Jesus Christ is a perfect example on forgiveness. The Bible in 1 Peter 2:21 – 23 tells us that Jesus Christ is an example to follow in all He did. Indeed Jesus demonstrated how Christians should live and forgiveness is no exception. Forgiveness is one scarce quality that we are all called to have.
There are countless examples of situations that we may think are not worth forgiving to the offenders. I discussed a similar topic with a friend recently and he revealed serious instances that the victim may find himself or herself justified not to forgive. I’m sure you can think of instances where you or someone you know did not forgive and you thought it was right to do so.
- On this day, my friend told me of one virgin girl that was raped by 10 men at once. He says the lady could not forgive God for her predicament. She backslid and turned away from Christianity from this sad experience.
- On 22nd March 2015, a Christian radio programme hosted a live show where one widow called in to express her discomfort from a neighbour who always falsely accused her of cheating with her husband.
- A Widow, 92, that was ‘robbed of £500k by carers,
- the wife whose husband was killed after the couple was forced off road, robbed and husband stabbed to death,
- parents to the Ugandan child that was abused by the maid Jolly Tumuhiirwe,
- victims to Boko Haram, Osama Bin Laden, Sadam Husain, Muammar Gadhafi, etc.
All the affected individuals and groups as listed above are expected by Jesus and God to forgive.
The Meaning of Forgiveness
According to the WikiPedia, Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
The world may define forgiveness differently from how Jesus or the Bible defines it. In fact, Jesus puts forgiveness as a condition of life when He taught on how Christians ought to pray. The world may not be very lenient when one offender keeps doing one and the same offence. On the contrary, Jesus advises that you must forgive an offender seven times seventy times (Matthew 18:22).
In Luke 11: 4, Jesus teaches that prayer for God’s forgiveness is a culture that Christians should have.
“And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us”.
This verse does not necessarily mean that if you are not forgiving He will not forgive as but it assumes the culture lives on amongst Christians.
Jesus is tried on Forgiveness
1 Peter 2:23 tells us that when Jesus was reviled or hated, He did not do the same in return, when He suffered, He did not threaten but committed Himself to God who judges righteously. In Matthew 27, the scenario of his reviles and suffering is detailed.
Verse 29, ‘When thy had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it in His head, and a reed in His right hand. …they mocked Him,…
Verse 30, ‘they spat on Him, ..and struck Him on the head’.
Verse 31, ‘…they led Him away to be crucified
In Luke 23: 34, we hear Jesus proclaiming words of forgiveness to all the people that reviled Him.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Jesus is praying for these people because He already has forgiven them Himself. He had taught that for God to forgive, we should have forgiven first. In other words, if you are going to mention the word ‘Forgive’ when you pray to God, you must have forgiven yourself.
This is surely a lesson to all of us who want to follow Christ, ‘we must forgive unconditionally’. Jesus did not give a condition for forgiving someone. You will have done yourself a great favour starting to forgive right away. You may not on your own but you need to pray to God for help. It often is not easy thinking of the sad things people do unto you, but even then, God call for you to forgive so that He can also forgive you.