Forgiveness is not one of the moral virtues that we can learn, practice and develop over time, nor is it a good deed we do to others. Rather, it is a grace we receive from the Lord and then choose to give it to our offenders. How we receive it has something to do with our spiritual perspective.
My family once was destitute and homeless because of the regime change in the nation where I was born and grew up in. The new regime confiscated our possessions and home and we literally lost everything in one day including peace, identity and relationships. For several years, my family scattered and hid in various places living in fear lest we be caught and sent to a desolate place dying of hunger. For the longest time I hated the new regime. It was not until I perceived in the spirit how I had received the Father’s forgiveness was I able to gradually let go of my pain, releasing forgiveness to the regime.
Each time we see or think of the people who have offended us or have been indebted to us, it is natural that our hearts stir up discomfort or even anger. This is the very moment that we need to perceive in the spirit an imagery of ourselves where we’re begging the Father for mercy and forgiveness of our own sin (see Matthew 18:23-35). We must be able to see how miserable, helpless and unworthy we are, begging and crying to the Father for His release of our indebtedness until we hear the Father’s loving voice, saying, “My poor child, I’m forgiving you. As far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your transgressions from you.” (Ps. 103:12). When you perceive this spiritual reality, your heart will get closely connected with the Father’s, and be overwhelmed by His compassion and great love. Only then will you be able to turn to those who have offended you and release forgiveness to them. Remember, you must perceive this in the spirit over and over again to completely cut off the root of unforgiveness!
Matthew 18:23-35 also reveals to us that people without forgiveness do not belong to the Heavenly Kingdom and they are still under the bondages of bitterness, self-righteousness, self-justification and keeping records of others’ wrongs. People without forgiveness are far away from freedom as they are binding themselves!
- Have you tried to forgive a person or the regime, who has deeply damaged your reputation, fortune or life, and yet a thought comes every now and then to convince you in believing that your offender had to do something to show his/her true repentance to earn 100% of your forgiveness?
- Does this thought come from God or from an accusing spirit? How do you discern it?
- Would you choose to release forgiveness whenever you can to stay put in God’s Kingdom?