July 28, 2015


FORGIVE? YES! BUT, BEWARE OF EASY 'FORGIVISM'! Couple this Old Testament verse with this N. T. Verse (see below) ... and think about it. Face to face we are to confront wrong and, if the sin is confessed, we forgive..... This is the 'horizontal' aspect of forgiveness. It takes times, sometimes a long time. On the other hand, a 'vertical' facet of forgiveness is always immediate when we give a wrong to God and let Him handle it, as did Jesus on the cross. He asked His Father to forgive His tormentors for they didn't what they were doing. But, both aspects of forgiveness must be practiced lest sin go unchecked. It's easy to say, "Oh, I forgive you" and then go our merry ways, but leaving a problem or offence ignored which will most probably later haunt the relationship. 

"He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
Than he who flatters with the tongue." - Prov. 28:23

"Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him." Luke 17:3

And so, it works this way: I'm offended. At once, I talk to my heavenly Father and give the matter to Him. I release the offense to God (put it in His hands) and, because of Calvary, I know He is immediately concerned in that that sin has already been dealt with at the cross of Jesus. God saw His Son pay for that sin. I give it to God knowing He knows all about it and will deal with that person and the wrong done in His own wise ways. This at once frees my heart of ill-will, any spirit of revenge and any lingering animosity. From my perspective the "air is cleared" of negativity. Again, this is the vertical aspect of forgiveness.

Next, comes the horizontal. Matthew 18 as well as the above verses instruct me to "go" to my brother or sister and confront. This is hard to do but since God has given the instruction to do so, He will be my strength. In any such confrontation I am assured God is present and will also be doing what He alone can do. This is the context of the phrase "where two or three have gathered in My name, I am there in their midst" (Matthew 18:20). He will be at work in the hearts of all concerned and can bring reconciliation, and, horizontal forgiveness. I call this 'face to face' forgiveness. 

Both facets of forgiveness must be enacted if the forgiveness is to be authentic and complete. The Scriptures are clear!