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Understanding Forgiveness

  • When someone 'offends' You ... or 'trespasses' against You ... or ... blatantly 'sins' against You ... What Should YOU Do?

    Oftentimes people are taught that IF someone walks all over you and brings harm to you ... that YOU need to be 'humbled' to the point where YOU fall on your knees and forgive the offender EVEN IF they NEVER 'repent' of their 'trespass against you'. (This attitude frees the offending party from any responsibility to repent, or ... change their way.)

    Your (and my) responsibility is NOT to simply 'forgive' ... that is the EASY and IRRESPONSIBLE way out ... (We don't get off that easy ... )

    First of All ...

    We need to understand that when Jesus offered Himself a Sacrifice for our Sin ... the benefits of this Holy Sacrifice are NOT 'redeemable' WITHOUT Repentance! In order to appropriate the Cleansing of the Blood of Jesus ... WE MUST Repent and Turn our lives over to Him - IN FULL. That is the 'Deal'. And ... by the way ... it is the Best 'Deal' in Town!

    Our proper response must be to confront the 'offender' and to do our best to settle the matter at hand. Now we don't accomplish this by bringing 'him' to a common court. We do this in Another Way.

    Jesus teaches us His 'Way' in Matthew 18:15-20. And ... IF ... You belong TO Him .. this is YOUR Course of Action that You MUST take ...

    We must ourselves 'go to him/her (the offender) and explain what was done that was 'offensive'.

    Too often we sheepishly get on our 'cell phones' and begin to spread the offense to everyone we think should know about 'it'. Although we dress it up a bit and make our complaint more acceptable to itching ears. We make a 'joke' about it - or - we piously explain how 'right we were' and, how very 'wrong they were'.

    It is the Common Practice of too many 'Christ-confessing' people to take the Low Road of Action against an offending brother or sister. And again ... this is the 'Easy Path' because it negates our personal responsibility to engage in the necessary conversation with the hope of 'settling the matter' before God.

    And IF by going to the offender and telling the fault, between You and Him, IF he 'hears you' - then you have 'gained your brother back'.

    People refuse to do this. They just don't care if a matter is settled. For some reason, this part of the Christian Life has become so very 'unimportant' and even ... 'unnecessary'. And when this is the reigning attitude ... the entire matter concerning Forgiveness, even our own, has become a serious matter in disrepair.

    'Just Love Him!' we answer. 'The next time you see him wrap your loving arms around him and give him a BIG hug!' This seems to be the present latter-day attitude. We make jokes about forgiveness ... or ... we cite someone who preaches who has been 'discovered' (a sinner) and we toss the entire subject into the air with a 'Who Cares!', attitude. 'Someone' Cares ...

    If your brother 'hears you' you have gained your brother back. And your 'relationship' is 'healed'. BUT ...

    If your brother DOES NOT hear you ... What MUST You Do?

    Jesus said: "Take one or two others with you and speak to your brother of the offense." Though this may NOT be the prescribed 'method' of Your Favorite Pastor's 'Doctrine' ... or that of Your Friendly TV Evangelist ... it DOES matter to God.

    God doesn't care for Gossip. He doesn't like Slander. He hates Backbiting. For He knows the intrusive damage it accomplishes in a Home or in a Place of Business ... yes ... and - in the Church. He seeks to Win the Offender BACK to a state of Right Thinking ... and ... strangely enough, He wants to accomplish this 'in Secret' ... IF at all possible.

    By going to the 'offender' with one or two others ... the weight of another friendly person may help the issue along and bring him to an agreeable solution. But IF this Fails then the responsibility of the Offended Party is still NOT over.

    If he fails to hear You, and Your friend or friends, then you must go to the Church. (Synagogue, Temple, Fellowship, Group) and Tell them the Offense.

    Finally ...

    If he fails to 'hear the Church' then you are to consider him as a 'heathen and a publican'. (An unrepentant Bitter Sinner) His life will break down and he will only continue to bring trouble to himself and to all. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

    Forgiveness is one of the Most Important Issues in the Kingdom of God. But 'sloppy' or 'irresponsible' -forgiveness- is not of God ... Nor can it ever be found to be 'pleasing to God.'

    There IS a path to Forgiveness and we MUST NOT bypass this important Road to Right Thinking. And God Forbid the Man or Woman of God who places a 'Detour' Sign on this path and teaches men so.

    Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


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