Radical Forgiveness- Forgive and forget. Micah 7:19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Hebrews 10:16-17 This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. Then he adds Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. How different is this from the human concept of forgiveness?
Forgiveness is not about the forgiven one “getting away with anything”. I don’t forgive for the benefit of the other guy. I forgive for my own benefit. As Neale Walsch said, You can never know God until you see him in the face of your enemy. Christ said to love your enemies. Why? Because to do less will bring us great pain. God is all about radical forgiveness, unfathomable love. If we are to know and appreciate this God, we must recognize that the forgiveness of others is essential to our own spiritual well-being and joy. Thoughts of retribution and cries for justice seem natural enough but like many things that seem right, these thoughts ultimately work to bring us inward pain. James 2: 13 Mercy rejoiceth against judgment. If you want to rejoice, practice mercy. The more we blame others, the more we bring focus on our own shortcomings and failures, the more guilt we feel knowing that in many ways we are no different from the one we blame. Remember Romans 2 where God condemns the Jew for judging the Gentile for doing the same things he himself does.
To know completely is to forgive perfectly. To me, this explains how the mind of God works to accomplish his marvelous forgiveness. God knows every circumstance of mind, body, and soul. He understands our shortcomings.
Author Marianne Williamson in her book, The Gift of Change- “Whichever focus we choose- on someone’s innocence or on their guilt- determines the drama that unfolds in our lives and the part that we play in it” (Page 132). “An attack thought is like a sword we think we’re dropping on someone else’s head, when in fact it’s dropping on our own” (Page 133).
Every sin against a fellowman is a sin against God because God knows and feels every unloving act or thought. God’s forgiveness is in proportion to his awareness of sin, which is immense. Luke 7:41-43 Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he cancelled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more? Simon replied, I suppose the one who had the bigger debt cancelled. You have judged correctly Jesus said. God forgave those who murdered his son. In reality we are all to blame for Christ’s sacrifice. Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God forgave before we were even aware that we needed forgiveness. Was God’s forgiveness a lesson to us about the pathway to happiness and joy, the way back to God’s presence? What was that lesson as taught by Jesus? What is sin but the working of the human mind or ego that puts self above others and thereby inflicts pain on the sinner as well as the one sinned against. Sin is as much a wrong against the heart and soul of the sinner as it is against the one wronged. Most sins are sins of attitude and heart that are not even discernible by other than the sinner. In those cases only the sinner can really be affected. His soul is lessened because of a failure to love while the soul of the sinned against one is probably unaware even of the hateful thought or covert deed. Who is destroying whom? The sinner is destroying himself in trying to bring about his own concept of “justice”.
Sermon on the Mount- Matthew 5-7.
5:21-22 To have angry thoughts, to consider murdering someone is as bad as actually murdering. All have committed this sin.
5:27-28 To look lustfully is the same as adultery. All have committed this sin.
5:43-44 Love your enemies. Who has responded to this command?
6:12 Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. On this basis how much forgiveness do we deserve?
7:1 Judge not that ye be not judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged. What do our judgments say about the judgments we can expect?
Acts 2: 36 Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified both Lord and Christ. Acts 3:17 Now. Brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. God’s forgiveness was big and awesome. It was an object lesson for all mankind on the power of forgiveness in our own lives. To be God-like, to be loving, requires an exercise in God-like forgiveness. This is radical forgiveness. It is like many things spiritual; it is counter-intuitive. Luke 9:24 For whosoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whosoever loses his life for me will save it. It does not seem right or necessarily make sense to our egotistical mind. But then ask yourself this question- Does God’ forgiveness make sense to our human mind. Would we be satisfied if God was only able to forgive as we have generally done? What hope of our own forgiveness can we have if God forgave in a way that was intuitively correct to our minds, which have been conditioned by long exposure to the concept of lawkeeping. If God’s forgiveness is radically great, then I can have confidence that my sins and shortcomings will never separate me from God. We need radical forgiveness, each and every one of us. God is great in power, yes, but this greatness in power pales in comparison to his greatness in love, mercy, and forgiveness. Praise God for his counterintuitive greatness.