All my life I have been taught forgiveness is a choice. Yes, forgiving some is a choice, but did you know not forgiving someone is a sin. What did she just say! I am glad you asked, or in this case, thought it! The Holy Spirit totally blew my mind when He gave me the revelation I am about to share with you now.
Should we forgive those who have hurt and offended us? Absolutely! For our own peace of mind and to begin the healing process, we must forgive others. But is forgiveness really a choice? Let's see what Jesus says about it in the bible. The first time we see Jesus mention forgiveness in the bible is in Matthew 6. In this passage of scripture He is teaching His disciples how to pray. effectively. In one of the lines He says,"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6:14). Now we all know this scripture, but do we truly know it's depths?
In order for us to receive forgiveness from God for our sins, we must forgive others of their sins against us. If we do not forgive them, God says He will not forgive us. So, is forgiveness really a choice or is it a command? Forgiveness is a command! God commands us in His Word to forgive others. Before Jesus even gets to that line in the prayer, He says, "Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us" (Matthew 6:12). God knows while we are living on this earth people will hurt, betray, and offend us. Regardless of what they do to us, He still expects us to forgive them.
And why does He expect us to forgive them? Because He forgave us. Jesus' death and resurrection was for the forgiveness of our sins. Through the shedding of His Blood, we are forgiven and have eternal life. God showed grace and mercy to us when He didn't have to. The wages of sin is death, but thank God Jesus paid that bill for us on the Cross. Because the truth is we all fall short of the glory of God. None of us live sin free lives! We all have hurt, betrayed, offended, or lied on someone, and if you say you haven't you are only fooling yourself and not living in the truth ( 1 John 1:8). We have all wronged or offended someone!
Now that we have accepted that truth, let's get back to why forgiveness is a command. When people hurt or offended us they are operating under an evil spirit because "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12). People who are not fully surrendered to God and led by the Holy Spirit open themselves up for demons to enter their body and use them do their demonic agendas and bidding. That's why it is important we walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh, but that's post for another day!
When we walk in the flesh, we give the enemy access to use us to cause hurt, harm, or danger to other people. This is why God requires us to repent of our sins daily. He knows we are not always going to walk in the Spirit. So the same grace, mercy, and forgiveness He gives us, He want us to extend to others. Therefore, forgiveness isn't just a choice, it's a commandment.
Here are some scriptures to back up this claim
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22.
Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
In conclusion, forgive others as God has forgiven if you. Next week, I am going to talk about forgiveness and how it's a process, not a feeling! So look forward to that!