I don’t normally do long-winded posts, but this one is a good one and came from one of my absolute favorite people in the world, so here goes:
“Forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do: We are told to live forgiving one another, after the pattern of Jesus’ forgiveness towards us. Understanding the way Jesus forgave us will always make us more generous with forgiveness, and never less generous.
i. When we consider the staggering debt Jesus forgave for us, and the comparative smallness of the debts others have toward us, it is base ingratitude for us to not forgive them (as in the parable Jesus spoke in Matthew 18:21-35). “The forgiveness they have received is used to enforce the duty of forgiving others.” (Peake)
ii. When one thinks of how Christ forgave you it should make us much more generous with forgiveness.
· God holds back His anger a very long time when we sin against Him. He bears with us a long time, even when we sorely provoke Him.
· God reaches out to bad people to bring forgiveness to them; the habit of man is to not reconcile if the offending person is a person of bad character.
· God makes the first move towards us in forgiveness; the habit of man is to only be reconciled if the offending party craves forgiveness and makes the first move.
· God forgives often knowing that we will sin again, sometimes in the exact same way. It is the habit of man to forgive only if the offending party solemnly promises to never do the wrong again.
· God’s forgiveness is so complete and glorious that He grants adoption to those former offenders. In the habit of man, even when forgiveness is offered, he will not lift again the former offender to a place of high status and partnership.
· God bore all the penalty for the wrong we did against Him. In the habit of man, when he is wronged, he will not forgive unless the offender agrees to bear all the penalty for the wrong done.
· God keeps reaching out to man for reconciliation even when man refuses Him again and again. In the habit of man, one will not continue to offer reconciliation if it is rejected once.
· God requires no probationary period to receive His forgiveness; in the habit of man, one will not restore an offender without a period of probation.
· God’s forgiveness offers complete restoration and honor; in the habit of man, we feel we should be complimented when we merely tolerate those who sin against us.
· Once having forgiven, God puts His trust in us and invites us back to work with Him as co-laborers. In the habit of man, one will not trust someone who has formerly wronged him.
iii. “Suppose that someone had grievously offended any one of you, and that he asked your forgiveness, do you not think that you would probably say to him, ‘Well, yes, I forgive you; but I – I – I – cannot forget it’? Ah! dear friends, that is a sort of forgiveness with one leg chopped off, it is a lame forgiveness, and is not worth much.” (Spurgeon)