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Imitators of God - Forgiveness
5/8/2014

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. Ephesians 5:1 (NKJV)

I cannot think of any better way to show respect to God than to obey His commands and to imitate Him.  When it comes to the attributes and character of God, the first thing coming to my mind is His amazing grace (unmerited favor), and His forgiveness. 

We are told in Ephesians 4:32 to forgive one another, even as God through Christ forgave us. This verse begins by telling us to “be kind and tenderhearted” towards each other.  This actually means we are to be generous, warm, and compassionate to those people who have offended us.  This type of attitude goes way beyond simply forgiving someone for their offense; it treats them as if it never happened, and it is an attitude of sympathy for them as well.

I would imagine there are times where many—if not all of us—come to a point where we draw a line when it comes to forgiving someone.  But not God!  He forgives all who will ask for it, over and over again, choosing to be patient, loving and kind in the process.

Q: So how important is it to forgive others?

Jesus gave us the answer as recorded in Matthew 6:14-15.

 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV)

Forgiveness is something God commands all of us to do, knowing it will keep the channel open when we seek Him in prayer (Mk 11:25).  You see, if we don’t forgive others, He won’t forgive us.

Q: So what does it mean to forgive someone?

Forgiving someone means we won’t hold what they did against them. It means we will not bring it up over and over each time we get into an argument or fight.  It means we choose to forgive them of their offense just as God has forgiven us of our offenses.

Satan wants to destroy as many people as possible with every sin.  He first gets the person committing the initial sin, and then he works at getting all those affected or hurt by them – knowing many will have a problem forgiving.  It is like putting out a fishing line with multiple hooks and getting more than one fish per cast.

Q: So how can we keep from sinning because of unforgiveness?

By keeping our focus on Jesus—His Word, His love, His mercy, and grace.  And by choosing to love God so much that we will choose to imitate how He does things.

Here’s the thing—there are consequences of having an unforgiving heart—it will quench the Holy Spirit, and hinder His work in and through our life.  Unforgiveness can even damage our physical bodies, as we hang on to the bitterness it gnaws away at our core mental health and emotional stability, and soon stress takes over and ravages our lives.

Q: What if someone offends us more than once, should we still forgive him or her? 

The Apostle Peter thought he had this one figured out when he asks Jesus this question in sort of a rhetorical way, “Should we forgive them seven times?” (Matthew 18:21) Peter thought this was a huge number of times to forgive a person.  But Jesus simply answers him back, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

It isn’t a matter of mathematics; it is a matter of the heart.  And God wants us to have a forgiving spirit.  Yes, you may have been wronged, and you do have the right to be angry at the sin, but don’t let it eat you up inside.  Forgive others immediately and let yourself be freed.

STUDY QUESTION: According to Matthew 6:14-15 why should we be forgiving others?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Is there someone you have not forgiven?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind anyone who have offended or hurt you so you may forgive him or her freely.  Experience the freedom and power God has desired for your life.

LET’S PRAY: Father, thank You for Your forgiveness of our sin.  Show us Lord those who we have not fully forgiven so we might resolve this with You.  Help us to continue to imitate You in every aspect of our lives.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott


 
 

 

 


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000