When Others Won’t Forgive
Forgetting those things which are behind . . . I press toward the goal. —Philippians 3:13-14
I was having lunch with two men who had opened their lives to Christ while they were in prison. The younger man had been discouraged by the fact that the family from whom he had stolen would not forgive him.
“My crime was violent,” the older man said. “It continues to haunt and affect the family to this day. They have not forgiven me, . . . the pain is just too great. At first, I found myself paralyzed by this longing for their forgiveness.” He continued his story: “Then one day I realized I was adding selfishness to my brokenness. It’s a lot to expect that the family forgive me. I was focused on what I felt I needed to heal from my past. It took some time to realize that their forgiveness of me was a matter between them and God.”
“How can you stand it?” the younger man asked.
The older man explained that God did for him what he didn’t deserve and what others simply can’t do: He died for our sins, and He keeps His promise to move our sins “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12) and “will not remember [our] sins” (Isa. 43:25).
In the face of such great love, we honor Him by accepting His forgiveness as sufficient. We must forget what lies behind and keep pressing forward (Phil. 3:13-14).
Thank You, Father, for the work of Christ on the
cross. Help me to understand and accept what
it means for me, and to be a messenger of that
forgiveness to those I meet along the way.
The work of Christ is sufficient for every sin.
Paul often uses the metaphor of an athlete running a race to depict the Christian life (1 Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 2:16; 2 Tim. 4:7). In today’s passage, he compares himself to someone running a long-distance race. Paul had probably been a Christian for about 30 years when he wrote this letter; he was known as the apostle to the Gentiles (Eph. 3:8; Gal. 2:8) and as a teacher of the Scriptures. He could have been content with his own spiritual maturity, but he did not consider himself as having “already reached perfection” (v.12 nlt). Instead, Paul persisted in pursuing Christlikeness (v.10) with the determination and vigor of a runner whose single goal is to be the first to cross the finish line.
Bible in a Year:
Exodus 7-8; Matthew 15:1-20
Today I am reading day 314 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Forgiveness Is For The Undeserving
Matthew 18:21 21Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Peter asked the Lord how often he should forgive his brother. The Lord’s answer to him was simple: Up to 70 times seven times. (Matthew 18:22) In other words, all the time!
“Well, Pastor Prince, he does not deserve my forgiveness.”
Neither did you deserve God’s forgiveness.
There is not a single person alive or dead who did not break all 10 of God’s commandments. There is no such thing as a “partial sinner” or “great sinner”. All of us were great sinners when Jesus saved us. And when we realize that we are forgiven much, we will love much. (Luke 7:47)
“Pastor Prince, how can you say that I have broken all of God’s commandments? I have never committed adultery.”
My friend, Jesus said, “If you lust after a woman in your heart, you have already committed adultery with her.” (Matthew 5:28) That is God’s standard. Man looks outward, but God looks inward at the heart. Moreover, if you break one law, you are guilty of all. (James 2:10) So everyone has broken all of God’s commandments. Everyone is a great sinner.
Now, you are no longer a sinner if you have received Christ as your Savior. You are a new creation. But you were a great sinner and God forgave you your huge debt through the death of His Son.
So if someone has wronged you, tell yourself this: “I did not deserve God’s forgiveness, but He forgave me through Christ. So I forgive this person also.” If you say something like, “He does not deserve it,” it makes no sense. Forgiveness is not for people who deserve it. If they deserve anything, it is punishment. But forgiveness means that you extend grace — undeserved favor — like how God extends undeserved favor to you.
Beloved, if you choose to hold on to bitterness, no one suffers but you. You lose your peace, then possibly your health. It is just not worth it. God says to you, “Let go. Forgive them their debts, just as I have forgiven you yours.”
Thought For The Day
When we realize that we are forgiven much, we will love much.
Today I am reading day 300 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Forgive And Let God Do The Rest
Ephesians 4:32 32And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
People like to say, “I can forgive, but I cannot forget.” Have you heard that before? Now, in the first place, nowhere in the Bible does God tell you to forgive and then to forget. It is not in the Bible! The devil is adding something here to make the whole thing burdensome.
God only tells us to forgive because God in Christ has forgiven us a debt we cannot pay. When we do this, we do ourselves a favor because harboring bitterness and unforgiveness can sometimes destroy our health!
So just forgive and let God take care of the rest. When you really forgive, sometimes, He makes you forget. But sometimes, you still remember the incident because it was a major thing in your life. Yet, when you look back at it, the pain is no more there. The sting is gone and you are not bitter.
Joseph had forgiven his brothers before they came and bowed before him. He remembered what they did to him, but he did not remember it with bitterness. (Genesis 50:15–21) So you may remember the incident, but the bitterness is gone because you have put the cross in the picture — “God in Christ forgave me. Daddy, I forgive you. Mama, I forgive you. My cousin, I forgive you.”
When you forgive, forgive by faith, not by your feelings. We walk by faith, not feelings. (2 Corinthians 5:7) Some people are waiting for feelings — “I am waiting, Father, for the right emotion to come on me to forgive that person.” That “right emotion” may never come!
No, forgive by faith, and do it once and for all. Spend time in prayer. Take out your diary and write it down: “Father, I bring this person before you. You know what he did to me. Father, as You forgave me through Jesus’ cross, even though I did not deserve it, by faith, I now forgive this person and I let my anger against him go in Jesus’ name. Amen!”
Once you forgive by faith, you will see the sting of bitterness removed from your heart. You will experience the peace and joy of God filling your mind, and see a greater measure of wholeness in your body!
Thought For The Day
When we forgive others, we free ourselves from bitterness and unforgiveness that can destroy our health!
Today I am reading day 146 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Let It Go!
Exodus 15:26 26… I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”
After crossing the Red Sea, the children of Israel came to a place called Marah. The waters there were bitter. That is why the place was called Marah, which means “bitter”. The Israelites could not drink any of the water, so the Lord made the bitter waters sweet. (Exodus 15:23–25) Then, He brought up the subject of the diseases of Egypt and, for the first time, revealed Himself to His people as “the Lord who heals you”.
Why did the Lord suddenly mention the diseases of the world (Egypt represents the world in the Bible) at a place called “bitter”? What do diseases have to do with bitter waters? I believe that it is because He wants His people to know that a major cause of diseases in their bodies is harboring bitterness and resentment!
Some years ago, a lady shared with me about her sister who had died of cancer at a young age. She said, “Pastor Prince, a number of years before she passed on, she went through a very bitter divorce. She was very bitter toward her ex-husband.” Then, she asked me, “Is there a relationship between her bitterness and the cancer?”
I have studied the subject of healing for many years. I have read many books. I have listened to many sermons and I have sat under many healing ministries. And they all say the same thing: If you have unforgiveness in your heart long enough, that unforgiveness can sometimes translate into a disease in your body.
So if you have been bitter about something or someone, it is time to let it go! Your health, joy and life are more important. If you are already sick and you know that bitterness has something to do with it, let it go! See Jesus as your healer. He is standing at your place of bitterness today and He is saying to you, “My child, I can make your bitter waters sweet. I am the Lord who heals you.”
My friend, let it all go and let Jesus heal not just your diseases, but your broken heart too!
Thought For The Day
Harboring bitterness and resentment is just not worth your health, joy and life.
Today I am reading day 100 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Count On God’s Forgiveness
Hebrews 10:2 2… For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
What are you more conscious of today? Your sins or the fact that you have been forgiven? My friend, don’t be conscious of your sins. Be conscious instead of Jesus and His finished work. The Lamb of God has taken away all your sins at the cross, so count on the fact that you are a forgiven child of God!
No matter what has happened or what you have done, God wants you to know that because of His Son’s finished work, He will be merciful to your unrighteousness, and your sins and lawless deeds He will remember no more. (Hebrews 8:12)
That is why you should not be conscious of your sins. In fact, when you are sin-conscious, the devil brings in condemnation, and the more you receive it and condemn yourself, the more you will find yourself unforgiving toward yourself and even others.
I was told by a pastor friend that when a lady, who had cancer on her face, asked for prayer for healing, the Lord revealed to him that it was self-hatred that was keeping her from receiving her healing. She could not forgive herself and was full of self-condemnation.
When she realized her problem, she counted on the fact that God was merciful to her unrighteousness and that she was already forgiven. She received the love of God. Then, right before the pastor’s eyes, her whole face changed — she received her healing that very moment!
Something happens when you believe that you are forgiven. That is why God says to you, “I want you to believe that all your sins I will remember no more. I want you to believe that you are My child enjoying My mercy and that you can always count on My forgiveness.”
Beloved, remember that all your sins have already been paid for by Jesus on the cross. And the more you count on the fact that you have the Father’s forgiveness and that He does not condemn you because of Jesus’ finished work, the more sin and its effects — sickness, hatred, lack and so on — will lose their grip on you. You will find yourself walking in a greater measure of God’s grace and blessings!
Thought For The Day
Count on the fact that you are a forgiven child of God.
Today I am reading day 3 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
God Remembers Your Sins No More
Hebrews 10:17 17… “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
I don’t know about you, but I would say that Hebrews 10:17 is good news. God sees all our sins — past, present and future — and says, “Your sins I remember no more!” The words “no more” are a strong double negative in the original Greek text. In other words, God is saying, “Your sins I will by no means ever remember!”
Has God lowered His standards? No, He is still perfectly holy. He did remember all our sins — 2,000 years ago at the cross. Every sin that we have committed or will commit has been punished to the full in the body of Jesus Christ at the cross. That is why today, God remembers our sins no more. We should, therefore, not be sin-conscious.
Each time we feel condemned for our past mistakes, God wants us to remember the cross and say, “Lord Jesus, you were sentenced for this sin I committed. You bore the judgment, so God will not judge me for this sin. You were condemned for this sin, so God will not condemn me for it.”
If you don’t look to the cross, you will become sin-conscious and you will walk around with a certain expectation of judgment. And that expectation of judgment will give the devil a chance to get you thinking that God has something against you because of your sin.
You must come to the place where you know and believe that all your sins are forgiven, that there is no sin that will ever disqualify you from God’s blessings, that you are saved eternally.
Hebrews 10:12, 14 says, “But this Man Jesus, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God… For by one offering He has perfected forever…”
You and I are perfected forever because of Jesus’ perfect work on the cross. We are perfected by God’s full acceptance and perfect delight in His Son’s work that has so glorified His holiness. Beloved, hear God say to you, “I will be merciful. Your sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Thought For The Day
Every sin that we have committed or will commit has been punished to the full in the body of Jesus Christ at the cross.
Today I am reading day 178 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
God Says You’re Forgivable
ISA 43:25 And yet, I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you.
EPH 1:4-5 Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose.
When something starts going wrong in your life, do you automatically think, “God’s getting even with me, I know it! I did that thing I’m ashamed of yesterday (or last year or twenty years ago) and now he’s settling the score.”
Does God really treat his children that way? Absolutely not! Isaiah says God doesn’t hold our sins against us. Once we’ve confessed our sins to him, it’s all forgiven and forgotten and he doesn’t even bring up the past.
If you’re a Christian, pay close attention to Ephesians 1:4-5: “Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children – this was his pleasure and purpose.” (TEV)
Do you realize that when God looks at you, he sees you through Jesus Christ? When Jesus died on the cross, he paid for all of your sins so you are forgiven and they are forgotten.
That’s why becoming a Christian is such GOOD NEWS. I give Jesus my life and he takes it, forgives me and then gives me a new chance. He says, “Now I see you without a single fault. You stand before me covered with my love.”
Today I am reading day 169 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Confident in God’s Forgiveness
PRO 4:25 Look straight ahead with honest confidence; don’t hang your head in shame.
ROM 3:23-24 everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence. But by the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free.
You don’t need to walk around carrying a load of guilt. The Apostle Paul says, “Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; yet now God declares us “not guilty’ of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.” (Romans 3:23-24 TLB)
God wants to forgive you. But we need to accept God’s forgiveness. We may know about God’s forgiveness intellectually, but to believe it, deep down inside, accepting, in faith, that it is true. Because it is!
And one thing that often blocks us from accepting forgiveness from God is that we are unable to forgive ourselves. You need to forgive yourself for your past failures and sins, for the habits and hang-ups that led you to sin. Forgive yourself!
God wants you to forgive yourself. He teaches us to – “Look straight ahead with honest confidence; don’t hang your head in shame.” (Proverbs 4:25 TEV)
Have you ever committed a sin and asked God to forgive you, and even though you know He’s forgiven you, you still feel lousy? What do you do in that situation? Do you go back and ask Him to forgive you again? Confess it again, over and over?
No. You only have to confess a sin one time and it’s forgiven. But you may have to forgive yourself a hundred times and say it over and over until it sinks in: “God has forgiven me. It’s over.”