Is it Possible to Forgive Someone that has Never Asked to be Forgiven?
Does God really want us to forgive everyone? Is there ever a reason to withhold forgiveness?
Surely, He can't literally expect us to forgive anyone and everyone.
And there must be somethings that are so egregious that we are not expected to forgive, right?
I mean there are some really awful people out there.
Terrible people that have done some unspeakable things.
There must be a clause for refusing forgiveness to them.
Let's take a look:
What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you."
Reflect on that for a moment,
How many times have you disappointed God? How many times have you wronged him? Taken him for granted? Sinned against him? Gone against his word after promising you'd never do it again? Continued in sin without repenting? Convinced yourself that "fill in the blank" is okay, knowing deep in your heart that it wasn't?
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling convicted. And humbled.
How gracious has he been to forgive you?
How much mercy has he provided at times when you haven't asked for it or deserved it?
How many times has he pursued you and welcomed you back home?
Is it possible that if we are harboring unforgiveness, a quick reflection of gratitude for the forgiveness we've received could heal us of that resentment?
If we're being honest, holding onto unforgiveness is really just pride.
We're saying that we are more deserving of grace than whoever has harmed us.
That we can be thankful that God has forgiven us, but that we don't have to extend that same grace.
That sounds kinda crazy, doesn't it?
"And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
"Anything against anyone."
Does that really mean we must forgive everything and everyone?
Simply put, yes, it really does.
That does not, however, mean that God is not understanding or unwilling to help us forgive.
The most inspirational stories we see on the news are often times family members that have forgiven the people that have murdered their loved one.
How many times do they declare that it is only through Christ Jesus that they are able to not only forgive the person that took the life of their family member, but that they also pray that he/she would come to know Christ.
If that's not evidence that God will help you forgive no matter what the circumstance, I don't know what is.
Next time you are struggling with resentment or unforgiveness go watch some of those videos.
Then pray that God would provide you that same compassion, love, and ability to forgive.
If we are unable to find the compassion to forgive out of the goodness of our hearts, then is it possible that we will do so out of obedience?
Clearly, forgiveness is important to God.
He wouldn't set such a high stipulation if it wasn't.
Speaking from personal experience there have been times that I have forgiven for this reason alone.
I didn't want to forgive. Everything in my flesh told me not to, but I replayed this verse over and over in my head.
The truth is. We all fall short of his glory.
None of us are deserving of forgiveness.
Not even on our best day.
So who am I to harbor resentment?
Just remember, forgiveness does not mean free-reign.
We don't have to keep getting burned to realize we should stop going into the fire.
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you."
Most of us don't think of ourselves as having enemies, but is it possible you have someone in your life that you don't particularly like?
A gossiping coworker or a person that always monopolizes the AA meeting.
Or maybe you do have an enemy. A true enemy. Someone that you absolutely despise.
Someone that has harmed you in such a way that you can't even stand to hear their name.
That's the person God wants you to pray for. That's the person God wants you to love.
That's the person God wants you to do something kind for.
Love often times looks like forgiveness.
Maybe it just means writing them a letter letting them know that you've forgiven them.
Or maybe it's writing a letter that you never actually send.
Whatever it looks like for you is between you and God.
But this command is clear.
Will you be obedient?
"And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Have you repented of your sins and asked God to forgive you?
Sometimes we struggle to forgive others because we haven't received forgiveness from God ourselves.
The only reason we haven't received it is because we haven't asked.
God will forgive all those who ask. He died for our sins and the sins of all humanity, past, present, and sins not even yet committed.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God is just waiting for you to repent and turn to him.
Will you accept his invitation today?
If you enjoyed today's message tell someone about
Your Praying Friend, but most importantly, tell everyone about Jesus!
Until Next Time,
Your Praying Friend
Substance Abuse Counselor