The Mandate To Forgive

Matthew 6:14-15 “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.”


In the book of Genesis 37 we are told of the story of Joseph whose ten brothers had plotted to kill him. But for whatever the reason they decided to just sell him as a slave to traders who would sell him to the Egyptians. Joseph went from slavery to prison. His hope for life was diminishing, but somewhere in the background God was working. From prison he found himself in Pharaoh’s court working his way up to being second in charge in all of Egypt. Famine comes to the land and drives those same brothers that sold him right into his hands. Joseph’s enemies were in the palm of his hands. The story goes that after Joseph sees his brothers he begins to play with them to see if evil was still in their heart. We are told that right before Joseph is going to reveal himself to them and forgive them, that he steps aside and weeps heavily. This was going to be one of the hardest and most painful things that he would ever do, to forgive. By society’s standards he had the right and the power to kill them, but instead he embraces them in his arms. One of the hardest things you and I will have to do is to forgive someone for doing us wrong. It’s not an easy thing to do, but by the grace of God we must do it. We must forgive those who have done us wrong because God commands it, because our own salvation hinges on it, and really it’s the best thing to do. When we refuse to forgive the bitterness grows inside of us like a cancer and it eats away at us, causing stress and illness and a lack of happiness and joy. And to be honest the only real therapy or the only real surgery for this is forgiveness. When we refuse to forgive we allow that sin that was committed towards us to affect us twice, once when it first happened and twice as we replay it our mind everyday. There are people within the church house and outside the church house that struggles with unforgiveness, but forgiveness is a mandate from God, it’s a truth that must be obeyed in order to be made free. Unforgiveness can attach it’s self to you like a ball and chain, it can weigh you down and even destroy you if you will let it.  Time and heaviness have away of taking a persons life and develop them into a state of hardness. Our hearts are hardened by what people do and say to us. Unforgiveness becomes natural to us, as throughout the years we are done wrong time after time. And if this is you, my prayer is that you get the help that you need today by stepping out of that state of hardness, that state of unforgiveness and moving into the truth that will make you free. Jesus Christ says I am the way the truth and the life. Move down your path to the path of forgiveness from Jesus Christ. And as you allow Jesus Christ to forgive you, you will find the truth, and you will begin to forgive others. You will find this self-sacrificial love that only comes from Christ.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.            Lewis B. Smedes



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