Let's see how God does things because we are to righteous like him. WWJD (What would Jesus do?)
1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."Providing people confess their sins to God, he forgives those people. His forgiveness is dependent on only one thing: contrition on the part of the wrong-doer. Hence, if we are to be like God, then we shall forgive other people with only one condition: that they are sorry.
Then God cleanses the wrongdoer from all unrighteousness. How does he do that? It's by his grace:
Isaiah 43:25 "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."After God forgives, he no longer remembers the person's transgression! If it truly is forgiveness, the transgression is of no significance any longer because it's covered by grace! Imagine if God never forgot your sin. All the time he kept saying in his divine mind: "You wronged me, I'll never forget it!" How forgiven would you be? Not at all. He chooses to forget and it's out of love that he has the grace to do that. If that's God's way, it too must be the way of everyone.
Forgiving is forgetting!
God thoroughly forgets. He blots the wrong completely out. God keeps two spiritual books in which his divine hand writes. Of course he writes simply by willing it to be!
Revelation 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."The Book of Life is where the names of all those who are forgiven is written. When babies are born their name is written in the Book of Life because they are innocent. With the first sin, only one which all men shall do, their name is moved over to the "other book". Let's call that the Sinner's Log. My name was there and so was yours. Yours may still be if you have not been born again.
When we are born again, all our PAST sins are forgiven, although all are covered by the blood (Romans 3:25). When we are born again, just as at our first birth, our names are written in the Book of Life and anything written in the Sinner's Log Book is blotted out! As God forgets that sin because it no longer has significance, with his divine pen, the blood covers those forgiven sins because Jesus died for them all!
1 John 2:2 "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."It's important to know that Jesus' blood covers all our sins: past, present and future, but when we're born again, it's because we have confessed to only past sins. Therefore, constant confession is expected so that God can promptly forgive us. In other words, we can't keep doing wrong without remorse and still be new persons!
How often should we forgive?
Matthew 18:20 "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."In effect Jesus is saying that as long as a person wrongs another person they should always forgive as long as their is repentance (Luke 17:4).
Not only SHOULD you forgive, but it is COMMANDED, if it is your expectation to be forgiven yourself when your time comes!
Matthew 6:15 "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."You forgive others... God will forgive you. If you don't forgive others, God will not forgive you!
But you say, "He really wronged me badly!" Forgiving friends should be easy, but Christians are even expected to forgive their enemies. How so? We are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). Jesus in his wisdom left no loopholes so we are without excuse!
Forgiving is loving!
Now, searching for another loophole the viper may say, "Well, I'll forgive him and forget about it, but I shall never be a friend again!"
What is a friend? A friend is a person to whom another has feelings of affection. Surely, the affection is not disdain, disgust, fear, dislike or even to be left alone. The affection one has for a friend is one of love! Friendship, if it's true is a lifelong relationship because friends always truly forgive.
True friendship is forgiving and loving unconditionally. What if Jesus forgave your sins, forgot them, but discontinued a loving relationship. That would not be very gracious of him and he would be in violation of his own laws. God can't do that! Then why do people have more authority than God? Indeed friends are to serve friends. In practice true friendship can never end, because a Christian's obligation is to reconcile with the offending one, and even if the Christian is the one who offended!
Matthew 5:24 "Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."
Before we can even commune with God we must first be reconciled with our brother or sister. That's even if you are not the one with hard feelings, but him (Matthew 5:23; "if thy brother hath ought against thee")
As such, there are four steps to forgiveness:
- The offender is truly sorry and desires reconciliation.
- The offended forgives.
- The offended blots the offense from memory.
- The friendship is restored to it's original condition.
- Each one loves the other just as the offense never happened!
This is God's will! There are repercussions if Christians don't do God's will. Many people hang onto ill-will for years and even delight in their hatred. Sure, they may call it by another name, but hatred has no name. It's lack of love!
Cordiality is not friendship. Cordiality is not love. Cordiality is concealed hatred. Never even waste time being cordial because it's a façade that God sees through. Where in scripture is it said to be cordial to those who wrong you? Cordiality is an act of civility. Sure society should be civil, but Christians must be friends!
Churches split because of discord. Discord is a result of failing to truly forgive. Imagine a church where all merely act as friends, but each member holds something over another person's head. With discord the Holy Ghost will not come because the ground is not holy! What I mean by this is that people whose temple is filled with malice have no Holy Spirit residing in them. God cannot coexist with evil, and resentment is evil.
I have a problem with love. I admit that! I ask God to forgive me often because others don't please my expectations. But I am no matter. It's God that we all must please. My desire is that we all be of one accord because that's when the Holy Ghost appears in his fullness. Those who fail to love in God's house shun him from his own dwelling place.
Lack of love is serving evil. Love is serving God. Love conquers all, and it's us who are to put away pride and resentment and to love one another!