Never in human history was a man more underestimated, maligned, and defrauded than Jesus Christ. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. And yet as Jesus pursued his own resurrection, he forgave his wicked accusers and slayers. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
Jesus taught that forgiving is essential for spiritual maturity. When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. He made forgiveness an art. If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. He taught that retribution of any sort, is unacceptable to God. Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Jesus’ disciples found forgiveness a difficult concept. Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. But Jesus demanded that they all follow his example, exactly. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you.
Forgiving sin against you will inscribe on your heart the character of God. It will make you like him. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.As forgiveness flows from you, you are actually emulating the creator of the universe, and attaining Godlikeness. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Here is found the necessity of betrayal and sin against you. When it arrives, it gives you the opportunity to purchase Godlikeness for yourself. For it must needs be that offences come. Without the pain of sin against you, you could never become what Jesus Christ is. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
But how do you forgive heinous, blatant, willful sin, when it is slapped in your face and thrust through your heart? Once again, the answer flows from your personal knowledge of God’s sovereignty. You must understand that your crucifixion is of God, not of men. You must cultivate the ability to see the benevolent purpose of your Heavenly Father, lurking behind the anguish. Forgiveness is not an anesthetic for pain, it is an acknowledgment of God’s higher purpose. It is a simple declaration that God loves you, that he is in control, and that he has purposed this pain for your eternal benefit.
When you come to the cross you must forgive your accusers and conspirators. Like Judas they have been selected by the divine will for a miserable task. Your crucifiers are prisoners of their own carnal minds. They are tools of Satan, in the hand of God, for the destruction of your flesh– and they are incapable of having it any other way. For who hath resisted his will?
Understanding this, you can acknowledge God’s sovereignty and forgive them, for they cannot affect your destiny in any fashion unwanted by God. Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father.
No man needs to ask your forgiveness. You need to give it for your own good. Whether it is received or not is meaningless. If ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Withholding forgiveness for any reason is simply your hateful carnal nature, clinging to its own pride.
Any sins that you cannot forgive will continue to live in your heart, providing sustenance to your own carnality. With this ongoing nourishment you will hang on your cross forever, as a bitter, hypocritical, mean, back-biting unbeliever. Forgiveness is your minimum due, and withholding it will hurt no one but yourself. Only you will steep in the torment you retain. And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
While walking around on the earth, Jesus Christ had the power to forgive sins. The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins. This power he has now given to you. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained [in you]. You are commanded to exercise this power of forgiveness for your own well-being. Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.
This is your key to the Spirit Realm. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. If you retain the condemnation of your fellow earthlings, then you bind yourself to the earthly realm. But if you loose away the sins of your mortal companions, then you will be loosed from the earthy, and ushered into the new, living abode, of the risen Sons of God. Forgiveness is an essential element of the cross. With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.