Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians you will find this outrageous statement: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV). For those of us who have lived on the earth for awhile, we know that this sort of love is otherworldly, especially that last part about keeping no record of wrongs.
Being able to forgive and forget is supernatural. This is the realm of God, who not only forgives and forgets, but did it all in advance for us when He gave His son, Jesus, as a sacrifice that would satisfy His claims of justice for the entire world. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV). Not only that, but He said, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12.)
Being forgiven by God is a great gift, and it comes to us by faith. If you believe in who Jesus is and what He has done for us by dying on the cross, and being raised from the dead, then that gift belongs to you. But to deny it to anyone is to refuse the gift for yourself. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV.)
God went to a great deal of trouble to reconcile you to Him by wiping out your debt. He also wants us to be reconciled to one another. After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples and said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
God has given us a great power and a great obligation. If you believe in Jesus, you are able to bring forgiveness to a world that needs it. If you withhold that power, it has terrible consequences. If you have unforgiveness toward another, ask God to forgive you and help you. He doesn’t want you to stay mad. He wants you to be able to love like He does.
Donald Marsh ©2020