foundation truthlesson 26-Forgiveness
One of the biggest trouble spots in everyone’s life is that of offenses. Jesus said it was impossible but that offenses must come, and the individual who causes the offense is cursed. Matthew 18:6-7
WHY SHOULD WE FORGIVE?
- We ourselves have done wrong. Romans 3:10, 23
- Only God is perfect. Psalm 18:30
- Vengeance belongs to God. Romans 12:19
- God has provided forgiveness for us. Colossians 1:14
WHO IS THE GREATEST EXAMPLE OF FORGIVENESS?
Jesus Christ is our great example in all of life. No one ever suffered such inhuman injustice as Jesus did, yet in all of this, He chose to forgive. Luke 23:34 In fact, the first cry that Jesus made from the cross was a cry of forgiveness.
WHAT IS MEANT BY THE TERM “THE BIRTH OF FORGIVENESS?”
The life of Joseph teaches us there is a process in developing forgiveness much like the birth of a baby. Genesis 41:50-52 Joseph was:
- Stripped of his coat
- Placed in a pit
- Sold as a slave
- Framed as a slave
- Placed in prison
- Forgotten by fellow prisoners
It was so important for Joseph to deal with unforgiveness BEFORE the years of the famine came because the famine would bring the brothers who had done him wrong to Egypt. You should make your decision to forgive before you enter into the pain of hurtful offenses. Joseph named his first son Manasseh, meaning “forgetting.” Forgiveness is like the birth process of a baby.
- Receive the seed – this is an act of your will.
- Protect and nurture the life within you.
- Allow time to bring forgiveness to maturity.
- Completely release the offense and begin to live in newness of life.
- Continue to call the baby’s name. (Don’t rename the baby.)
Remember: Babies will always bring changes into your life.
WHAT ARE THE GREEK WORDS TRANSLATED “FORGIVE”?
- “Apoloo” – ap-ol-oo’-o Luke 6:37 This word is only found twice in the New Testament, and it means to release, to fully set free.
- “Affeahme” – af-fee’-ay-me Matthew 6:12-15 This is the word which is usually translated forgive. It is found 51
times in the New Testament and means to send away. The Old Testament example is the scapegoat. Leviticus 16:10
- “Charis” – cha’-ris Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13 This word is usually translated “grace,” but there are eight times in the New Testament where this same Greek word is translated “forgive.” This kind of forgiveness is an unconditional favor. The biblical example of this kind of forgiveness is found in I Corinthians 5:1 and II Corinthians 2:7-8, 10. This kind of forgiveness must be based on “agape” love.
WHAT WERE PETER’S TWO MISTAKES CONCERNING FORGIVENESS?
- “How often shall my brother sin against me?” Matthew 18:21 Why did Peter think it was his brother who would sin?
- “And I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Peter placed a limit on forgiveness.
Peter’s questions caused Jesus to teach about the unforgiving servant. The lessons taught in this parable are:
- We all have need forgiveness. Verse 23
- We mistakenly think we can pay our debt. Verse 26
- Nobody’s sins against us can add up to our sins. Verse 28
- If we do not forgive, we cannot be forgiven. Verse 35
- Much torment comes from unforgiveness. Verse 34
HOW DOES FAITH RELATE TO THE SUBJECT OF FORGIVENESS?
Jesus has just finished teaching about faith and immediately afterward begins speaking about forgiveness. Mark 11:22-26
- It is impossible for faith to operate when there is unforgiveness in our hearts.
- Unbelief is a big reason for unforgiveness. Sometimes it seems easier to destroy fig trees and to move mountains than to forgive.
- Note the conjunctions of “and” and “but” in verses 25-26. These show both the positive and negative aspects of this truth.
What Happens if We Do Not Forgive?
- We stand condemned. Matthew 6:14-15
- We feel hopelessness. Psalm 130:4-8
- We are vulnerable to sickness. Psalm 103:3
- We fall into spiritual deception. Acts 8:23
- We destroy others with sorrow. II Corinthians 2:7
- We allow Satan the advantage. II Corinthians 2:11
HOW CAN WE KEEP A CLEAR CONSCIENCE?
- Realize it is impossible to keep offenses from happening to us. Luke 17:1
- Decide now to forgive anyone for anything he or she may do to us. Matthew 5:44
- Exercise (stretch) ourselves to keep our conscience without offense. Acts 24:16 Forgiving others can be hard work, but the reward is more than worth the effort.
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About the Author: Dr. Dale Yerton
Dr. Yerton serves as an overseer of a network of churches across the world. What began as a network of six church groups representing 500 churches in Mexico has grown into an international ministry.
He and Evelyn, his wife over fifty years, live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They have two daughters: Lora–married to the Rev. Vince Farrell, pastors of Journey Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky–and Kari—also of Hopkinsville–and are the proud grandparents of Emma and Bennett Farrell.