The text right there broke me the day I saw it. From thence I have decided to forgive and let go of grudges. Before he breathed his last, Stephen asked the Lord to forgive his killers. Let us learn from today to forgive, it is for our own good.
Most often than not we find it very difficult to forgive others when they wrong us. Yes! It is very difficult to forgive someone who hurt you badly or probably someone broke your heart after trusting them. But the actual truth is that the pain of the hurt and betrayed can only be relieved by forgiveness.
Apostle Peter once asked Jesus how many times he should forgive those who offend him. Jesus’ answer will stun you;
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! (Matthew 18:21-22, NLT)
Jesus asked Peter to forgive that brother who sins against him seventy times seven times. What Christ is teaching Peter and all of us is that we must forgive effortlessly. Dr. Kenneth E. Hagin puts it this way “Be quick to repent and quick to forgive and you’ll never be far from God.” In the good man’s opinion, forgiveness draws men closer to God, which however is indubitably true.
In His teaching on prayer, Jesus added these very words “…and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us…” (Matthew 6:12 NLT) Anytime we forgive others our heart heals and our soul is refreshed. God himself forgives us as we forgive others. In our simple forgiveness we build a love relationship with our Lord.
Let us quickly consider an individual who understood forgiveness. His name is Joseph. His brothers hated him and sold him to strangers. He went through torture, betrayal, slavery and imprisonment. Yet he was able to forgive his brethren.
“Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt. (Genesis 45:4-8 NLT)
I am not saying that he found it easy to forgive. Joseph like all of us had his own struggles but to forgive was not much of that struggle. He even forgave Potiphar’s wife. It was not mentioned anywhere that he imprisoned her after he become governor.
Another inspiration we need to help us forgive is from our father David, the young wilderness shepherd boy. King Saul pursued his life to a point that he could have become murderous after several attempted murders on his life. He even had advice from people to kill King Saul. Killing the King would have given him his peace of mind but he would have dismissed the peace of God from upon his life. He rather chose to forgive his offenders. (Read 1 Samuel 24:1-15)
Let me repeat myself that forgiveness is invigorating. I do not know how much you have been hurt or how the love of your life has broken your heart. In your grief and endless contemplating, I would like you consider Stephen. He was stoned to death for his faith. See this text below and try to imagine how ridiculous it is;
As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.(Acts 7:59-60, NLT)
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