We have no choice but to forgive those that sin against us. It does not matter if they deserve it or they don’t. When we struggle with the idea of forgiving others, be aware that the devil, our enemy, works against us through other humans. All humans are potential agents of evil. They include friends, family members and even total strangers.
Read Psalm 37:7-9 (NIV) Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
The word fret is same as being anxious. Please don’t be anxious or angry when justice seem to delay. The scripture promises that evil will be destroyed, so do not sin by being anxious. Destruction of the evil around you is not necessarily the death of a human agent! If that were the case, most humans will be dead by now.
The scripture promises that the power or position of evil over you will be destroyed. Persons responsible will be humbled. They will be brought low. You will be lifted above their operating level.
What is behind our unforgiving attitude?
The devil uses evil spirits to hurt us. Evil spirits enter humans through what looks like fair reactions triggered by our environment. In other words, through moments of weakness. These could be ‘justifiable’ anger, sorrow, loneliness, revenge or hatred, among others!
It’s clear from the example above that a fellow human is not your real enemy. People who hurt you don’t really know that they are being used by evil forces. If you can understand that, then it will be easier to forgive those who wrong you.
How many times should one forgive another person?
Peter suggested 7 but Jesus appended another digit and said 77 which really implied endless number of times.
Mathew 18 21 Then Peter came up and asked him, “Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I have to forgive him? Seven times?”22 Jesus told him, “I tell you, not just seven times, but 77 times!
When we forgive, we give room for a possible deliverance of the other person from sin. If someone has courage to come to you three or more times for forgiveness, it means they are not in control of their actions but are slaves to an evil master and are a home to one or more evil spirits. When you forgive people, you may trigger remorse and they could end up repenting. Once they repent, they may change their mindset, giving evil spirits nowhere to hold on! These evil spiritual creatures have no more claim or business in them at this point but to give them up. Therefore presenting them with a chance of a genuine deliverance.
We know that when people sin continuously and are unable to stop, then there is something else living in them. This something is sin (evil spirits). Paul described it in the following scriptures.
Romans 7 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.c For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
The Parable of Forgiveness
Why we must always forgive! We forgive for several reasons as covered by the parable told by Jesus below.
I prefer calling it the parable of forgiveness for that is what it is and not the parable of the unmerciful servant. Some of these headings added by religious bible commentators don’t really help but distort the real meaning behind the story.
Mathew 18 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him.‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, cancelled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
What do we learn from this parable of forgiveness?
- God expects that we live in forgiveness.
- Forgive because you have been forgiven by God.
- If you don’t forgive you will not be forgiven by God
- If you don’t forgive the devil will have a legal right to ask God to torture you. (That’s why the scriptures say that you don’t give the devil a foothold , Ephesians 4:27 ). You will be tortured by spiritual jailers. Jailers in this scriptures are demons (Mathew 18 23-). Many people are in the hands of demons with all types of problems because they failed to forgive others.
- You must forgive from your heart not lips. This is a requirement. If you are not ready to forgive, take your time and seek God until your heart is soft enough to forgive those who have wronged you fairly or unfairly.
Luke 11: 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say… 4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us…”
By Joseph GM