(Presented in church October 2017)
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13
Jesus teaches us in these few verses a very important prayer, but he also teaches us something much more important. How to forgive and be forgiven! We’ve all done things to others that have hurt them and have needed forgiveness, but do we always forgive those who do us wrong. Jesus tells us that the only way we can be forgiven is if we forgive those around us.
God created a perfect, sinless world, and yet through the misadventures and disobedience of man, sin came into the world and destroyed God’s perfect creation. Did God get mad and abandon us? No! According to John 3:16 He gave us the ultimate gift of forgiveness. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That to me is forgiveness to the extreme! AND to top it off, while Jesus was on the cross, suffering and dying for the things WE had done, He forgave those who had placed Him there. Luke 23:34 tells us, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” If Jesus could forgive His executers, we should be able to forgive almost anything!
David, one of God’s chosen men, was badly flawed. He sinned, but went on to be one of the greatest kings in history, because he asked for and was forgiven by God. Psalm 32:1-5 “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin unto thee,and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. ” David tells us he was blessed through his forgiveness.”
King Solomon, David’s son and argueably the smartest man in the Bible tells us in Proverbs 28:13 “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
Jesus tells us that all heaven will rejoice over just one sinner repenting: Luke 15:7 “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. ” and again in Luke 15:10 “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” God wants to forgive us, God doesn’t want to lose anyone to the death of sin!
Are you a sinner? If you say no, then you need to rethink your answer. 1 John 1:8-10 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” God is true to His word. Hebrews 8:12 tells us, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” God forgives and forgets, do you?
Too often we say we forgive someone, but then later we bring up the subject again and again. God doesn’t do that. Once we ask God for forgiveness, He grants it and immediately forgets the sin! We need to strive to be like God in that manner if we wish to achieve the true forgiveness that God demands from us. Acts 3:19 reads, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” In Isaiah 44:22 we’re told, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. ” And again in Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” And also in Isaiah 55:7 “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts:and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. ” Does this sound like God will dredged up the past, or once He forgives the sin, He completely blots it from His memory?
When Christ died on the cross, those who accept Him as their personal savior were granted forgivenss of their sins before they were even born. Colossians 1:14 tells us, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” This forgiveness through Christ is not completely unconditional though. We are told that we must be prepared to forgive those around us. Ephesians 4:32 reads, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
The dictionary defines forgiveness as “to send off or away.” The Bible teaches us that forgiveness is “to separate the sinner from the sin.” True forgiveness means to forgive and forget as God does for us. This is truely difficult for us to do, but it we want God’s forgiveness for our sins, then we must learn to honestly forgive those who do us wrong, and them put the memory of those misdoings completely our of our minds.
Once we can forgive and forget, we can begin to believe that God will truely forgive us as we’re told in Mark 11:26, “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
No one is perfect, no one is sinless, we all make mistakes, and God knows that. We all just need to try and do what God asks of us. Forgive those around you who do you wrong.