And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Forgiveness only comes through the cross. Only the finished work of Jesus can bring total forgiveness. Jesus' blood is the only "detergent" for our sins. Without the blood of Jesus, you can only have tolerance and not forgiveness.
Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.
Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.
We owe an unpayable debt to God. Even if we worked our whole lifetime, we can never pay the great debt that we owe to God. However, through the finished work of Jesus Christ, our debt has been cleared and forgiven. In the same way, we must forgive our brother who offends us. If we don't forgive but harbor the offense, we go into a "prison" where demons torture our mind. But when we forgive, we are delivered from our "prison".
Myths about forgiveness:
1. "I need to understand in order to forgive"
- The reality is, no one can understand the intentions of the offender. We can never understand why someone hurt us (because it is of a spiritual nature - the mystery of iniquity), but we must choose to forgive.
2. "I need to overlook a person's fault in order to forgive"
- We can't just say "never mind" when a person asks us for forgiveness, for that just brings the person into condemnation, we need to forgive.
3. "I need to forget in order to forgive"
- The truth of the matter is that we never forget. Our memories are stored in our brain, we cannot forget.
There are 2 types of memories:
a) Emotional memory - whenever we think of the memory, of the offense, the pain and hurt comes up again.
b) Historical memory - when the past offense is brought up again, we remember the events but we no longer feel the hurt and pain.
- God wants us to move from emotional memory to historical memory, and time is not the thing that can do it. This movement from emotional to historical memory can only be done through the forgiveness.
The secret to youthfulness: forgive people whether I understand or not. Do not hold a grudge. Willfully CHOOSE to forgive. People who don't forgive don't live very long, and they have a lot of health issues. But as we forgive, God's protection power comes over us. When we forgive, we live long and healthy lives, fulfilling the destiny that God has for us.
Practical steps to release forgiveness:
1. Face the wrong
2. Face the hurt
3. Face the resentment
4. Face the cross - when we bring it to the cross, we will experience change and turn around.
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Jesus Himself said that offenses will come, and will continue to come right up until the day He comes again, but a sign of a Christian's maturity is his ability to maintain relationships - to forgive offenses.
As we continue to grow and mature, certain offenses will no longer have any effect on us.
1 John 1:9, His blood cleanses us from all sin. When He cleanses us, He puts life and joy into us.
Today, make a conscious decision - "I WILL FORGIVE".