…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
Never are we acting more like God, then when we forgive someone. Forgiveness is the closet action to God that we will ever undertake.
In today’s society, forgiving someone is almost looked down upon. Vengeance and getting even is what is portrayed as the true test of ones strength. Forgiveness is an act of a cowering weak wimpy person. Is it? Lets look a little bit closer at the importance of forgiveness.
What’s the definition of forgiveness? Forgiveness is a promise. Forgiveness is a pledge. Forgiveness is a statement of undeserved and unearned love that says, no matter what you’ve done, there is no anger, no hatred, no desire for vengeance, and there will never be no retaliation. I do not hold you guilty, and I do not blame you. I hold no self pity for myself because I have been offended. I pass by this transgression completely, and extend my love to you fully. That is biblical forgiveness.
We see this character trait of God in Exodus chapter 34 and verse 6.God is talking to Moses here.
“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD, a God full of compassion and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
I know a women who years ago was just a working class girl. Single. Enjoyed the party life. One day after her bowling night with her friends, she was leaving to go home. She had a few beers to drink. Nothing out of the ordinary. She wasn’t stoned drunk, but while she was pulling out she didn’t see the man on the motorcycle. What she thought was a slight bump to the motorcycle, turned out to be much more. She went to see if he was alright, but she could see by the twisted body, that he was not alright. He was dead!
The police came. She was arrested, and tried for manslaughter. Punishable by a long term in prison. But to her amazement, while the trial was coming to a close, the dead mans family chose not to prosecute the girl. In an emotional plea, they decided to forgive her and let her go.
Today that girl and the dead man’s family are good friends. They are all Christians and go to the same church, The girl goes around to schools and preaches to kids the dangers of drinking.
The press went wild with the story of the great act of forgiveness that this family showed this girl. There were stories in all the major newspapers, and they were even on the “Good Morning America” show.
The extension of forgiveness changed, not only the girl’s life forever, but the families involved, and who knows how many countless individuals who came to hear or read about this incredible act of forgiveness.
Jesus Christ taught many parables or stories while He was alive, and one of the most familiar stories was a story of a fathers great love for his son, and forgiveness of a wrong that was totally undeserved.
It is found in the Gospel according to Luke, chapter fifteen. The son said to his father that he wanted his part of the inheritance. He didn’t want to stay with the family. He was tired of living under his roof and under his rules. He was going to go out and do what he wanted to do. ( Kinda sounds almost like the kids of today.) You have to understand, that this was a huge insult to the father, and normally the son would be considered dead to the family and no longer accepted into the house ever again.
Now while this lad is out and spends all his money and times start to get bad. He has no where to go and no food to eat. he finds a part time job tending to a farmers pigs.( How is that. A Jewish kid tending to pigs?) He is so hungry, that he starts eating the slop that the pigs eat.
He decides to go back to his father, and admit that he was wrong and ask his forgiveness. He won’t ask for anything but to be treated like one of his fathers servants. He knows that it would be wrong to ask to be let back into the family circle.
Well while he is walking down the road that leads to his fathers house, rehearsing what he is going to say, his father sees him from the living room window, and runs out the door to meet his son. In Luke’s account of this story on the power of forgiveness, it says that not only did the father run out to meet his son, but his heart did also. Luke 15:20; “his heart went out to him.”
They meet each other and before the son could get a word out of his mouth, the father grabs him and hugs him so tight. The father is elated that his son is back. No guilt! No big speech of how he let him down! No anger! No hatred. The father just pours out his love on his son. The father puts the finest robe on him and a ring on his finger, and they have a huge feast and celebration. The father says, ” my son was dead, and now he is alive again.” ( Luke 15:24) Maybe our government should learn this, and instead of forgiving huge corporations for squandering the stockholders money, they should forgive honest hard working people their financial woes, and start listening with your heart.
This is a story of God’s great love for you and me. The salvation He provides. We have all turned to our own way. ( Isaiah 53:6 ) We, like the son, have said, I don’t need you God. I want to live my life my way. I don’t like your rules. But like the father in the story, God is waiting and looking to see if you are tired of going your own way. He is looking out the window, down the road to see if you decided that you had enough of getting beat up from the world. Come on home. He is waiting to forgive you. He has already done it. While He was hanging on the cross, He said, ” Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” ( Luke 23:34)
You are never more like God, then when you forgive. He has certainly left us with the greatest example of forgiveness. His son, Jesus Christ