The other morning as I was waking up, the LORD dropped something into my spirit that we all need to hear. This is what I heard: “When someone sins against another, the offended one thinks of how they can get even.  When someone sins against Me, I’m looking for a way to forgive and reconcile them to Me.” Think about that for a moment, and you will see how vastly God’s nature is higher than man’s.  If everyone thought like that, there would be no war.

Now one of the best ways to learn something is by hearing it repeatedly, and maybe some will say, Yes, I know that and don’t need to keep hearing it, but the truth is we DO need to keep being reminded of this very thing, for it is one thing that will definitely keep us out of God’s Kingdom if we fail to do so.
When the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray, He responded with this:
Mat 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Mat 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Mat 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Mat 6:10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:11  Give us this day our daily bread.
Mat 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Mat 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Mat 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Mat 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Every now and then the LORD has me do a “refresher” on “forgiveness”, for that is the backbone of the plan of God.  Redemption cannot take place without forgiveness of sins, and that isn’t just God forgiving us, but us forgiving others as well.  God has forgiveness on His mind continually, and it should be on ours as well.  For some reason, we get hung up on “getting even” or “justice” as we choose to call it.  Listen, if God was like that, we would all be “crispy critters”, and don’t tell me we don’t deserve it, because we do.  Why do you think we have wars all over the world?  Somebody is offended and they refuse to forgive and move on.  Forgiveness is not saying “Your behavior hurt me, but it’s ok to keep on hurting me, I forgive you anyway”.

Godly forgiveness not only forgives the sin like it never happened, but goes on to work to heal the relationship and bring full restoration.  Boy, now THAT’S a biggie! When someone sins against us, God wants us to forgive the offence.  He doesn’t insist we keep going back and allowing ourselves to be hurt over and over, nor does He require us to stay in an abusive relationship. One day the Lord Jesus was teaching about forgiveness, and said:

Mat 18:15  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Mat 18:16  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Mat 18:17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

However, when Peter asked how many times we should forgive, Jesus said:
Mat 18:21  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Mat 18:22  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Mat 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
Mat 18:24  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
Mat 18:25 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.
Mat 18:26  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
Mat 18:28  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.
Mat 18:29  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:30  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
Mat 18:31  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
Mat 18:32  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:
Mat 18:33  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
Mat 18:34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Mat 18:35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Do you see how very important God sees forgiveness?  Read that verse 35 again and try to tell me “It’s no big deal”.
When we are sinned against, we have a choice whether or not to forgive. Sometimes it‘s no big deal, but sometimes it can be very difficult.  Here is what happened once when Jesus appeared to the disciples after He was resurrected:
Joh 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Joh 20:22  And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
Joh 20:23  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

He knew they were going to face many opportunities to be offended.  Jesus passed the test on the cross, saying, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Now what about when someone sins against US?  Are we sufficiently filled with God’s love to be able to say that?  AND, here’s the biggie:  are we looking for a way for them to not only be forgiven but restored?  Can we pray for that person who has hurt us with genuine love for their soul, asking God to bring wholeness to the situation?

In one of my previous articles, I wrote, “How will others know we are His disciples?” The answer is simple: BY OUR LOVE.   Know love, know Jesus.  No love, no Jesus.  Love does not count offences, but rather forgives them and moves on.  We want to be like Jesus, right?  Keep that in mind the next time someone does something hurtful to you.  What would Jesus do?  Well, what DID Jesus do?  He went beyond mere forgiveness, he brought reconciliation into our lost and sinful condition.  He knew what was on God’s mind.  And now YOU do, too.