“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Matthew 6:14-15 KJV
“and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:32 KJV
THE TOPIC OF FORGIVENESS AND WHAT IT MEANS
AS A SIDE NOTE, AT 16 YEARS OLD I DECIDED TO HAVE MY FIRST DRIVER’S LICENSE PLATE READ: 70X7=JC (which means FORGIVENESS = JESUS CHRIST
With the current climate and people spewing hate speech all around us, the Holy Spirit wanted me to tackle the topic of forgiveness. So let me try and tackle the topic of forgiveness.
FORGIVENESS — WHAT IS IT?
Let me start out with its definition: Merriam-Webster Dictionary says: 1. it says the act of forgiving. Ok, what does forgiving mean? Willing or able to forgive. Ok, what does forgive mean? Again, according to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, to forgive means to cease or feel resentment against an offender: to pardon someone.
So to actively forgive someone you have to cease or feel resentment towards an offender. You are familiar with John 3:16 — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.“ But what do we need to be forgiven for? Alright, let’s start at the beginning where the world had its start — “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” — Genesis 1:1. Now, it doesn’t say how long it was till the first ever sin was committed: here’s a funny skit on the issue: “Adam and Eve” ~ The Skit Guys.
All kidding aside, the following comes from Genesis 3, and it depicts the LORD God, Adam, Eve, and the talking serpent (which is the representative of satan) —
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
Genesis 3:1-24 KJV
Then we move on to Cain and Able. Now, I’m sure there were more sins committed against Jesus, the Lord of the covenant, but this sin was the second one recorded in the Bible; and it was a doozie — murder. The evil serpent, satan, wastes no time as his elder brother, Cain, murdered Abel. It was all over enviousness; Able’s sacrifice was deemed better by the LORD. “Why?” you may ask. Just read on. See, Cain chose fruit that had been approved by his eye, rather than Able who chose to give to the Lord a sacrifice of an un-spotted male lamb. Remember, the LORD used Abel’s sacrifice as a distant reference to Himself.
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”
Genesis 4:1-15 KJV
The LORD gave every chance for Cain to repent, but instead Cain, so filled with revenge, wants revenge since God had accepted since Abel’s sacrifice of firstlings of the flocks of lambs. All that Cain receives is a stern warning from the LORD: “Sin is crouching at your door.” Again, this is the second sin that is recorded, and what a doosy – the murder of his younger brother.
The king of devils, satan, doesn’t waste anytime as the LORD calls out Noah to build Him an ark for the saving of himself, his wife, his sons and their wives, and a male and a female of every kind of animal including birds. Noah and his sons took several years to build a huge ark, giving humanity a time to repent. But humanity wouldn’t. So, the LORD had to flood the earth to restart the human population with Noah and the rest of the inhabitants of the ark.. Once the 40 days and nights of rain were through, the ark was safe from the the drowning effects from the water. However, soon enough, the human race was back to sinning again — sinning that needs to be forgiven by the LORD.
Then the LORD did a miraculous sign with the Red Sea. Moses, as the Israelites leader of the people, began the crossing of the Israelite people to cross the Red Sea on dry ground. Pharaoh had changed his mind for the tenth time as the Egyptian army who chased the Israelites.
All of the Israelites crossed; the Egyptian’s didn’t. With the LORD’s provision still fresh on their minds, that’s when the Israelites had the Ten Commandments given. Because God gave us a free will; it was like God saying, “Ok, I’ll let you try again.” God knew that the Israelites were going to fail, so He listed His standards: 1) Thou shalt have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3), 2) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image (Exodus 20:4-6), 3) Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain (Exodus 20:7), 4) Keep the Sabbath day Holy (Exodus 20:8-11), 5) Honor your father and mother (Exodus 20:12), 6) Thou shalt not murder (Exodus 20:13), 7) Thou shalt not committ adultery (Exodus 20:14), 8) Thou shalt not steal (Exodus 20:15), 9) Thou shalt not bear false witness (Exodus 20:16), 10) Thou shalt not covet (Exodus 20:17). If you were like me, I wondered what covet actually meant when I was younger. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, covet means “to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably.
After Moses descended for the second time from Mount Sinai, he had the Words of God put down into simple commandments for the people of Israel. Ten was the exact number in the Old Testament; only to be refined to two by Jesus Christ in the New Testament (Matthew 22:37-40).
Sinning, repentance, and sacrifices went on for some thousands of years proving the LORD God’s forgiveness. Just to make it clear, each time an Israelite would break one of the 10 commandments, a sacrifice had to be made (EACH TIME!!). There were periods of time that Israel did not care if they went against the Lord until a little Baby Boy, named Jesus Christ, was born to provide a sacrifice, once and for all, through His perfect physical life and physical death and the resurrection to provide all of humanity with His financially free gift. Thus, John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him shall have everlasting life.
Now if you lack forgiveness you can proverbially goodbye. Jesus uses the verses:
“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. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses'” (Matthew 6:9-15).
Then sometime later, Simon Peter asked this question of the Lord:
“Then Peter came to Him and said, Lord, how oft should my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, seven times: Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant fell down and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him all his debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him a hundred pence: and he laid his hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me what thou owest, which owed him a hundred pence. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: and went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and told their lord all tht was done. Then his lord, after he had called him in, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: should not thou also had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall My Heavenly Father do unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matthew 18:21-35).
What sticks out to you when you read this passage? First, I believe that Peter wants to know how many times should you forgive a person for the same offense (seven times?). Jesus replies with an astrinomical number, seventy times seven. That equals 490 times forgiving that same person for that same sin. Now you would have to have a condition like autism to have counted that many times that same person has sinned against you. And if you’re counting how many times,have you really forgiven them? Rather, Jesus is using a figure of speech, meaning as long as the sinful man, woman, boy, or girl (cause we only believe that God made two genders) repents with their whole self, then you and the sinful person(s) can celebrate communion together (1 Corinthians 11:23-34). Just in case the other person doesn’t want to talk to you, you need to do all that you can do in order for you not to be accused of being able or willing to forgive by Jesus Christ. In order for us to be like the Lord, we have to act in the forgiveness that the Lord has given us.
Why is forgiveness so hard then, considering its eternal value? First of all, it’s personal. You ever notice that one thing or another doesn’t hit you to your right in the middle of what they did wrong to you? You immediately want revenge. Let me give you a Biblical example. Do you think Cain was happy, go lucky when he heard the news that Abel, his younger brother, sacrifice was acceptable to God and his wasn’t? No, he chose the route of revenge even with God’s warning, “sin is crouching at your door.”
Just recently, within the past year or two, God chose my wife and I to experience this with some personal application of forgiveness. Again, my wife and I had and are still having an experience with this certain family that we were close to, and it involves our 2 daughters. During the American shutdown of what was supposed to be 2 weeks but lasted a lot longer than that, American people were told through the U.S. Department of Health and various media ( including news, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to stay home because of the “dreadful” COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
Many church leaders had the gall to either cancel church or do virtual services waiting for the government department of health to say it was safe to meet but you had to keep these rules: 1) stay six feet apart from one another, 2) wear a facial mask, 3) isolation until we can get a COVID-19 shot (which they falsely labeled it a vaccine). It is this, that the other family chose to influence our girls, and following the main stream church in which the church says you must comply with the government, the other family and our girls chose to follow the main-stream church, similar to the world. Social media like Facebook, FB Messenger, Instagram, and their friends have done their damage, all in the name of “health.”. We even tried to explain our concern to our old pastor of the old church over the mask issue, and our girls took the side of our old church. We attended their for 18 years; however, we found a new church that obeys God, not man. Yet, our girls are still following the lie of twisting around Romans 13.
We are struggling to forgive. However, we know if you don’t, we won’t get into see the Father and Jesus the Son. Remember this — “FATHER, FORGIVE THEM! THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO!”
JUST AS AN EXTRA, MOVING BACK FROM COLLEGE, WHEN I WAS 27, I SAW THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECLAIM THAT LICENSE PLATE: I SPELLED IT — 4GIVNSS.
~ Darren L Beattie, The Soul Blogger of TrueLifeChristianity.com ~