Over a few brief posts, I want to share some preaching and teaching I once did on the topic of “forgiveness.” Neil T. Anderson heavily influenced my thinking on this topic several years ago. It was a liberating experience. However, we all struggle with the issue of forgiveness from time to time. A man named John Oglethorpe, in talking to John Wesley, once made the comment, “I never forgive!” Mr. Wesley replied, “Then sir, I hope you never sin!” We certainly need to be forgiving towards all that have hurt us and towards all against whom we have hard feelings. This is a challenge for all of us at various points in time and circumstances.
Part of the struggle in forgiving is caused by our perceptions of the “other” party. Perhaps another person has truly wronged us, but they have no clue or don’t see their action or actions as wrong. Indeed, the other party at times may be right and we are wrong, but can’t see it. How do you work through that? Well, pray for clear vision from the Holy Spirit. Understand that this side of heaven no two people will necessarily agree on everything. And most of all - if you have hard feelings toward anyone, whether you are actually in the right or not, you must forgive.
The default position of being forgiving towards all grants us our greatest freedom while on this earth. God will square things up. With this same default attitude of forgiveness in mind, sometimes folks ask for our forgiveness and we don’t really want to grant it. We must! Christ forgave us. We must forgive others - and it needs to be genuine.
We all mess up in relationships from time to time. Sometimes we are aware of what we have done. Sometimes we are not aware. And sometimes people are agitated with us when they have no right to be. But if all God’s children default to a forgiving spirit, love and unity will overcome disagreement and dissension.
So, that is the introduction. I will post some particulars over the next few posts. I praise God for His forgiveness. Certainly I do not merit it. Forgiveness is an amazing gift of God extended to me purely from His grace. My prayer is that I will be as quick to extend and seek forgiveness as He was ready to do the same for me.