1. FORGIVENESS ISN’T DEPENDENT ON THE NATURE OR THE SEVERITY OF THE OFFENSE.  Our Lord’s call to forgive others isn’t dependent on what kind of offense has been committed against us or how serious that offense is. He didn’t tell us to forgive everything except rape or murder. He didn’t say we’re to forgive all trespasses except those that have injured our pride or reputation. His instructions weren’t that we’re to forgive every trespass except those that inflict permanent bodily suffering on ourselves or our closest loved ones. He gave no command to forgive only accidental offenses and innocent mistakes, but not intentional ones. Do you see what I’m saying? God simply said, Forgive! HE DIDN’T SINGLE OUT A TRESPASS OR MAKE UP A LIST OF TRESPASSES THAT ARE EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE OF FORGIVENESS. Despite the sin or the seriousness of that sin, no matter how much we’ve suffered because of the offense, the Lord tells us, Forgive!

            2. FORGIVENESS ISN’T DEPENDENT ON THE NUMBER OF TIMES THE OFFENSE HAS BEEN COMMITTED.  It doesn’t matter how many times someone has wronged us or how many times we’ve had to suffer the injustice. The Lord tells us, Forgive!  Peter came to the Lord one day and asked, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? (Matthew 18:21). You see, it’s a human tendency to limit how many times we’re going to forgive someone. There’s a limit to how much we’re going to take and how long we’re going to take it. And when this final line has been crossed, we’re not going to forgive anymore! Why not? “Because we’re only empowering and encouraging that person to do it all over again! He’s not taking it seriously! He’s not learning his lesson! We’ve got to put our foot down and say, No more!”

The only thing about it is, Jesus did not limit the number of times we’re supposed to forgive someone. In answer to Peter’s question, Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). When Jesus said to forgive seventy times seven, He effectively declared our supply of forgiveness to be an infinite, inexhaustible supply. In other words, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been wronged and how many times this person has done this to you. The Lord says, Forgive!

            3. FORGIVENESS ISN’T DEPENDENT ON THE IDENTITY OF THE OFFENDER.  It doesn’t matter who the offender is. They may be a complete unregenerate or a brother in the Lord. They may be a friend or foe. An acquaintance or stranger. A relative or family member. A here-to-fore upright member of society or habitual criminal. A white man or a black one. A  Hispanic  or  an  Asian.  A  woman  caught  in  weakness  or  a  prostitute. It doesn’t matter who hurt us. All the Lord said was, Forgive!

Brethren, do you have a hard time forgiving some people? A husband who’s been unfaithful to you? A wife who’s left you for another man? A pastor who rebuked you and placed you under church discipline? A five-fold minister who’s lied about you? A doctor who urged you to abort? A judge who sentenced you to ten years in prison? An habitual offender on parole who killed a loved one? Brethren, all that doesn’t matter to the Lord. THE OFFENSE, THE OFFENDER, AND THE NUMBER OF TIMES THE OFFENSE HAS BEEN COMMITTED AGAINST YOU, DO NOT DETERMINE WHO YOU’LL FORGIVE AND HOW MANY TIMES YOU’LL FORGIVE. As a sin-washed, blood-bought Christian, you will forgive regardless!

            4. DEFERRING, AND THEN FORGETTING ALL ABOUT, FORGIVENESS DOESN’T MEAN YOU’VE FORGIVEN.  What often happens when people have a hard time forgiving someone is, they defer forgiving that person until they have right feelings or attitudes. They postpone forgiving until the Lord changes their heart about the person or the crime. It’s too convicting to think about being unforgiving right now, so people generally forget all about the command to forgive. Naturally, as time passes and turns into years, people forget all about forgiving.

But the thing about forgiveness is, YOU HAVEN’T FORGIVEN UNTIL YOU FORGIVE. Deferring forgiveness for a later time and then forgetting all about it doesn’t mean you’ve forgiven and everything’s right between you and the offender or between you and the Lord. If you haven’t forgiven, you haven’t forgiven. Brethren, just because you’ve forgotten about forgiveness and your memory or conscience doesn’t bother you about it, doesn’t mean you’ve forgiven. After all these years, just when you think you’ve forgotten all about it, the Lord says, Forgive!

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 4. I’ll look at another 3 misconceptions that people have about forgiveness, then I discuss the meaning of forgiveness. I don’t mean to be repetitive, but it’ll be a really good post. Drop by for a visit and you’ll be blest.

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