In His Word— Forgiveness

Stephen offered up the most precious forgiveness prayer as he was being stoned to death for sharing the love and story of the Truth; Jesus Christ. He had more right than anyone alive today to get mad at them but instead he chose to not merely turn the other cheek, but to also forgive them himself and ask for the Father God to forgive them as well.

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!”  Acts 7 57-60

Too many Christians today hold grudges. We are taught not to take offence in the first place but it really is adding insult to injury when you take the offence then decide to keep it.
 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. “I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. Matthew 18:15-18

Do not allow selfish pride to rob you of a blessing; if you choose to be offended at someone, take it to them and get over it. If you find you cannot forgive them in yourself then ask God to help you. After all He chose to forgive you your sins even though you were not worthy of the forgiveness anymore than I am. Yet still we are forgiven of whatever this offence was ourselves just the same; one sin is the same as another in God’s eyes.  

Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Mark 6:3

Jesus could have been offended at this but he wasn’t. He knew who He was. We need to realize that people will offend us and learn to let it roll of our backs and land on the ground behind us.

It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Matthew 15:11

When we choose to take offence instead of forgiving one another we defile ourselves if we let the words come out of our mouth to support our prideful remorse. I say that it is prideful because we make it all about us. When we lash out at the person who offended us instead of speaking to them and asking God to help us forgive the offense then we are causing ourselves to have rotten “leaven” inside of our heart. When we choose not to forgive and allow God to help us get over it or ‘forget’ the offense then we are choosing to enjoy that leaven and let it grow.
Many a bitter person was born of offense. Think about it for a moment, someone you know is holding a grudge of offence. What can you do to help them?
First- pray that they will forgive the person.
Second- suggest they go to the person and discus with them the problem.
Thirdly- have them pray together for forgiveness because usually if one person is offended the other person is too. 

Sometimes people choose to wallow in their offence. They enjoy it because they feel they have a right to be offended because after all--- whatever happened we do not have a right to hold a grudge.

 Jesus tells us;
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. Luke 17:2-4 KJV

We need to be forgivers not haters, not gossipers, not people who hold a grudge; Jesus said to forgive our brothers and sisters 70 times 7; in other words keep on forgiving.
After all we are to become more and more like Jesus every day, how can we do that if we weigh ourselves down with such sinful behavior as holding a grudge. Grudges lead to hate, which leads us generally to gossip; remember gossip is not just a lie, it is talking about someone else when they are not there to defend themselves; it is talking about anyone who is not with you talking about themselves too.

Dear Heavenly Father, help us not to hold grudges but instead to forgive and let it go. Help us not to allow an offense rob us of the joy we have in You. Bless us today with peace and understanding, in Jesus name, amen.

Suggested Reading: Luke 17:1-37, Zechariah 7:1-14,Luke 11:1-54, and 2 Corinthians 2:1-17.
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In His love,
Teresa M. Wilson