IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: FORGIVE US AS WE FORGIVE OTHERS; A STATEMENT OF FACT
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“Forgive Us Our Trespasses, As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us”
Summary: There is great power in being freed from our sin through confession and forgiveness, and in forgiving those who have sinned against us.
The Gospel’s amazing narrative centers on Christ’s work on the cross. We are born in sin and have offended a holy God but we don’t have to live in guilt. Instead, we can experience the blessed relief of forgiveness when we trust in Christ.
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 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.
“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, canceled the debt and let him go.
“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.
“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Mathew 18: 21-35
The story of the unjust servant reminds us that we have been forgiven a great deal. We should be overwhelmed by God’s grace, love, and forgiveness in our lives. We should be so overwhelmed that we forgive everyone who has sinned against us—even if they don’t ask to be forgiven.
We lie to ourselves and convince ourselves, that holding grudges will hurt other people and force them to pay in some small way for their sins. Grudges harm us more than those who have sinned against us.
The burden of unforgiveness is a heavy one. It keeps us from experiencing the abundance of the life that God gives us through Jesus.
Forgiveness of others is one of the greatest proclamations of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
One of the most moving scenes that recently appeared on television was Pope John Paul forgiving the man who tried to assassinate him.
DIVINE FORGIVENESS ADMIRED AND IMITATED
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”— Colossians 3. 13.
To whom is this exhortation addressed? The apostle speaketh thus in the twelfth verse: “Elect of God, holy and beloved.” Here are three particulars. They are, first of all, “elect of God,” that is to say, chosen according to his eternal purpose. They are made choice ones by being thus chosen. Next, they are sanctified by the Spirit of God, and arc, therefore, called “holy”: this holiness appertaining to their persons and their pursuits, their calling and their conversation. When the Spirit of God has fully done his work he sheds abroad in their hearts the love of God, so that experimentally they feel
themselves to be “beloved.” To abide in the love of God is the fruit of election, and the result of holiness. If any of you can with humble confidence claim these three titles, “elect of God, holy and beloved,” you are among the most favoured of all mankind: of you the Father hath made a special choice, in you his Holy Spirit has wrought a special work, and you possess within your souls the special joy of living in the love of God. “Elect of God, holy and beloved”: it is as you enjoy these three things that you will find it easy to carry out the precept which is now set before you, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
Even as Christ forgave us we are bidden to forgive others; what nobler pattern could have been chosen? Surely he that trifles with this precept, or thinks it one that is left to our option to obey or to neglect, cannot rightly know the dignity of the Christ in whose pierced hand this law is held forth before our eyes. Depend upon it, this command so wondrously linked with the Person of the pardoning Christ is of no common importance. If the law given by Moses was so solemnly binding, what shall we say of this law which is embodied in the life of the Lord Jesus? Surely I shall scarcely need to plead with you, who are his disciples, that you give your heart’s best attention to such teaching. Your Lord himself stands before you; you remember how he forgave you all your trespasses, and I am sure you will give earnest heed to his exhortation to forgive.
In urging you to this copying of Christ, let me notice that this forgiveness of those who offend against us is gloriously ennobling. We are not asked to perform a duty which will in the least degrade us. Revenge is paltry, forgiveness is great-minded. Was not David infinitely greater than Saul, when he spared his life in the cave, and when he would not smite him as he lay asleep on the battle-field? Did not the king humble himself before David when he perceived his forbearance? If you would be the greatest among men, bear injuries with the greatest gentleness; if you would win the noblest of conquests, subdue yourself. To win a battle is a little thing if it be fought out with sword and gun; but to win it in God’s way, with no weapons but love, and patience, and forgiveness, this is the most glorious of victories. Blessed is that man who is more than a
conqueror, because he inflicts no wounds in the conflict, but overcomes evil with good. In the process of such a conquest the warrior is himself a gainer. A nation in fighting, even if it wins the campaign, has to suffer great expense and loss of life; but he that overcomes by love, is the better and stronger man through what he has done. He comes out of the conflict not only victor over his adversary, but victor over sin within himself, and all the readier for future war against evil. He glorifies God and himself becomes strong in grace. Nothing is more glorious than love. Your Master, who is King of kings, set you an example of gaining glory by enduring wrong: if you would be knights of his company, imitate his graciousness.
It is a wise thing to profit by every accusation, whether true or false, by trying to be better. Let us so live as to be able to say, “I am as much at peace with all men as a child new born.” Thus shall we wear the mark of the Spirit of God. In a word, my brethren, “Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Amen.
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