Topic: Forgive Them!
Text: Luke: 17: 3- 4
3 So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them. Amen.
Right after Jesus had warned that we should watch ourselves, for the “things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come because it would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble (Luke 17: 1- 3a), He continued by saying:
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Incredible!
Juxtaposing the two, this is what we get:
a) None of us should be the reason why people stumble, although stumbling is inevitable. We should neither tempt anyone, nor allow ourselves to be tempted.
b) However, should we feel offended by anyone, we must first and foremost consider the “offending person” a brother or sister (that makes it easier to bear the hurt in a much better way), and make them aware that their actions or inactions hurt us. If it takes a rebuke to get their attention on how bad the effect of their actions weigh on you, feel free and let them have it.
c) In all this, our preparedness to forgive them must be unprecedented. Even if they keep hurting us many times within a day, or in many different ways, or keep hurting us day in and day out, we must never be tired of forgiving our brothers and sisters who sin against us. That way, our heavenly Father will forgive our own trespasses too. (Matthew 6: 12)
Is forgiveness difficult? Yes, mostly! Especially in situations when the “offending” brother or sister is neither remorseful nor repented, but keeps hurting you over and over again. But does that make forgiveness impossible? Certainly not! It is a choice!
We don’t forgive to make the other person better, but ourselves. Each time we forgive someone, we spare our own lives the trauma of dealing with the hurt everyday, with all the negative consequences that come with it. We also gain some level of confidence before the God from whom we require forgiveness for our own trespasses. He actually demands that we forgive one another first, before seeking forgiveness from Him.
So by all means offences will come, don’t swallow them all like poison before they kill you. Voice them out; make your offender aware that their actions hurt you. And afterwards forgive them, whether they repent or not. Even if they do something worse right after, still forgive them. You do this for yourself; your soul needs the forgiveness of the SAVIOUR, because you also keep offending others and God in one way or another.
Meditate on this word as you also think through your life. Note the many people you have offended, and vice versa. Ask the Lord to forgive both you and them for being insensitive to His Word. Now decide to talk to them all before the close of day. Ask those you have offended to forgive you while you tell those who offended you about your hurt.
Regardless of what their response may be; good or bad, YOU FORGIVE THEM AND MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE, READY TO FORGIVE THEM AGAIN AND AGAIN. THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL HELP YOU!
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