Ephesians 4:22 – And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
For most of my life as a Christian, I have heard people speak about forgiveness as an event that just suddenly happens. It’s just something you do; without thought; without understanding; with no mention of faith. But such thinking, and the preaching that goes along with it grossly misses the mark in accuracy and understanding of the process of forgiveness. Look closely at the final two phrases of our Text for Today; “ . . . forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Do you see it? We are to forgive one another in precisely the same manner that God forgives us. Let’s look at God’s process of true forgiveness.
The first step in God’s process of forgiving is the release. When, as a believer, one sins, that process is initiated when the sin is confessed. But where you and I are concerned as being the offended party, that is, the person who is done wrong; the one against whom the trespass has taken place. We are commanded to forgive, regardless of whether the offender repents or not. In both cases, whether it is God forgiving you, or you forgiving an offender, the first step is to release the offender. That means you are not the party holding them accountable; that is Father’s job, and His alone! We can see that in one of the great faith teaching passages. When Jesus spoke of it in Mark 11:22-24, He immediately went on to command forgiveness towards anyone who has offended you, and the time for that is any time you pray. If, when you pray, you are aware of someone who has offended you, but you have not released, you must release them THEN. There must be NO delay.
It is by releasing the person who has offended you that you are immediately released from the snare of strife in which “envy” and “confusion and every evil work” is contained. That is a horrible state of affairs in which any believer could be entrapped. In that place, one is held captive in Satan’s snare, and even Father Himself is blocked from setting them free. That, my dear friend, is a trap far more powerful than that from which you can free yourself. Unforgiveness is the opening to just such a trap. Avoid it as you would a plague. Not if, but WHEN you are wronged, give no place to the devil. Make the forgiveness release immediately. Don’t risk a single second in the enemy’s snare. For to make the final two steps that now become absolutely necessary in the forgiveness process, you must rise to a level of faith that not that many Christians have truly sought. More to come.
Manna for Today – Ephesians 4:17-32; Colossians 3:1-17; Mark 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 7:20; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Ephesians 4:4; 2 Peter 1:10; Luke 17:1-10; 1 John 1:9