Forgive Offenders

Where this command is found:

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Matthew 18:21-22

Right now, the United States national debt is over $34.5 trillion dollars. To put this into perspective, if each person living in the United States were required to help pay off this debt, everyone no matter what age or status would owe close to $103,000! You may be thinking to yourself, “that would be absolutely impossible!”

Well, there is actually an even greater debt that not only American citizens have incurred, but every living human being on earth…the debt of sin! Just like it would be practically impossible for every person living in the US to pay $103,000, the Word of God tells us that no amount of goodness or righteousness on our part is sufficient for us to be forgiven for our sins (Isaiah 64:6). However, through Jesus’ atoning work on the Cross, He paid for this incomprehensible debt that we owed.

In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus commands us to forgive our offenders. The Word “forgive” is actually a financial term denoting the release of a debt. Immediately following these verses Jesus gives a story on forgiveness. In this story we see clearly that realizing how much we have been forgiven is essential in being able to fully forgive our offenders. Just like we were forgiven even though we couldn’t have paid off the debt we owed, in the same way Christ is commanding us to forgive our offenders without reservation or condition.

When we consider this command we are struck with the fact that in our own strength we do not have the power to truly forgive. Only Christ living in and through us can empower us to fulfill this command. At this point you may be wondering, “how is it possible to receive Christ’s heart for us to forgive?” One way is by allowing God’s Word to transform our old way of thinking through meditating upon this command and on how much God has forgiven us.

The more we saturate our minds with this reality, the more we will become a free flowing channel through which the love and forgiveness of Jesus can flow! By allowing the Word of God to renew our minds in this way, we will begin to see that forgiving our offenders is not just a one time action, it is a lifestyle. It is daily living in the light of the undeserved forgiveness that Christ has given us and extending that forgiveness to those who have hurt us.

In 2 Corinthians 5:19-20, Paul gives us a glimpse of the “bigger picture” of what God wants to accomplish through believers in the area of forgiveness and reconciliation,“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Part of the purpose of this command is that when we forgive we are showcasing the reality that Jesus has forgiven us and that He offers forgiveness to anyone who chooses to believe in Him.

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Forgive Offenders: Part 1

Can you imagine the burden of a 4 billion dollar debt? Then imagine the feeling you would have you if you were told the whole amount had been forgiven.


Forgive Offenders: Part 2

When Jesus says we must forgive “seventy times seven,” He was referring to an infinite number! If we grit our teeth and try to forgive in our own strength, we will see how impossible this is.


Forgive Offenders: Part 3

When we choose to withhold forgiveness toward an offender, we actually give ground to the enemy in our lives. Bitterness allows the enemy to have an “advantage” over us.