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The MANDATE Of Forgiveness

The MANDATE of Forgiveness

You do not need to be defined by what anyone did or is doing to you! Forgiveness is a spiritual discipline which brings about freedom, reconciliation and answered prayer.

Once you have become a child of God and have experienced His forgiveness, God expects of us to forgive others. In His Word, this doesn’t come across as an optional extra, but as a requirement. Why would God put so much emphasis on us forgiving others?

In 2 Cor 5:18-19, we see that God did not only reconcile Himself to us through Christ, He also gave us the ministry of reconciliation, in other words, He expects of us to bring about reconciliation wherever we go. First of all in our own lives, then in the lives of others.

In teaching His disciples how to pray, Jesus showed the importance of forgiving others. “Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us.” Matt (TPT)

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven ([left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.” Matt 6:12 (AMPC)

Do you want God to answer your prayers? Forgive and reconcile

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25-26 (ESV)

Salvation and forgiveness of sin is a gift from God when we first turn to Christ, but as we become more mature,  it seems that living a lifestyle of forgiveness towards others is a requirement if we want God to answer our prayers. Yet, our forgiving others is never done as a legal burden, but rather a love response to God for forgiving us! God is interested in your heart. He wants your hearts to be reconciled before He will consider your gifts and acts of worship.

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 (ESV)

Do not wonder that God doesn’t answer prayer when you hold on to bitterness and anger.

Have a look at  these verses:

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25-26 (ESV)

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:12-13 (ESV)

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)

Still not sure if you need to forgive?

“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4 (ESV)

“Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.’” Matthew 18:21-22 (ESV)

This Kingdom principle is beautifully described in the story about the King who cancelled his servant’s debt – which was so much he would have to sell his wife and kids and all he owned to repay it. This servant went out and met someone else who owed him just a small amount. The servant had this man thrown into prison. When the King heard of this, he was outraged and handed the man over to the jailers to be tortured until he paid 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.”  Matthew 18:35 (NIV)

What about my pain?

Sometimes we are willing to forgive smaller offences, but we struggle when we’ve been hurt deeply or repeatedly. God’s instruction to forgive is not dependent on the depth of your pain, or the frequency of the offence. It is an instruction to forgive for you to experience freedom. God’s forgiveness to us is complete and He is not deterred by the amount or extent of your sin. He removes it and restores you to wholeness and completeness. As we forgive, God fills us with peace and he restores us to wholeness so that anger and resentment have no place in our lives anymore.

We will explore more aspects of forgiveness in the weeks to come. I know life can sometimes be complex and therefore we will look at forgiveness from different angles such as the process, the results and the risks.

One thing we can know for sure, a child of God has a mandate to forgive, it’s not optional!

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