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Forgive and Forget

Each of us has been wronged by someone. It is inevitable in this world that wrong will be done to us. No one is perfect and no one expects perfection from you. No matter what the offense, it is your ultimate reaction to that wrong that affects you. Human nature, or the sin nature in us, seems to like to hold onto that feeling of ill-will toward a person that wrongs us, and we allow it to simmer beneath our outward display of indifference. Allowing this to occur is not only unhealthy to you physically, but it has greater implications on matters of the spiritual heart.

The Bible admonishes us to forgive, and to do so as many times as necessary. The result of ignoring this principle is that when we sin against others or ourselves or God, when we seek forgiveness, it will not be granted. Obviously, since sin is not permitted in heaven, this basic truth has eternal significance.

The Bible also speaks of unforgivable sins. The clearest of these has already been mentioned. Refusal to forgive someone denies you the access to your individual forgiveness. The other mention of "unforgivable" or "unpardonable" sin is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit of Jesus Christ. I have always thought that this meant to make fun of the Holy Spirit, or mock the act of speaking in tongues, or say that the miracle of the Holy Ghost infilling was of the devil. These are indeed vile things and would be considered disrespectful and offensive to God and His people, but I do believe that these offenses are forgivable.

May I suggest that blasphemy of the Holy Ghost and refusal to forgive someone of their wrong-doings are one and the same? I can think of no more significant a way to erase the work of Christ at Calvary than to refuse to grant forgiveness to someone. This is one of the reasons He gave Himself to offer us salvation. He wanted to bear that sin and allow us to have an advocate with Him whereby if we sin we can get forgiveness, personally. Before the cross, sins were taken to God by the priests and rolled ahead for a year through blood sacrifice. Because of Jesus, we can now enter into His holy place as individuals and seek His forgiveness for ourselves. It is our duty to forgive others. To truly blaspheme the Holy Spirit and take away the work of His regeneration in man would be to deny forgiveness to our fellow man.

Granting forgiveness a sinner that comes to our churches does not seem to be an issue to the common Christian. We love to see them come to our house of worship and find God and His mercy. For some reason, however, it is a flaw in us that we find it difficult to forgive a fellow Christian for wrong-doings. Finding Christ and wanting to live the Christ life does in no way make a person perfect, nor does it place them in a place that is immune to failure. We do our best to live as Christ, but when you take away the pretty sanctuary and divine organ-playing, we are still humanity in need of more of Him. So, could blasphemy of the Holy Ghost be even more specific and suggest that refusal to forgive a brother makes you commit unpardonable sin? That fellow Christian may have the Holy Ghost living in them with fruit as evidence. To not forgive them, or to offend them by not forgiving them, in other words, would, in a way, seem like a logical way to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could forgive our fellow brothers and sisters in the family of God as easily as we welcome a sinner into our arms as a church? Judgment of others is not within our hand. We cannot say the destiny of those around us. None of us knows the truest existence of those around us. God has a relationship with those people. Who are we to lay them to waste by our harsh tongue and quick judgments. These are the people of God. As we welcome new recruits so eagerly, we misfire and kill our own, leaving them in a deep trench of shameful guilt.

Forgiveness lies within our own will and power. It is a choice we make. The Bible is clear that we should do it. Make it easy on yourself and just do it. Forgiveness does so many things for you and those around you. It is a gift that has great reward when given. Forgiveness removes that grudge from inside you. It frees the other person from their error. God rewards your act of forgiveness with His own forgiveness to you - the most valuable gift. There is indescribable release for you and the recipient when forgiveness is granted. Refusal to forgive is blasphemes against God. It destroys His sacrificial work on the cross. Forgiveness is something that comes up everyday. Surely you seek it from others everyday, and when you pray you seek it from God. Grant it as easily to all of those around you as easily as you expect it to be granted to you.