forgiving Helps us Heal
This peace is only gotten when we receive forgiveness from God, and how else do we get that if we do not forgive the people who offend us?
Another blessing that is profoundly gotten from forgiveness is healing. If we seek healing for our souls and bodies, then we must make forgiveness a lifestyle.
For how do we expect the pure power of God to work in an unclean vessel. Just in the same way men cannot receive the anointing and do exploits if they are not in line with the ways of God.
The Bible teaches us that we can only ask from God when we are in his will:
“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent me.” – John 5:30 NKJV
This was Jesus speaking, and we remember the great things he did because of his alignment with the will of God. He forgave those who even put him to death:
“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” – Luke 23:34 NKJV
Forgiveness is not in the nature of man, so we must build up the capacity to forgive by walking closely with the Spirit of God that is in us:
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 NKJV
Walking by the Spirit is the empowerment God gives us for victory in our walk with him on this earth. When we walk by the Spirit, we find forgiveness and other works of righteousness becoming easier for us to engage in.