For few days we will be looking at the power of forgiveness – the answer to bitterness
I start with a personal revelation whilst watching World Without End by Ken Follet. In the last episode there is a scene where the wicked Petranilla (who had killed many for the sake of ambition) was in a room with the heroine, Caris. Petranilla had killed Caris’ mother, father, best friend and tried to burn Caris at the stake. When Petranilla realises all her evil plans had turned against her she takes some poison to kill herself and Caris has her chance for revenge. I found myself seething with anger at this venomous character and wanted Caris to make her move. Caris, however, turns to her enemy looks her in the eye and says “I forgive you” and then starts praying for her. I was moved to tears and thought “so this is what it looks like to be truly powerful”.
Here are some key thoughts on how to be powerful in forgiveness.
• God recognises that we have been treated badly
‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.’ Genesis 50:17
• He sees our tears
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8
• Forgiveness always costs
They are to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the wrong they have committed unintentionally, and they will be forgiven. Leviticus 5:18
• We are not to forget the sacrifice God made for us to be forgiven
“who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”, Psalm 103:2-4
“I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” Hebrews 8:12
• God forgives as we forgive
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15
• Forgiveness is as powerful as a healing
Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? Mark 2:9
• God wants us to forgive others much as we have been forgiven much
Read the parable of the unforgiving servant – Matthew 18:21
Today: think about the the attitude of heart that Jesus encourages where one person freely forgives another (Matthew 18:22). This is what a powerful person looks like in action.