(week 21/13)

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

Here, the Lord Jesus teaches us that we need to forgive our brethren as many times as it is necessary: symbolized by 70 times 7 times; and we must forgive from the heart.

What is forgiveness?

It is removing the block or blot that sin causes between God and man by the power of the blood of Jesus.

1 John 1:7-10 KJV: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

This removal of the block of sin will result in a flow of the life of God to the person being forgiven from God through the person who is doing the forgiving.

John 20:23 NKJV: If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

1 John 5:16 KJV: If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

Why MUST we forgive?

If you do not forgive others when they sin against you, or you see them sin, then God will not forgive your sins: this will retain a block between you and God and so will hinder the flow of the life and power of God to you. This will make you vulnerable to satanic torment and oppression:

(34) And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. (35) So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Furthermore, by not forgiving you are hindering the unity of the Spirit in the body of Christ: causing a hindering of the flow of the life, power and nourishment God gives to the body through the members of the body.

Ephesians 4:16 NKJV: from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Colosians 2:19 NKJV: and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

By not forgiving, you are not doing your part in the supply of the life of God for the edifying and growth of the body.

How then do we practice forgiveness in our daily interactions?

By forgiving from the heart with our thoughts and words in prayer.

1 Peter 4:7-8 KJV: But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. (8) And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

James 5:14-16 KJV: Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: (15) And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (16) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

In practice, when you see someone sin, forgive them with your thoughts by asking God instantly with your thoughts to give life to them and then later, at the next opportunity you have to wash feet, use your mouth to: confess sins (theirs and yours), receive cleansing by the blood of Jesus, ask for life and pray in tongues for yourself, them and all others in your sphere of influence.

So, by praying for forgiveness and life with both your thoughts and your mouth, you are literally forgiving from your heart: since your thoughts and words come from your heart (Pr. 23:7, Rom.10:8-9, Lk. 6:45, Mt. 15:19).

Does forgiving mean we must forget?

No, we will not always forget, but when we remember it should be without bitterness (Eph. 4:31) and we should relate to the people with divine wisdom.

For instance God forgave David for adultery and murder, but He still chastened him (2 Sam. 12:13,14): so forgiving does not mean forgetting.

In our case, we are to relate with wisdom and without bitterness. For example, years ago, some one stole money while helping to count the offering because his brother was sick. I forgave him: I did not hand him to the police; rather, I gave him money to help his sick brother. BUT I removed him from the money counting team. So I forgave, but did not forget, but dealt with him without bitterness in the wisdom of God!

So, we are to forgive from the heart using our thoughts as often as it is necessary and with our mouths by washing feet at least 4 times a day (Dt. 6:7, 2 Sam.6:13), relating to those who offend us without bitterness in the wisdom of God.