Mat 18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
Mat 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Mat 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Mat 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Mat 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Unforgiveness is such a serious crime against Grace that the Word of God says that if we do not forgive, neither will God forgive us! Christians, hear what the Lord is saying here. It is not His will that any one should perish, and for this reason He has given us warnings through His Word and His Holy Spirit as to this Narrow Way in which we walk. Jesus Christ is the Narrow Way, so we know that it’s only by Him and His finished work of the Cross that we can enter into the Holy of Holies in heaven and there ‘ever be with the Lord.” What is the work of the Cross that Jesus finished? And how does forgiveness play a part in my life as a believer in Christ?
First of all, by His Grace, and with your indulgence, I would like to give you my personal testimony of how God wrought His Word on forgiveness in my heart. It is only through tears that I say these things, because this is the day of ‘the love of many shall wax cold.’ But the Christian must be the light in this present evil world and we must not only pray for our enemies, but love them and in fact, reach out our hand to them in love and forgiveness, because that is what Jesus did when He reached out His arms on the Cross. He made us who were once ‘afar off’ to be brought nigh by His surrendering to God’s will with nails.
I had once not long ago, a great distress and bitterness in my heart from all the years of wounds and unforgiveness of one particular person. I had clung to these in love, not knowing that the wounds and bitterness were what Jesus was trying to heal me of and set me free from. One day as the Lord was continually dealing with me that I needed to forgive this person, I sat on my bed, crying over the anguish of having to let go of this pain. I thought that it was the pain of the wounds, but in fact it was self, crying over the death of self. It would be almost funny if it wasn’t so scary. As I sat there arguing with the Lord as to how I wanted to forgive, but couldn’t, when all of a sudden in my room, I felt the presence of an angel, and I knew by the Holy Spirit this angel was there with a sword in his hand to kill me if I did not surrender to the Word of God.
For weeks God had been dealing with my heart over this issue, and by His Holy Spirit, He had directed me to this scripture in Matthew 18. I did not understand the ramifications of this, and naively forgetting that God is no respecter of persons, I continued to struggle. Fast forward to this particular day—I realized that also in this room was Satan. I began to rebuke the devil in Jesus’ Name and nothing happened. The enemy was allowed to argue with me, and I found that I had no power against him. Satan is very powerful and the Lord allowed me to see this. The temptation was so great and my strength so small, that all I could do was put my hand on my Bible that was lying next to me and say, “I trust Your Word God”. At that moment, after what seemed to be a long time and the power of the devil breathing down my neck to destroy me, it was all gone and the peace of God flooded my heart and the room. The danger was gone and the Lord showed me in very clear detail the price of unforgiveness.
Can we be so shallow as to forget that God in Heaven had to send His only Begotten Son to die for us so that we might have life and have it more abundantly? Yes, we can all be that shallow. I look back on this incident and marvel at the wickedness of my own heart, in that the Lord showed me that I truly did not want to forgive, and the Grace of Almighty God in that all I had to do was to surrender to His Word and He would do the work that needed to be done. I can’t forgive in my own self, but “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”
God’s Grace truly is sufficient for me and for all who would come and be set free from wounds and bitterness. We must forgive brethren. Much trouble is upon us and though we love our country, we shall be delivered up to be afflicted. Some already are and some have died in other lands far away. Do not think that it could never happen here, because the German people thought this and they were wrong. I pray that it does not for the sake of the weaker brothers and sisters, and my own family, but the Lord warned us that in this world we will have tribulation, but Christ said, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
I am reminded of Bro. Richard Wurmbrand and the brethren in the Gulags. When an enemy that had persecuted them fell out of favor, (Communists kill and imprison political enemies) they would be sent to the same prison that they had so heartedly condemned others to. There were many who wished to torment these men, but the Christian prisoners would protect them with their bodies and would give their ration of bread to these men. This was a great sacrifice because they were only given putrid food and one slice of bread a day. This was their tithe to God, in the hopes that showing the love of Christ to these men who had shouted such blasphemies and persecuted the church would be won. They loved their souls more than their lives for the Glory of Christ.
What have we sacrificed for the Lord in this way? One man, I can’t remember his name, was a very high official, who died not long after he entered the gulag, but he went home to be with Jesus. Jesus died for our enemies just as much as for us. Were we not all enemies of God at one time? Can we with pride say that God will not forgive such a one? If God cannot forgive such a one, then how can He forgive you? We have all come nigh by the blood of Christ Jesus. This is the free gift of God’s Grace to ‘whosoever will.’ Shall we exclude those by our unforgiveness? Then will God include us and smile upon our sin? NO! God forbid. Then we would become like Hophni and Phinehas who by their wickedness kept the people from coming to God to give the sacrifices and offerings due to God. Will we bar the way with unforgiveness, thereby scattering or shall we surrender to Christ Jesus and gather with Him?
God be praised!