Exodus 5:22-7:25, Matthew 18:21-19:12
Psalm 23:1-6 and Proverbs 5:22-23
Forgiveness is a crucial and vital part of a believer's love walk. It's not an option. We have to forgive. At the same time, the offenders need to know that forgiveness is not a license for them to keep hurting others. It's crucial to understand that you can forgive a person and yet choose not to reconcile the relationship with the offender if he or she chooses not to change their abusive ways or if the trust has been severely damaged.
Forgiveness is the process of letting go of the anger or bitterness that you may feel and allowing God to fill your heart with love, mercy and compassion for the individual. Depending on the situation, mercy and compassion could be manifested in various ways. For instance, if a person has a remorseful spirit and repents from stealing from his place of work, you can show mercy by praying for the person and providing him or her with counseling resources. In another scenario, if the person continues to lie and refuse to be honest about stealing the money, mercy and compassion will pray that this person will repent and ask Jesus Christ to do the work in his or heart.
God requires us to forgive others, but He doesn't want us to be foolish. He clearly states that if a brother or sister refuses to repent after we confront them one on one, with a witness, and then to the church, we are to disown them as if they were a sinner (Mathew 18:15-17). So everyone will be held accountable for their actions. The one who offends, and the offended have a part to play: whether its forgiving, repenting, or both.
Because we all have made mistakes and need God's mercy, we must extend that grace and mercy to others. While we are extending mercy and forgiveness to others, God will give the same right back to us. The offenders receive the fruit of their seeds sown and can be forgiven by God if they repent. Forgiveness and repenting allows the offended and the offender to be free from negative emotions or behavior so that they can grow in the character of Christ.
Our Prayer: God give us a humble, caring spirit towards all mankind. Let us be quick to show love and mercy to others. Let us not be lackadaisical about how we treat our brothers and sisters. When we do fall short, let us be quick to sincerely ask for forgiveness and do what it takes to restore the relationship. If someone sins against us, let us first remember how much you've forgiven us for and let us have a pure heart to extend that same forgiveness to all. In Christ Jesus Name, amen.