22 Jan Have you bound God?
In the book of Romans 11:29, we read about the nature and character of the Lord – that ‘the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable’. Once the Lord bestows gifts on us it is permanent and cannot be taken back.
In the scripture of the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:23 onwards), God wants us to know that there is a particular gift that He will take back, because this gift is not for ourselves but for others. It is a gift He gives to us to give to others. If we do not give this gift to others, it will be taken back from us. This gift is called forgiveness.
This parable speaks about the master who had forgiven his servant who owed him ten thousand talents but this same servant refused to forgive somebody who owed him just one hundred dinari. When the master who already forgiven and released the servant who owed him came to know that this servant refused to forgive his fellow servant, he called him back and asked him ‘Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ (Matthew 18:33). Then, in anger the master handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt.
We see how the Lord has withdrawn what he has already given. Many people wonder why their problems persist and why their sickness keeps coming back even after they received healing for some time. If you refuse to forgive those who hurt and afflict you, the blessing of forgiveness will be taken away because forgiveness is a gift not for yourself but to be handed over to others.
Your prayers will be answered they day that you forgive
We read in Sirach 35:16-19 ‘He will not show partiality to the poor; but he will listen to the prayer of one who is wronged. He will not ignore the supplication of the orphan, or the widow when she pours out her complaint. Do not the tears of the widow run down her cheek as she cries out against the one who causes them to fall’?
Is there anybody who has not received forgiveness from you? Is there anyone whom you have hurt?
When we speak of forgiveness, most of us are concerned about how ‘I’ am hurt, wounded and mistreated, how people have done so much harm against ‘me’ but there are so many whom we ourselves have hurt. What about them? Have they been healed by the wounds we inflicted on them? If they feel in their heart a pain against you, it can block or delay your blessings. The day that you forgive your prayers will be answered. It is very important that those who are hurt by us receive forgiveness, receive blessings and receive a break through.
In the book of Sirach 28: 1-7 we read ‘The vengeful will face the Lord’s vengeance, for he keeps a strict account of their sins. Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. Does anyone harbor anger against another, and expect healing from the Lord? If one has no mercy toward another like himself, can he then seek pardon for his own sins? If a mere mortal harbors wrath, who will make an atoning sacrifice for his sins? Remember the end of your life, and set enmity aside; remember corruption and death, and be true to the commandments. Remember the commandments, and do not be angry with your neighbor; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook faults.’
If we take revenge or hurt anyone it can come back to us for God knows everything. The advantage of forgiveness is that your sins will be forgiven and you will be blessed. Forgiveness is healing. Unforgivness closes the door of blessings. How can we expect pardon from the Lord when we ourselves do not forgive others? Remember you cannot forgive or say sorry to someone after your death.
Most of us find it very hard to forgive because we have forgotten the sins that we have committed towards others. As long as we only look at ourselves and our welfare we are not able to forgive those who are hurt by us. We need to ask forgiveness from them and release them.
When you forgive, there is a great reward kept for you in heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:19 ‘If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.’ Your forgiveness will never go to vain. You forgive for the sake of Christ. Say to yourself ‘Jesus I need you. I forgive for you.’
The Lord is waiting to bless us if we have the heart to say we are sorry, sometimes even if we are a hundred percent right.
Forgiveness is an act of humility
In the Gospel of Matthew 18:21, Peter asks Jesus how many times I have to forgive.
Peter had an example from Jacob, in the book of Genesis 33:3-4 ‘He himself went on ahead of them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near his brother. But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.’
Jacob had a lot of fear because he had once cheated on Esau and because of this hurt he was afraid to come back and face Esau. He was not sure how Esau would react or if he would take revenge on him. Jacob came with a lot of fear and trembling as Esau was coming with an army to fight, but Jacob knelt down and bowed down to the ground seven times. Imagine that scene of him bowing down seven times in front of his brother. Seeing this, Esau who came to fight, ran to meet Jacob and embraced him. This is the power when you are ready to feel the hurt of others. Jacob came to realize that his brother was hurt more than he is. He had stolen the birthright, which was meant for Essau but when he said sorry, the Lord restored everything back to Jacob.
1 John 4:20 ‘Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.’
There are people who do not speak to their own family or neighbors because of various issues but they shamelessly and repeatedly say that they love Jesus. The Lord will say that they are not just liars but murderers.
1 John 3:16 ‘All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them.’ How many of us have committed this sin of murder by hating our brothers and sisters? We need to have unconditional forgiveness without expecting anything in return except for Gods reward, which is more essential for us.
The Lord is repeatedly reminding us in Matthew 18:33 ‘Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ Let us always be reminded of this Word of God.
Is there anyone who has never committed a sin? We have all committed sins and we have all received forgiveness from God. If you are ready to humble yourself, the Lord says He will exalt you and lift you up.
Let us ask the Lord to give us a new heart to forgive others the way He has forgiven us. Let us get out of ourselves ( I, Me, myself) and remember those whom we have hurt and receive the blessings and rewards already kept for us in Heaven.
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