Essential Forgiveness-Part 2

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MW Editor’s note. Last week, guest writer Mark Rogers set us on a challenge considering forgiveness as essential to life. This week, we pick up on where he left off and conclude what essentials we must do with forgiveness.

Have you confessed Him as Lord? Do you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead? Romans 10:9-10 says

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved.”

What are we to do with these words of Jesus? 

  1. He pleads my case at the Throne of Grace.
    1. Removes doubt, “Am I truly forgiven?”

If the One who created me, who knows me better than I know myself, died for me, the One who gave the perfect sacrifice, asks the Father to forgive me, then what can I do to be worthy of or unworthy of His forgiveness? Nothing! He did it ALL, there is nothing left to do. He said and did this before I asked for or even was aware of my need for forgiveness. If the act is completed, then what can I add? I can do nothing to gain the worthiness of His sacrifice. Likewise, I can do nothing to be unworthy of His sacrifice. If he offers his forgiveness to everyone, and I know someone has sinned worse than me, Paul said he was chief of sinners, then there is nothing I can do to be unworthy of his offer of forgiveness.

  1. Jesus is at the Throne of The Almighty pleading for me.

I can not, in the limited understanding of my brain, fathom The Throne of Grace, the dwelling place of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe, the Almighty, the seat of all power, all knowledge, and all time. If Jesus, the Beloved Son of God, is pleading at the feet of the Almighty, His Father, for my well-being, for my forgiveness, saying Father, forgive Mark because he doesn’t know what he is doing, and The Father accepts Jesus’ sacrifice for me, then He has also accepted Jesus’ prayer for me that I might be forgiven. 

If the above two statements are true, then I am forgiven, and so are you. He has made us clean, free from all entangling sins, free to be alive. Free to live.

  1. He sets the example to love one’s enemies.

As we noted earlier, Luke 6:27-28 states that enemies are to be prayed for and loved.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

  1. These words then beg the question,
    1. Can I make them my prayer?

One could argue, Jesus is God and He can pray and do whatever He wants, but I don’t have the power to forgive just anyone or everyone.

  1. How can I forgive when there is no apology?

I don’t want to encourage foolishness. If I just forgive people without an apology, or when they are insincere, then I am in danger of encouraging their foolishness. Don’t people need to “mean it” before I can really forgive them? If I forgive them too quickly, and they repeat the offense, then what have they learned? I don’t want to be judgemental, but I want to be wise and prudent.

  1. Can true forgiveness ever be earned?

What have I done to earn His forgiveness? Nothing! 

In 2021 two different people said or did things that really hurt me. I was hurt and angry to the point that I cut off communication with them. I didn’t need to see or hear from them again. And they were oblivious to any harm they had done to me. For months the pain chewed me up inside. Early in 2022, God led me to pray these words for each of them every day. “Father, I forgive them because they do not know what they have done.” 

It took a few months. Praying every day, or whenever I thought of them and the wrong done to me. But halfway through the year, 2022, I began to feel relief. The pain and bitterness slowly ebbed away. I felt free and loved. The sun came out. To be honest, I still have moments when the memory flirts in the background, but I just remind myself and God that they are forgiven, and the blessing of His forgiveness overshadows me again. 

You’ve heard this before, but we need to hear it again, “Unforgiveness is the poison I drink hoping it will kill you.” How stupid is that kind of thinking?

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” The forgiveness of Almighty God, the Creator of the universe and of you and me, is offering his forgiveness for all my sins, my wrongs, and my failings. I can either accept or reject his offer of forgiveness. It is available, but I need to accept it to receive the benefits of his forgiveness. To accept his forgiveness is to pass that forgiveness on to those who have wronged me. If I fail to forgive others, as He has forgiven me, then his forgiveness has done nothing for me.

Forgiveness is the life I choose for joy and peace and light. A few nights ago I woke up with a memory of one of the occasions when I was hurt by an insensitive person. The memory began to bring the anger back and I couldn’t return to sleep. I cried out to God saying I’ve already forgiven them, I want to sleep, help me forgive them. Gradually God brought peace back to my heart and mind and I was able to finish the night in rest. 

Forgiving others takes work, it is not a one-time event, but a process over time. 

We are easily wounded, a word, a glance, a back turned, an expected reward not granted, a hope not realized. We feel ignored, put down, cast aside. No one knows what I am carrying. No one knows what you are carrying. Jesus said, “Come to me all you that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 His rest, his grace, his mercy is free to all who come to him. We must come and receive. The only provision is that we pass that gift of grace on to others. We show our gratitude for his forgiveness by forgiving those who have wronged us. Harboring bitterness in my heart towards another is evidence that I have not entered into His Rest, I have not accepted His forgiveness. 

Come and be forgiven, give as you have been given to, enter into His Rest, and receive peace for your soul. 

Warrior On!

Mark Rogers

Born in Omdurman, Sudan, Mark grew up in Africa, the son of missionaries. He brings a worldview perspective that integrates Christ into all aspects of life. Today, Mark and his wife live in central Kansas, where Jesus continues to write his story in Mark.

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