Horizontal Forgiveness. 02/26/2014 (Morning thought)

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

This passage of scripture effectively sets the measure by which our sins are forgiven. If we are not willing to let go of old grudges and violations of our rights by anyone who sinned against us, then the Bible says that we cannot expect to be forgiven, for with what measure we mete, it shall be measured to us again. Forgiving someone who has wronged us involves much more than just simply saying "I forgive you". It also includes the aspects of reinstatement, trust, and a willingness to absorb the costs associated with forgiveness where applicable.

God's forgiveness is free to everyone, but it cost Him severely, in the Person of Jesus Christ, who paid the highest price in the most brutal and humiliating form so that we might have pardon. And because of this God asks us to absorb whatever costs are involved in forgiving one another, so that those who sinned against us might also find pardon. Some of us hold onto grievances, and grudges too long, and the more we do, the harder it is to forgive and forget. Then again, some put a threshold on the type, or gravity of offenses they are willing to pardon, for they feel that some wrongs are too grievous to forgive. But this should not be the case, especially when we observe the extent to which God forgives. Let's read:

1st John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

The word "all" means all, except we persist in continuing to sin with no intention or desire to stop. Thus husbands should be willing to forgive their wives and wives their husbands. Parents should be willing to forgive their children and children their parents. Workers should be willing to forgive their supervisors and supervisors their workers. And last but not least, politicians should be willing to forgive one another, not dwelling on, or enumerating the sins or mistakes of fellow politicians. A striking example of what is being referred to can be found in the scriptures, where a man that was forgiven did not grant the same favor to one who had wronged him. In other words, the kindness shown him was not reciprocated horizontally in his subsequent dealings with his fellow man. Let's read:

Matthew 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.  24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.  25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.  26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.  28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.  29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.  31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.  32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:  33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Even though the Bible acknowledges the fact that some wrongs can be very grievous, yet by the grace of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can cultivate a kind forgiving spirit, that's easy to be entreated. The sooner we can forgive and resolve the differences and wrongs between each other, the better the world will be for everyone. We therefore will end with instructions pertinent to this matter, with the hope that a new day will dawn in our hearts as we endeavor to forgive those who trespass against us. Let's read:

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.  31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

May this experience be ours, both now and for the rest of our lives. God bless!