March 5, 2012
by Pastor Paul Friberg, Berean Baptist Church, Glencoe

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

Forgiveness does not come naturally. It can be very difficult to extend forgiveness to someone. Many times, this is complicated when we feel they don’t deserve it. Why is it so hard to forgive?

Jesus was teaching his disciples the importance of forgiveness. He illustrated it this way. In Matthew, Chapter 18, we see a story of an unforgiving servant who was forgiven a great deal by a king. In fact, he owed more then he could ever pay back in his lifetime.

The irony is when he had the opportunity to show this same kindness to a fellow servant who owed much less than what the king forgave him of, he refused. Read what the Bible says:

“Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’” Matthew 18:32-33 (New Living Translation)

Offering forgiveness is difficult. But what Jesus is teaching is that we should forgive as God has forgiven us. Through forgiveness, God tears down the walls that our sins have built, and He opens the way for a renewed relationship with Him.

This is exactly what we must do if we are to forgive as the Lord forgives us: We must release the person who has wronged us from the penalty of being separated from us. We must not hold wrongs against others, not think about the wrongs, and not punish others for them.

Therefore, forgiveness may be described as a decision to make four promises:

1. “I will not dwell on this incident.”

2. “I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you.”

3. “I will not talk to others about this incident.”

4. “I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.”

It is amazing that when God forgave us, it was total and completely. Because Jesus died on the cross in our place, God blots out the record of our sins and makes us right with Him. This is total and complete forgiveness.

When God forgives us, He does not dwell on our sin, or bring it up again and again, or hold it against us. When God forgives us, He an example of these four promises of forgiveness.

This week, when someone seeks your forgiveness, take the opportunity to use these four promises. This may amaze them. It may be something that they never heard of before. Tell them this is how you are forgiven – in fact, God, through Jesus Christ, has forgiven you a great deal more!

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 (NIV)