Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven …
“Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. ‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ “And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” Luke18:21-35
Forgiveness is not about me; and it’s not about you...
and it’s not about you and me, or about you and anyone else. Forgiveness is about each person and God ... you or me or them and God.
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know [Him] [in this way] no longer. 2 Corinthians 5:14-16
The words in this verse are about the love of Christ controlling us. And Jesus wants us to love and forgive others in the same way he has loved and forgiven us. In spite of all of our failings, Jesus died for each and every one of us from the beginning to the end of time. And He forgives all of us unconditionally throughout eternity.
ALL is a big word. He forgives ALL of us for our many failings every day; and he forgives ALL of our sins of the past, present, and future; and He forgives ALL of us forever. The only thing we need to do in order to receive His free gift and His promises … is to believe that Jesus is who he says He is.
Paul explains that the way we are to worship Jesus the Creator and Savior of the world is to NOT be conformed to the world; but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Our divine transformation will result in our being conformed to Him by the leading of His eternal truth and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When the Love of Christ controls us we become Christ-centered rather than self-centered. This results in victory over any and all forms of sin and failings in our daily life.
For us the worship of God by the renewing of our minds regarding forgiveness means that our thinking needs to be transformed so that we no longer forgive others from a worldly point of view; but rather we forgive in the same way that Jesus forgives others. To do otherwise is to disregard the instructions and example Jesus has given us.
Once again the instruction here from Jesus is perfectly clear …
“Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Mathew 18:21-22
This foundational Truth of never-ending forgiveness should be how others view each one of us, and then think and say: “He or she is the most forgiving person I have ever met.” This is how Jesus draws others to Himself through us. But the big question is: “who do you even know that is living out this type of a Christ-like forgiving spirit?”
The problem is that when Christians choose not follow the most basic teachings of Christ, others see them as hypocrites and this negative example leads others to become discouraged, and they turn away from the Savior. These Christians become an anti-witness for Christ. When we follow the leading of Jesus, the opposite results occur as He draws others to himself through us.
The verse above explains the transformation of our thinking when we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and God’s eternal Truth. “Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh” ( or from a worldly point of view). This is a Paradox Principle since it is contrary to the view that many will unconsciously and naturally and most likely have towards others.
It is natural for our most ugly character qualities to become apparent in response to others when they treat us badly, embarrass us, or hurt our feelings. We have all at times fallen into the most destructive habits when we become angry with someone else. But God teaches us a better way. “ BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” Ephesians 4:26-27
The scripture is clear. The question is not: “will you get angry?” But rather; when you get angry: “what will you do with your anger?” Letting the sun go down on your anger results in giving the devil an opportunity. This can lead to many evil responses. Slander, backbiting, gossip, lying, hatred, bitterness, jealousy, and resentment are only a few of the traps that the evil one leads us into once he has established a stronghold in our life.
All of these sins can lead us to act out of character and say and do things that we will surely regret. All of us have a pride problem that we must bring under control, or the evil one will use this problem to control and destroy us.
Anger and bitterness is like a cancer. If we allow this evil to grow … it will rob us of our happiness, our peace and joy; and most importantly hinder our fellowship with the Holy Spirit? And we have not even begun to mention the loss of valued friendships, respect, and our ability to be a positive witness for Christ.
Jesus has promised us that if we “humble ourselves to Him that He will lift us up.” James 4:10 We can only hear the leading of His Spirit when we are listening to the words of Christ that He has implanted in our hearts. His promises will give us the needed strength but we must listen to Jesus and His Truth and follow Him.
In closing, what about you … right now? Are you looking at others from a worldly point of view? Are you living for yourself, or for Christ? Are you following the pride of your flesh; or the Prince of Peace. Are you following: “Him who died and rose again on your behalf?"
Do you have the mind of Christ, or are you living and acting like a mere man?
Are you living out the life of forgiveness that the Savior has planned for you?
"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2
God Bless you my friends, Bob