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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why Do People Refuse to Forgive?

If you have read my blog you know that I believe that forgiveness is a gift. No one ever earns forgiveness and everyone needs it. The payment for forgiveness is the blood of Jesus. It is sufficient for all forgiveness. Nothing else ever needs to be paid. Jesus gave His life for us to be forgiven.

But what about the forgiveness I need to give others? What is the payment for their wrongdoing against me? All forgiveness must be a gift. My forgiveness of others is still based upon the blood of Jesus. Forgiveness is not a matter of my forgetting what has been done to me. Forgiveness is something I know I have and, therefore, can give to others.

The reason people can't or won't forgive is because they do not realize their own forgiveness. They may have said that they have trusted in Christ for salvation, been baptized and a member of a church yet do not realize their own forgiveness. Forgiveness is given as a gift but it is received by faith. The faith of salvation will make you realize your forgiveness.

Luke (Chapter 7) tells the story of a woman who washes Jesus feet with her tears, dries they with hair, kisses His feet and pours perfume on them. Jesus says that those who have been forgiven much will love much. He tells her that her faith has saved her. It should not amaze us that Jesus has connected her forgiveness with her faith. Her faith accepted His forgiveness. The realization of that forgiveness caused her to love Him intensely.

Matthew records Jesus saying that those who deny forgiveness will not be forgiven. This is an added act of securing our salvation if we assume that salvation is merely agreeing that Christ is the Messiah. But our faith encompasses more than that. It is accepting our forgiveness by faith. We understand that Jesus death paid for our sins. We understand that we are forgiven. We forgive because it has been given to us by faith. We can't forgive if we do not realize our own forgiveness. In fact, our tendency will be that of Satan. We will stand before others and the Lord accusing them night and day. (Revelation 12:10) Satan has not received forgiveness so he has none to give others.

There is no extra step of salvation. Faith in Christ means we realize that He has paid for our sins. We give forgiveness because it has been given to us. We have no faith if we don't forgive because we have not realized our own forgiveness.

How do you forgive? You forgive on the basis of being forgiven yourself. You realize that Jesus paid for your sins and that means that He has paid for any sins that have been committed against you too. Therefore, you cannot be a Christian and deny forgiveness.

Yet, Satan will stand before you accusing you of past sins that are already forgiven. You will feel guilty once again if you listen to him. You must accept your forgiveness by faith. He will stand before you to remind you of the sins committed against you. You must forgive again by faith.

Many people think that they can forgive someone once and be done with it. I have found that I have forgiven some people many times. Our faith is not static. It requires that we continually practice it.

When someone asks you when you gave your heart to the Lord answer correctly: This morning. It does not mean that your salvation has ended and started again. It means that it is always in motion. The same answer could apply to anyone who has sinned against you. When did you forgive: This morning. I do it again by faith because I realized again I am forgiven.

So, know you are forgiven and forgive others. Its amazing how much love will come out of that.

Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

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