FORGIVENESS.... And how to approach it at home and Abroad!

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1. What is forgiveness?
2. Why is it important?
3. How to do you forgive - Practical steps
4. Why should you forgive?
5. Dangers of not forgiving others

What Is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender. It is to let go of an offense.  

Although forgiveness brings many benefits, particularly to the ‘Forgiver'; to forgive is not always easy. It is important for us to know that forgiveness is a peace mending process between you and God,  When you forgive someone, you are at peace with yourself and with God, so don't bother about the offender, go ahead and forgive.  People bothering themselves about how to tell the offender, you may not even tell him or her.  Your action and word of mouth will show the person, that you have put the matter behind you.

Forgiveness is to forebear with people. It is a principle that flows from the love nature of God.  It is a known fact that if you cannot forgive a person easily, you do not love that person.  Forgiveness makes us to show empathy with people who are weak or struggling to overcome certain challenges.

The principle of forgiveness is simple - If you forgive those that offend you, your Father in heaven would forgive you, but if you will not forgive, then your heavenly Father will not forgive your own sins, and your prayers would be hindered.  You also put yourself in a spiritual cage, which means spiritual and physical progress will be hard for such a person. 

Forgiveness is so important that the Lord incorporated it in the 'Daily Prayer' to remind of to always forgive - Luke 11:4.

Forgiveness in Relationship
When the relationship is marriage or between people engaged to get married at a later date, it may be helpful to let your wife, husband or fiance know your feelings about what happened and its impact on you.  This is because the relationship is important to you and both of you may still be close for many years to come.  In such situation,  it may be very useful for you to tell the other person — in a friendly language — how their actions affected you.  Except in situations like this, People don’t need to know that you’ve forgiven them; forgiveness is more for you than for the other person.

Forgiveness is a gift that no marriage should lack.  If a man cannot forgive his wife, he does not love her enough, especially if the man is a born again christian. If there is no forgiveness, there is no love.  Forgiveness is one of the selfless sacrifices couples make in their marriage to get along well with each other - for if you keep piling up offenses in your relationship with your spouse, chances are that the marriage may not last long.

Surely, offenses will come, at home, in the office or business place, but how prepared are you to forgive any offense and move-on with your life? In your office, business relationships and even with friends, offenses will arise from time to time, how will you handle them as a Christian?  The Lord has already commanded us to forgive every offense people may commit against us, so that we do not hinder our prayers with God.  So, what is left for a Born Again christian is to decide in his heart to forgive every offense that people and the devil will throw at him.  When a believer has such a mindset, he would not be expecting too much from people, and at the same time, he will be more diligent and discrete in dealing with people.

Act of Love and Benevolence
There are hard offenses like betrayal of trust and murder related offenses that cause people a lot of  pains and injury, but the Lord say we should forgive.  The offense has already occurred and cannot be retrieved, so whether it was deliberate - The Lord say we should forebear, whether it is by error, He says we should forget and we should forgive and stay in faith and obedience.

It is well known that when someone offends us and we harbor it in our heart, it could imprison us in the spirit and make answer to our prayers difficult to come. If the person decides to  wave-off the offense, he releases his friend from his heart and by so doing releases him,self from his self imposed prison.

We were Forgiven
The forgiveness we have in Christ involves the release of sinners from God’s impending punishment and the cancellation of their sins up till that moment. -  Romans 8:1.  Forgiveness might sound like weakness to some people, but that is not true, it rather indicates spiritual maturity and strength.  Forgiveness is not letting a wicked person go unpunished. Forgiveness is an act of benevolence from God to man, and God expects man to do same to his fellow brother.

Forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. No It is a deliberate act of love, and mercy commanded by God for His children to follow.  It is a decision not to hold any grudge  against someone who has mistreated you or caused you harm physically or spiritually.

What is forgiveness in relation to salvation?

Forgiveness is an integral part of salvation. When Jesus forgave us our iniquities, all our sins, and trespasses were erased from the record.  When Jesus said, “It is finished,” at the cross, what he was saying is that 'the price for the redemption of humanity is fully paid.  It started with rejection, persecution and finally death and the price for your salvation, healing, deliverance was fully paid in the spirit - John 19:30.

It is finished means that  “It is paid in full”.  Jesus took the punishment we deserved, so, when God forgives us of our sins, we are free; we no longer live under that debt. Our sins are wiped out. God will never hold that sin against us (Psalm 103:12).  It is impossible to have salvation without forgiveness. Salvation is God’s deliverance from the consequences of sin, and so anyone saved has received forgiveness from God already.

Why is Forgiveness Important?

Forgiveness is also an essential part of the life of believers. Ephesians 4:32 commands, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Similarly, Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

The key in both passages is that we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us. Why do we forgive? Because we have been forgiven.  We forgive because we were commanded to forgive and again, we forgive because forgiveness is for our good.

The Bible tells us that we are to forgive those who sin against us and keep no record of wrongs, but forgive as many times as necessary in a single day.  Jesus made it clear when they persuaded Him to tell how many times, they should forgive their friends and relatives.  Jesus answered and said seventy times seven times in a day.  This high number shows the importance of forgiveness in the christian faith. Refusing to forgive however indicates the person is still a baby in the Lord.

Practical steps to forgiving someone

Forgiveness is not negotiable, though it may be painful.  When you forgive a person, who is close to you, a person who is still in your life, you are already living a 'Higher Life' in Christ.  There are many spiritual benefits of forgiving someone.  Some of them include patience, endurance, and how to hand-over a matter to the Almighty for judgement.  A person of understanding will forgive easily, because he knows that people are at different stages of their lives, and some behaviours are age and situation motivated.  If you can reflect back after forgiving someone, you will appreciate the spiritual benefits you have derived from the negative situation.

Cultivate Empathy
While you don’t have to agree with what the other person did to you, when considering the matter and what gave rise to the offense, you should put yourself in the other person’s shoes, sometimes and do an objective assessment.  Instead of seeing the person as ‘the enemy,’ try to understand the factors that they were dealing with. Were they going through a particularly difficult time in their lives? Have you ever made similar mistakes before? Where they motivated by external forces or are they being smart with you.  If you can find answers to these questions, it will help you fashionout an approrpiate ways to relate with the person after forgiving them.

Forgive on Purpose
Forgiveness is a deliberate decision to let go pain afflicted on you by someone far or near to you.  One of the things you do, is to lift up your voice unto the Lord and declare that you have forgiven this person the offence he committed against you, for which you were angry and bitter...but now, you have decided to forgive him/her completely and release him from your heart.  The next step to take is to restore the person in your heart and restore friendship physically with the person.  You can pick a phone and call the person and ask how things are going with him/her.  If he ask why you are calling him/her, you simply say you have forgiven and forgotten the event of last time that brought quarrel etc.

Remember the benefits of Forgiveness
If the person is living next to you, or your colleague that you see in the office daily, take steps to restore the relationship.  Show you have forgiven him or her by resuming exchange of pleasantries.  Letting go of anger and resentment can help improve your health, and increase your happiness.  It is confirmed fact that whenever you make peace with anyone who had issues against, joy floods your heart.  

1. There is no one, perfect. It can be your turn tomorrow, for the bible say there is none holy as the Lord.  Only God is perfect.

2. Forgiving others is the key to receiving God’s forgiveness for your own sins.​—Matthew 6:​14, 15.

3. We should be empathetic. All of us are imperfect. (James 3:2) Just as we appreciate being forgiven, we should likewise forgive the mistakes of others.​—Matthew 7:​12.

4. We should remember that every one has a positive aspect.  So it will not be wisdom to close our relation ship with people because of their weaknesses. The person making you to cry today can be the helping hand you may need tomorrow.

5. We should always be patient and reasonable with people. When we have a minor cause for complaint, let us be patient and continue to put up with one another.  This is very important when the person has apologized to us, even if he/she did not apologize, let be patient. - Colossians 3:​13.

6. We forgive because we have been forgiven by God (Ephesians 4:32).

7. We forgive in obedience to God (Matthew 6:14-15; Romans 12:18).

8. We forgive others to gain control of our lives from hurt emotions (Genesis 4:1-8).

9. We forgive so we won’t become bitter and defile those around us (Hebrews 12:14-15).

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Release him, let him go!

What forgiveness is not

1. Forgiveness is not pretending that the offense never happened. If you treat matter that way, you may never learn the lesson that the event came to teach you.  It may be for you to be humble, patient or apply wisdom in matters.  Such a lesson should not be lost.

2. Allowing others to take advantage of you. Suppose,  that you loan money to someone, but he wastes it and then cannot repay you as he had promised. He is very sorry and apologizes to you. You may choose to investigate what happened to him and why he is unable to repay.  Is it because he thinks you have enough money or that he made a loss out of the business.  You may also find out whether he applied the money to the business he claimed in his proposal or he diverted the money into another business that failed him.

Dangers of not forgiving

There are times we don’t feel like forgiving those who have wronged us. It is easy to feel we have been cheated, wronged and even used and dumped as people always say, and because of such feelings, we feel the person does not deserve to be forgiven.  This is a dangerous mindset for a christian to have, because the devil will use it against the person and even afflict him/her with sickness.  

Having difficulty in forgiving others brings about bitterness, and bitterness has been linked to stress-related illnesses by some medical researchers. But, by forgiving others, we free ourselves spiritually and emotionally. Forgiveness is an act of personal will in obedience and submission to God’s will, trusting God to bring emotional healing.

There is Mathew 6: 14-15, which gives us one of the conditions for answered prayers to be that we forgive people that offend us.  This simply means that if we refuse to forgive others our prayers will be hindered.

The implication of not forgiving others after we are saved and reconciled to God is that, it will retard our spiritual and material progress in life. Get the point right, you are not saved because you forgave people their offence, you are save based purely on the finished work of Christ at the cross of calvary and not our righteousness or good works. The Bible is clear that God pardons sin by His grace based on Christ’s work on the cross alone, not on man’s actions. 

But, when you are born again and refuse to forgive, we put ourselves in a spiritual prison and physically, the person begin to experience stagnation. When we sin and commit all kinds of errors that is common to man like speaking wrong words etc, and when you go to God in prayer asking for forgiveness and then make a request, the devil would stand on the fact that you do not forgive to hinder the prayer request of such a person. He wanted to claim the body of Moses because of anger.

When we pray to God, making our requests for His help when we are holding people in our heart, when we regard iniquity in our heart, He will not answer.  God will not hear such prayers and certainly it will not be answered.  Such inability to forgiveness interrupt our relationship with the Father in heaven.

To be sure, an unforgiving spirit is a serious sin and should be confessed to God. If we have unforgiveness in our hearts against someone else, then we are acting in a way that is not pleasing to God, making our prayers and a proper living relationship with Him difficult. God will not hear our prayers unless we also show ourselves ready to grant forgiveness to others.


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