Matthew 18:21-22 – “Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” NASB
I ask that you read through verse 35 for this discussion on Forgiveness. If we have not discovered that the devil uses ‘schemes’ to entrap and harm us, we need to acknowledge that reality. It is important that we uncover or discover his schemes so that we can effectively defeat him and destroy the works of darkness in our lives and spheres of influence. As we discover the schemes and our weaponry provided by the Grace of God and the Power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to receive Forgiveness, Defeat the devil, and help others be Free of his diabolical destruction in their lives.
In this process, we find it necessary to address the matter of Forgiveness of the lack thereof. That is one of the major areas in which the devil gains legal ground in the lives of believers and unbelievers. Jesus identified just how important this truth is:
Matthew 6:12 – “Forgive us (as) we forgive others.” (The as is the key or a key that too often we omit or overlook.)
Matthew 6:14 – “(If) we forgive others, God will forgive us.” (Don’t miss the key.)
Matthew 18:21 – “How often are we to forgive?” (Never numeric specifics.)
Matthew 18:35 – “God’s forgiveness to us is tied to our forgiving others.”
Mark 11:25 – Forgiving others is the key to God’s forgiveness but also answers to prayers.
Luke 6:37 – A Rule and Principle of Life – We Reap What We Sow.
The Law of Retribution flows to its inevitable conclusion UNLESS forgiveness is accomplished in the heart. This is validated in James 1:13-15. The matter of anger is a prime example. What I mean is, ‘anger’ is a stimulus. It engenders a response and each response becomes a stimulus to the other party or parties which then produces a response from them and becomes a stimulus that perpetuates the condition or situation.
(i.e.) – Arguments incite fights. Group hassles morph into riots. National tensions become wars. (James 4:1-2). The Law of Stimulus and Response. The Law of Sowing and Reaping or Retribution flows to its natural conclusion UNLESS Forgiveness is practiced.
Let me caution that Will Power or suppressing responses only delay the inevitable. If it is seething in the heart it will eventually become a full-blown reality in life. Therefore, the only remedy is ‘The Cross’. Jesus is truly the only answer to the condition of harboring hurt or resentment in the heart and is the key to Forgiveness!
Tragically, we sometimes find that something has blinded our minds and obscured the Cross, creating a situation in which we are held captive. We become ‘bound’ and ‘bent’ toward destruction UNLESS there is outside or divine help. It does involve our will, but it is far more than mere will-power.
None of us would have a problem with Forgiveness were it not for the condition of Sin! Too often, I’ve heard people argue, “But, I’m only human or I’m not perfect.” Those statements are true but can never be a justification for sin or failure to forgive.
God’s Standard and Plan is for us to become ‘totally transformed’ so that we do not sin! Jesus always meets us where we are, in all of our sinfulness, and brings us up to His level. It is a Process!
Jesus informed us in Luke 6:40 that the student or disciple is not above his teacher, but when fully trained he becomes like the teacher. In 1 John 4:17, we are told that our objective is to be “as Jesus is” in this present world. We learn in the Psalms that we become like what we focus on or worship. Then in Jude 24, we discover that Jesus is able to keep us from stumbling and 1 John 2:6 instructs that “he who abides in Him (Jesus) ought to walk as He (Jesus) walks.”
I realize that I have not gotten to the nuts and bolts of forgiveness but hope that I have elevated your focus as to the importance of Forgiving and being Forgiven. We will address that more in upcoming devotionals. Until then, may the Lord richly bless you and help you to enjoy His fullness, grace, mercy, and peace.
Have a fantastic day in Him today!