A Forgiving Heart

A Letter of importance for today; forgiveness is a must and must become the attitude in and for Prayer. Our daily “attitude” toward God and man is to walk worthy of Christ in all that we do “forgiving one another”. As Paul directed these words to the church in Colossians, so I direct these same words to the church of today … pursue intimacy, grow in spiritual understanding, and walk worthy of Christ.

Are we measuring our walk with the Lord? As we go through this letter let’s ask ourselves these questions:

  • Am I becoming more like Christ?
  • Am I growing more patient, or more quick-tempered?
  • Am I growing more kind and gentle, or more mean and argumentative?
  • Am I growing tenderer and forgiving, or bitterer, holding onto grudges?
  • Do I “bear with others”?
  • Do I put up with the weaknesses and faults of those near to me, or do I have to be always right?IN THIS WORLD TODAY the real question is… Are you becoming more loving, patient, forgiving, and forbearing?

As we examine our own lives let’s be determined to allow the work of the Holy Spirit through faith in God’s Word to do this work in us. Yes, read His Word, study His Word and apply His Word. Walking in Christ is to become a more Christ-like person.

Through the difficulties in life; our suffering, our afflictions and our severe testing in our everyday living, is designed to bring us to a place of dependency on God and His love. One of two things will happen; you’ll either quit praying and trusting, or you’ll cast all your cares and future on him.

“A Forgiving Heart “is a very important component in the life of the pray-er. There is a connection between a forgiving heart and prayer?

Jesus makes this perfectly clear in Matthew and Mark:

  • Matthew 6:14 (NLT) “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
  • Mark 11:25 (NLT) But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

Yes, unforgiveness will hinder the move of God’s power in our prayers. A forgiving attitude is an attitude of love. Do you give loved ones the “silent treatment”? Have you determined to love family and friends with the love of Christ, unconditionally with a forgiving heart?

Are you bitter or holding grudges against people who have offended you?

  • Colossians 3:13 (NLT) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

A forgiving attitude is a mark of one that is right with God. As we set our mind and heart on things above our attitude toward God and man begins to change. It should be my desire, as Paul stated “that I may know Him.”

Forgiving others will bring us closer to God and is a very important factor in answered prayer.

  • 1 John 1:9 (NLT) But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

How often do we forgive a person? Jesus uses God’s perfect number, seven, and emphasizes that we are to forgive seventy times seven (490) times for an offence. Jesus brings us to the understanding that we are to keep on forgiving, always forgiving, constantly forgiving.

  • Matthew 18:21 – 22 (NLT) Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
  • Luke 17:3 (NLT) So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive.
  • Matthew 5:23 – 24 (NLT) “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”

Christianity is all about relationships. A relationship with God must always come first and this relationship with God can ONLY come as we forgive others. A right relationship with God is of the utmost importance when it comes to prayer and communication with God.

Our prayers seem empty and our communication with God will be blocked when there is unforgiveness in our lives toward others. Unforgiveness in our hearts blocks our ability to love and love is the very foundation of all our relationships as Christians. As we have seen throughout this lesson, Jesus stresses forgiveness as a very important component in the life of the Pray-er.

Unforgiveness can also smother our faith in prayer and that of receiving all that we need.

  • Matthew 6:33 (NLT) Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
  • Galatians 5:6 (NLT) For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.
  • Ephesians 4:32 (NLT) Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Jesus was and is the prime example of a life filled with forgiveness, a life filled with love in which we as Christians are to be imitators of God and his Son, Jesus. This means we must be forgiving toward others even when they wrong us.

  • Ephesians 5:2 (NLT) Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
  • Matthew 6:12 (NLT) and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.

Forbearing and forgiving are attitudes of the heart and also are actions that we take toward others.

  • Forgiving is that of letting go all feelings of resentment. Yes, to pardon, to relieve and even overlook the sins of others and forgetting.
  • Forbearance is an attitude of the heart in which the person never seeks gratification of feelings of resentment and it does not seek to demand vengeance.

This implies the control of oneself when provoked. Paul makes this very clear in

  • 1 Peter 2:19- 23 (NLT) “For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good & endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”

Prayer is the very cure to healing the spirit, soul and body. When praying with a right heart, an attitude of love; it releases’ healing in both parties for it is impossible to continue to hate someone we are praying for. This is why Jesus said in Matthew to pray for those who hurt us, attack us or come against us.

  • Matthew 5:44 (NLT) But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
  • Romans 12:21 (NLT) Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Praying with a forgiving heart opens the way for God to soften our hearts and enables us to let forgiveness flow into us…out and through us…to others.

Love in Christ Jesus,
Paul

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