In today’s world, we have opportunity to be offended every day, many times a day. Why, even before getting to work in the morning, the devil will send someone in your path to offend you, maybe cutting you off in traffic. And of course, your immediate response is “Bless them Lord!”, right? Yeah, right. Maybe “Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do …..!” is closer? Well, whatever your response, the devil is at work to get you offended. It is written in Matthew 18:7, “Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”

Would your response be your own version of Matthew 18:8 “Wherefore if the driver next to thee offend thee, cut them off and cast them from thee…..????”

What the devil doesn’t tell you, is that when you get offended, YOU ARE THE LOSER!

You don’t have to look very far to see the fruits of unforgiveness. Look at anyone who has been through a divorce and has a bitter relationship with their “ex”. I mean, if they meet in Wal-Mart by accident, you might as well run to Lawn & Garden and grab a lawn chair and buy some popcorn and something to drink, because there’s gonna be a prize fight! Or if you’re faint of heart, run, do not walk, to the nearest exit. And run in a zig-zag so as to lessen your chances of being hit by flying objects as you leave.
If it weren’t for offences, we wouldn’t have any wars, or even rumors of war. Armies would be obsolete, not to mention nuclear weapons……..Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a world where everyone forgives? Well, someday you will….IF you forgive. Because if you don’t, you’ll never get to live in heaven, where there is no offence.
Many ask God for the ability to forgive. I’m glad they see the importance of forgiving others, for in the “Lord’s Prayer”, it is written, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”, and Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Anyone who thinks they will get into heaven with unforgiveness in their heart is in for a big disappointment.
Once we have asked Jesus to forgive our sins, they are forgiven. But from that point on, we are expected to forgive others. And due to the grace of the forgiveness of our own sins, we have no excuse not to forgive others. It is an act of our own will to forgive others. God will not make us do so, but we will suffer the consequences if we do not. Let’s read about it in Matthew 18:23-35,

 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.  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.  The servant therefore fell down, and worshiped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.  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: 
 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. (his debt was reinstated!)

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
I have learned to forgive, if nothing else, out of gratitude for what Jesus did for me. What anyone has ever done to me, even though to me it may have been a big thing, is in reality small dust on the scale in comparison to what I have sinned against God. When you choose to forgive, it must often be done by faith, telling God that you choose by your will to forgive that person, so that you may show the love of God to others. It may not be easy to forgive, but God never said everything would be easy for us. He just said He would empower us to do whatever He commands us to do. So therefore, you already have the power to forgive others, whether it seems so by your “feelings” or not.

Paul said in Romans 6:12, “Let not sin therefor reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Unforgiveness is sin. However, if he said “Let not….” then you must have a choice whether to or not. So you must CHOOSE not to sin. It is written in James 4:7-8, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” It seems to me the double minded he was referring to here were those who knew they should forgive, but didn’t think they could or should.

When we submit ourselves to the will of God and resist the temptation to hold something against someone, then it says the devil will flee from us. But we must submit and resist before he will flee. That is clearly a choice of our own free will to do so. When we choose to forgive, the devil no longer can use that offence to torment us, and he leaves. And by the way, do you think the person who offended you is laying awake at night tormented? Not likely. Maybe, it wasn’t even an intended offence. Most likely it is YOU that is laying awake stewing over it, turning it over and over in your mind, justifying yourself that it is not your fault and that you were wrongly treated. And maybe you were. Then again, just maybe you had a part in it.

But whether you did or not is not the issue here. It has been said, It takes two to tango. If it takes one to give an offence, then there must be one to take it. Let me give you an example: Suppose someone shoots an arrow out of a bow at you. The arrow has the power to kill you. But if it doesn’t hit you and sink in, that is if you don’t receive the hit, you’re not hurt. You may have been offended, but you don’t have to receive it and hold onto it. The issue is, if you hold a grudge, you are just as guilty in God’s eyes as the offender! If you’ve been wounded and you’re walking in unforgiveness and saying “Get them, God!”, then, He’s going to have to get you, too. Think about that one for a while. I tell you, it will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up!

Indeed, if there is someone you need to forgive today, make it a choice of your will to do so. Tell the Lord, “Father God, I choose of my own free will to forgive________ for all they have sinned against me. And because I forgive from my heart, because You told me to, then I know my sins are also forgiven. Thank You, Father God for the grace to choose to forgive. Thank You for the great peace I enjoy because I forgive others, as well as myself.”

Don’t let another minute go by without “clearing the slate”. For we know not if we will draw another breath. What if you put it off for another time, and that time never happens before you die? Your sins will not be forgiven, no matter how much good stuff you have done for God, or how many years you have attended church, or how much you have given to others. You will die in your sins. That means eternal separation from God. You don’t want to even think about that one.

Hear “WELL DONE!” Don’t “be” well done! (as in the lake of fire).