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Forgiveness and Forgiving

Do you want to decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure? Try something different today - Forgive. Try it. You might like it. And your heart will thank you for it (spiritually and emotionally)!

Ask people what they want most out life and you will often get the answer "to be happy". The search for so-called happiness has left many with broken hearts and unhappier than before because mankind's greatest need is not happiness but forgiveness. How many relationships would still be intact and how many wars would not have been fought if forgiveness had been extended? The world would be a totally different place.

Divine Forgiveness for Believers

When Jesus died on the Cross, He the sinless one bore our sin. He took the punishment for that sin (Isaiah 53:5) and also became a perfect sacrifice or sin-offering (Isaiah 53:10) to make available God's forgiveness for our sin and to pave the way for a restored relationship with Him. That's why we often read (e.g. in 1 John 1:7) about the blood of Jesus cleansing us from sin.

When we ask Jesus to be our Saviour and Lord of our lives, we immediately receive all the benefit of what Jesus has done and are welcomed into His eternal family. But we find that because of our sinful nature we keep sinning. We therefore need to keep saying sorry to God and asking Him to help us to live more and more in a holy way. Every time we keep on sinning we spoil the relationship with our Lord and need to ask His forgiveness.

Human Forgiveness

As people who have been freely forgiven by Jesus, we are expected in turn to be forgivers of others. Someone may say 'Why should we: they don't deserve it!' But that is to miss the point that none of us deserves to be forgiven by God in the first place: our forgiveness is His free gift (Romans 6:23). In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus taught us to ask for forgiveness of our sins in the same measure as we forgive the sins of others. In Matthew 6:14-15 He makes it plain that we don't have an option about forgiving others: we have to do it, again and again if necessary (Matthew 18:21-22).

An unforgiving spirit leads to bitterness, anger, and resentment. A heart with such an attitude cannot have true fellowship with God. But as we come to realize just how much we rely on God's forgiveness, we shall grow into better forgivers ourselves – and we and the people around us will be better for it!

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