Forgiveness is an important topic because other people so often hurt us. That is the nature of relationships because they deal with people. There are so many lessons in these situations for us! God is not silent about this, but rather He has told us a lot about love and how to live with each other in kindness. We need to love each other!
God desires fellowship with Himself; He offers Himself to us! But so many people choose to live away from Him. Even if you are someone who has received Jesus Christ as your Savior at some point in your life, you still might not be in full fellowship with God. Sin does that. Sin does move us away from walking in daily dependence with God.
Forgiveness is closely tied to this because forgiveness touches all areas of our lives! You cannot walk in fellowship with God if you refuse to forgive people. When you decide to hold grudges, gossip, hurt others it is directly opposed to God and pushes you away from fellowship with him to a place of isolation.
Forgiveness is needed for fellowship with God.
Forgiveness is a lifestyle
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.- Ephesians 4:29
Unwholesome talk literally means “rotten talk” sort of like road kill in the hot sun. No one would go down the road, pick up a rotting animal and serve it for dinner. It is dangerous to eat rotten meat. You will get sick. It says do not let this rotten talk come out of your mouth.
When you go to the zoo they have an important rule: “Do not let animals out and do not let people in with them.” Remember when the lady jumped in to the Polar Bear exhibit a few years back? That didn’t end well. You see, the goal is to set up boundaries so that people stay out and the bears stay in. Do not let the bears out is really wise advice.
That’s the picture here. Do not let those rotten words to come out of your mouth. Instead you should let words that are helpful for building people up.
This is more than just saying curse words too. This means other things as well that destroy relationships
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. – Ephesians 4:31
It says to get rid of these things. Take them outside, pour gas on them and light them on fire because these things destroy fellowship with God. But the difference is in verse 32 of Ephesians 4.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
Be kind, Be compassionate – why? Because Jesus Christ is those things and He lives in you by His Spirit.
In Matthew 6 we have what is referred to as the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus told His disciples that when they prayed, they should include certain things including forgiveness.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors. – Mathews 6:12
Debts are obligations. What are our debts to God? Sin! Because the wages for sin is death. We deserve death because of our sin, but God forgives us because of Jesus Christ.
So then it says, forgive us our debts as, or in the same way, that we forgive our debtors.
We forgive other people because God forgives us. Except we aren’t very good at it. But see forgiveness is not something we normally do, it is a lifestyle that needs to be constantly worked through in prayer so that it is lived out.
What sin must we forgive? Are there limits? No, we are to forgive it all and let God be the judge.
When we practice this we show God’s work in us because God true and good. Forgiveness is freedom and forgiveness is where God blesses. It is what He did for us and what we are to do for others.
People will hurt you. You will hurt other people. At times this will happen intentionally and at other times not. But we must not get hung up on it, but extend love, grace, forgiveness. If we don’t we are running from God.