Friday, 23 October 2015

True Forgiveness

True Forgiveness


Matthew 18 v 15-16: "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established."

These are the words of Jesus Christ and need to be examined more closely so that our dealings with fellow believers is correct in His eyes. As forgiveness is so central to Christianity its important to get it right. 

When a Christian offends you, sins against you, defrauds you, slanders you or undermines you, Jesus says meet that person alone and tell him or her what has upset you. It gives the person an opportunity to explain or be accountable for their actions.

If they are willing to admit their guilt and ask for forgiveness then we must forgive them and keep the problem between yourselves. No rehashing it with others endlessly and bringing condemnation on yourself.

If, however, they refuse to accept any guilt for wrongdoing and are in denial, you should take one or two Christians with you so that every word and argument can be verified. These others should decide who is right or wrong.

If the guilty party is still unwilling to apologise and even discontinue wrong behaviour, then they should be brought before the elders and congregation of the Church. If he or she refuses to receive this discipline then they should be expelled from the Church.

Jesus also told his disciples that if a person repented and asked for forgiveness 70 x 7 times a day it was to be given if that person was sincere. In other words our well of forgiveness should never run dry.

However, it is important that we do not forgive without the person we are forgiving knowing about it. You can however forgive those who have died as this releases you from pain they caused when they were alive.

When we get born again we forgive those who have offended or hurt us. There will be some of those to whom the Lord will guide us to have a written or verbal discussion along the lines stated above. Some people are oblivious to the damage they have caused so your confronting them could be an eye-opener for them and may even lead to their salvation.

In Mark 11 v 26 Jesus says that if we do not forgive then neither will our Father in Heaven forgive our sins. This is very serious and so we must learn to forgive to the extent God commands in His Word. He means what He says so we must not treat this lightly.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we have to be responsible Christians with moral character as we grow in grace. Following Your lead in correct forgiveness teaches us many values and virtues. If we have neglected some of these please forgive us and lead us to put things right. In Jesus' name. Amen.