Jesus and the Necessity of Forgiveness

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You must therefore be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. . . . For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

(Matthew 5:48-6:1, 14-15)

Forgiveness… It’s a touchy subject. And I don’t see how the above passages make forgiveness any easier. People do really stupid, hurtful things. They are abusive in thought word and deed. We find ourselves (if we are honest) crying to God, “Really God? How can You expect me to forgive that person? Don’t You know the pain that person has caused me?”

The answer is, of course He does. Our Father is aware of each and every thing we go through. He knows all of our hurts and distresses, our broken hearts and mental and physical abuses, all of our lies and deceits and abuses We are imperfect creatures whom our Father has called to perfection. Is this even possible?

Yes. I know what you are probably thinking. We are all sinners. No one is perfect except God. That’s true. But here’s the deal about forgiveness: It’s not about that evil, abusive, lying, adultering, wretched person who hurt you so badly. That person will receive her or his just reward some day. Forgiveness is about the one who forgives. After all, God is not perfect because we have forgiven Him. God is perfect because (therefore?) He forgives us.

Jesus is calling us, in this great sermon, to emulate God. No, we can never be God but we can be like Him. That takes forgiveness on our part. If you have been wronged by someone, what kind of thoughts do you have concerning that person? If you are like the rest of us, these thoughts are not altogether kind. But earlier in this sermon, Jesus told us:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgement.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement; whoever insults  his brother will be liable to the council; whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

 

Those are some strong words by the Son of God. Jesus is condemning anger, especially the sort that we hold on to. Obviously, if we are in that kind of state, we are hardly “perfect” and as we learned yesterday, this prevents us from approaching God. How then can we entreat our Father to forgive our sins?

The thing is that Jesus implores us to forgive our brothers (and sisters), not for their sakes, but for ours. How else may we be perfect as He is perfect?He did give His life so that we may be forgiven, after all. What better way, then, is there to emulate our Lord than by forgiving those who have hurt us, no matter how deeply. Impossible? With God, not at all. In fact I think forgiveness is necessary in order to be considered a child of God.

God Bless,

Christopher

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45 thoughts on “Jesus and the Necessity of Forgiveness

  1. Awesome post. Yes, I agree. Forgiveness is a necessity as we draw near to God. I truly feel that in our brokenness, with the depths of our wounds, that it is only possible to truly forgive with God’s Divine Presence in our lives. Some wounds are so deep that it is truly miraculous to reach that point to total forgiveness… but all things are possible with God. The thought just came to me like a that we have a choice… hold onto God and let Him help us reach our destiny with Him… or hold onto the past and be held back from God’s ultimate plan for our lives. I can tell you, that I much rather hold onto God for all the blessings that He has in store for me. And your posting just triggered an idea for my posting on Christian Blessings for today. Thanks for your support, my friend.

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      • Amen… I totally understand what you are saying. That level of forgiveness to forgive as Christ forgave his abusers is truly miraculous. only achievable through God and Divine revelation of something much better and much higher that this world will bring. I will be praying for you, my brother.

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  3. ….whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

    Yeah, this is forgiveness alright. Not!
    A doctrine claimed to be based on love but instilled by fear.
    Jesus is the man, that’s for sure.Egotistical, definitely moody and possibly mentally unstable.(manic, perhaps)

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  4. Pingback: The benefits of religion ? | A Tale Unfolds

      • (I’ll answer here as well. I don’t mind where we have the conversation, here or on Arks thread)
        So I’m guessing Yhwh, and i’m further assuming the Pentateuch, correct? Are you aware the majority of Jewish Rabbi’s today admit the Pentateuch is historical fiction; a myth?

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          • Jews, Christians and Muslims all believe in the same god, the god of Abraham: Yhwh.
            Or are you doubting this?
            It’s OK if you believe in another god, that’s cool, just tell me which one.

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              • Why is it so difficult to tell me where you’ve heard of this god? It would seem to me to be a rather easy question to answer…. I mean, if you believe in something then you’ve surely heard of it, correct? All I’m asking is for you to tell me which god you believe in, and where you’ve heard of it.

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              • “God” is a generic term, a noun. There are tens of thousands of gods. Are you talking about the single omnipotent creator god, Olódùmarè, of the Yoruba people?
                You seemed to say you DON’T believe in Yhwh, so I’m just asking, which god is it, and where have you heard of this god? I really don’t think that’s asking too much, do you?

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              • In the beginning, God…

                Now like I said on Ark’s blog you and I both know that you don’t really want any answers tonight and are not ready to hear the Truth. Read your Bible. Read this blog. Read other blogs. Then I will be here to help you and will answer your serious questions as they arise. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you tonight. God Bless.

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              • We’ll leave it here, but it’s funny you bring up the word, “truth.” Rabbi’s are being “truthful” by admitting the Pentateuch (the only source for the Christian god) is myth. Shouldn’t Christians also be “truthful”?

                Take care, Chris. I do only wish you the best.

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              • Don’t forget the Gospels. And I think you are misrepresenting the opinions of the rabbis. There is a big difference between saying that something is a myth and that it is not true. I, for instance have no problem saying that Genesis 1 is a creation story and technically a myth. That doesn’t mean that I think it’s not true. I’m also not a young earther,

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              • John,
                God does not have a name. He is. The Bible refers to God in many ways and He is given many titles but when Moses asks for a name He says, ” I Am”. This is referenced by Jesus in John’s Gospel and He is condemned for equating Home to God. In other words, Jesus’ contemporaries understood Moses to be foundational to their faith and that this description of God was obvious.
                Now, whether one believes that Moses was an historical figure or not, he still had and has a lasting impact on the Judeo/Christian faith.

                For the sake of argument, let’s assume that Moses is not, in fact an historical personage. I submit that this is immaterial. For at least two reasons. Firstly, He has had, like I said, a foundational impact on two preeminent world faiths. Which leads to the second point, He is more real than all but a few uncontested world changers. After all, Napoleon was right, I think, when he espoused the idea that legends are more real than proven facts (a paraphrase, of course)

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              • Hi Chris. I do agree with you; stories can indeed be, and often are, far more powerful than non-fiction. Aesop’s fables are a great example of wisdom contained in tales, and even though Washington never actually said “I cannot lie” in the famed story of his youth, it’s the meaning behind that fictional event which resonates, and serves as an example. That’s the beauty of us humans and the giant image processing, sequencing and storage plant sitting above our eyes: we can imagine the ideal and bring it to life inside a narrative. We can aspire to greatness because we can imagine what it would look like.

                The problem here is, of course, many people believe the events detailed in the Tanakh actually happened. They believe a god did in fact guide Abraham and later Moses. They believe it intervened in events and left a message. This simply never happened. The god of the Tanakh is a literary invention; a creative anthropological solution to certain (era-specific) cultural problems. I think the easiest way to demonstrate this is the fact that this god didn’t materialise independently in mainland Europe, emerge unassisted on the British Isles, or rouse a single word across the entire Far East. It inspired no one in any of the 30,000 islands of the South Pacific, energised nothing across the African continent, stirred naught in North America, and didn’t move anything or anyone in Central or South America. No one across the vast Indian Great Plains or Russian steppes ever heard of it. No Azorean fisherman suddenly spoke of it, no Scandinavian shipwright carved its name in a stone, no Japanese mother ever thought she’d heard it speak in whispered tones, and no Australian aborigine ever dreamed of it. Outside the pages of the bible there is positively nothing in the natural or anthropological landscape which might even remotely lead a person blissfully ignorant of the claims made in bible to suspect that that particular Middle Eastern god has ever inspired anything except the imaginations of a few linguistically specific Iron Age Canaanite hill tribes looking to add a little supernatural spice to their otherwise perfectly terrestrial lives.

                This, however, is not to say that all these people didn’t arrived at their own concepts of a supernatural; they did. Ancestor cults, animism, totemism, pantheism, polytheism, monotheism are all expressions of the same human need to answer certain (unanswerable) questions and, perhaps ultimately, alleviate fear. It’s the problem of having such a powerful brain: we can see our own mortality… and that’s horrible. Genesis is an attempt to package this horror which rides on our shoulders (whispering in our ear) and give it meaning. It’s an attempt to “manage” the terror, and that is a noble thing; a cultural artifact that should be admired.

                Listen, if you want to take this conversation off your blog then by all means send me an email and we can continue privately. I’d like that, plus you wouldn’t be so exposed, which I do appreciate might present a certain discomfort for you: johnzande@gmail.com

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              • I just may do that, John. Not to avoid exposure, but simply because it is off topic.

                What I will say is that an apparent lack of physical evidence does not warrant wholesale rejection of what Christians call the Old Testament. Scientists hold to evolution with less evidence, after all. Nor does it preclude the existence of said God. Though I maintain that the Bible study more historically accurate than liberal revisionists would like, it’s purpose of to describe God and His relationship with humankind, not to present the precise history of that region as a modern history book might do. And even so, history belongs to the victors and ought to always be read with a certain amount of scepticism. That point being that revisionists’ biases do not alter the validity of Scripture or God whom it reveals. Wait 10 or 20 years and this latest attempt to discredit Scripture will, more than likely be all but forgotten and will have given way to yet another attempt to do so. Scripture will still be standing.

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              • I most certainly do. Not that I reject scientific enquiry, or that series of adaptations have occurred within species. But the presumption that one species evolved into a new species takes a far greater leap of faith than believing that the Old Testament is rooted in actual history.

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