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Forgiving Others Leads to Our Own Forgiveness
by Tai Ikomi
10/08/2015 / Christian Living
Forgive and you will be forgiven is one of the many rewards of forgiving others. Many benefits await those who dare to forgive in spite of whatever circumstances might surround them. These benefits further motivate us to forgive, even during the most difficult moments. Yes, we forgive to be forgiven.
God's ground for our forgiveness
Biblical forgiveness is given paramount importance. The first principle is the forgiveness we need from God. Without the forgiveness of our sins, we cannot be reconciled to God. Jesus was the Lamb of God who shed his blood to pay for the forgiveness of our sins so that all those who would trust in His cleansing blood could be forgiven.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14).
When we come to God and plead the blood of Jesus as the ground for our forgiveness, God will honor His word and cleanse us by applying the precious blood of Jesus Christ. However, after the new birth, a condition for the application of Jesus' blood is introduced: we must forgive in order for us to be able to continue enjoying the cleansing blood of Jesus.
God's ground for continued forgiveness
We release others in order for God to release us. The definition of forgiveness by Jesus Christ comes from the Greek word afiemi, which means to release or to let go. In forgiving our offenders, we are in essence letting them go of their offense against us and not holding them by the collar.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses (Mark 11:25).
The word used here is to release. When someone offends us, we place them in a form of prison. It could be a prison of our anger or resentment or even of retaliation. We keep them locked up, as it were. But when we forgive, the offender is set free. We no longer feel angry towards them or keep them under the lock and key of our retaliation. If we refuse to let them go citing the grounds of our anger and resentment, God will in turn refuse to let us go from His own anger due to our own many sins and shortcomings.
Discharge of Debts
In His model prayer, Jesus uses another idea for forgivenessthe discharge of debts translated from the word opheilema. We cancel other people's debt against us in order for our own debt to be cancelled.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12).
I am reminded of the story of a man of God and his conversion. He wanted to be saved, and so he went to a minister to pray for him. Suddenly, he saw in a vision a chalkboard on which was written all he had ever done. The sight of so many sins made him cry, and he asked God to forgive him of all his sins through the blood of Jesus. After this prayer, he saw his sins were erased.
Our Lives Are Being Recorded
Our lives are being recorded every minute of every day. No action is beyond the limits of the divine radar. We are going to give an account before God. Every bad word spoken, every negative action taken, every evil thought nursed we will be held accountable for them on judgment day. A frightening thought, indeed. We are truly in need of divine forgiveness.
We too keep a record of people's sins against us. Some of us have journals where we record people's offenses against us, but most of us do so in our hearts and in our minds. Jesus, in His prayer, taught us that if we want God to discharge us of our debt, the long list of our shortcomings, we must discharge other people's debt, free them, and let them go.
Jesus, in essence, is saying, 'Forgive others as I have forgiven you."
To recap, one of the blessings that God wove into forgiveness is that we too will receive what we give to others. Forgive to be forgiven! When we are reluctant to forgive, we must remember that our own sins will remain unforgiven.
However, each time we forgive our debtors, our own long list of sins, much longer that of our offenders, is cancelled through the blood of Jesus. What an exchange!
Lord, I ask that you give me a heart to forgive. Let me see in a deeper way the importance you have placed on forgiving other people's sins. When it is especially difficult to forgive, help me to let go, because my own forgiveness depends on it. I will forgive freely, Lord, by your grace.
Dr. Tai Ikomi, author - Forgiveness Discipleship Volume 1 - Benefits of Forgiveness
Dr. Tai Ikomi is an author of over 30 books .and a conference speaker. She gives seminars on the Names of God and forgiveness after forgiving the drunk man who killed her entire family. She is the founder of Forgiveness Discipleship.
Dr. Tai Ikomi
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