The Importance of Forgiveness
Lack of forgiveness blocks access to the kingdom and to miracle power.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-24).
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15).
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt” (Matthew 18:21-25).
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25).
The first person you probably have not forgiven is yourself. More people have a lack of forgiveness toward themselves than toward anybody else. They are unwilling to forgive themselves and to recognize that God says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). If you are a believer, He has already cleansed your conscience from dead works so that you might serve the living God. God cleanses us for service in order to not leave us with the guilt of past sin. That should be dead, buried, and forgotten.
People must forgive all who need forgiveness. If the first person to forgive is yourself, you need to say, “God, before You, I forgive myself. Whatever I have done, I accept Your forgiveness, and I forgive me.” That’s a very simple but profound statement, because as long as we feel that we are under condemnation, we will never have faith to see miracles.
“If our heart does not condemn us,” the Bible says, “we have confidence toward God” (1 John 3:21). Obviously, we cannot have continuing sin in our lives and expect forgiveness. We have to be free from ongoing conscious sin and rebellion against God. But if we are walking in the light, and walking in forgiveness, then the blood of Jesus Christ is continuously cleansing us from all sin (see 1 John 1:7).
Are You Blaming God?
The second person we have to “forgive,” if we have bitterness, is God Himself. There are people who blame God because a child died, because a husband ran away, because they have been sick, because they have not had enough money. Consciously or unconsciously they think all of these things are God’s fault. There is deep-seated resentment; yet you cannot be resentful toward God and experience miracles. You have to rid yourself of any bitterness toward God. That may take some soul-searching. You must ask yourself, Am I blaming God for my situation?
Forgive Those Closest to You
The third person you may have to forgive is a member of your family. I spoke to one woman in an Asian country, and I asked, “Do you have any resentment against anybody?” She said, “No.” I said, “What about your husband?” She said, “Oh, well, I resent him, but I don’t think he counts.”
You have to get rid of resentment, especially toward those closest to you. The husbands, the wives, the children, and the parents – all must be forgiven when slights and resentments have built up in family situations. Many people say, “Well, I didn’t think that counted. I thought that was just a family matter.” All lack of forgiveness has to be eliminated, especially toward every family member.
Forgive Anyone Who Hurt You
Finally, there has to be forgiveness for anybody else who has ever done anything against you. It may be that your resentment is justified. The person may have done a very evil, terrible thing to you. You may have every legal and intellectual right to hold a grudge and to hate that person. But if you want to see miracles in your life, it is absolutely imperative that you forgive.
Forgiveness Cleanses You
Forgive them to the point where you actually feel yourself cleansed of resentment and bitterness and are actually praying for them. If you do not, the lack of forgiveness will make it impossible for God to forgive you. Every miracle depends 100 percent on your relationship to God the Father. That relationship is built strictly on the strength of His forgiveness of your sin.
Forgiveness is the key. Other sins can be present, and if your heart condemns you for something else, then of course, you do not have confidence before God. But it is lack of forgiveness that most often comes between people and God.