By Pastor Sam Adeyemi | Matthew 6 verse 12
Jesus gave His disciples a prayer outline in Matthew 6 and then, He immediately emphasised the prayer point that dealt with forgiveness. He stated that if we forgive others their trespasses, God will forgive us our own trespasses but if we fail to forgive others then our own sins are also retained. In essence, the fulfilment of every other segment of the prayer hangs on our willingness, or otherwise, to forgive others. We all stand at the intersection of our vertical relationship with God and the horizontal relationships with other people. So, it is impossible to divorce our relationship with God from our relationship with other people (1John 4:20). God wants us to prioritise forgiveness. After Jesus cursed a fig tree, He gave a powerful lecture on faith and He immediately tied it up to the issue of forgiveness (Mark 11:22-25).
To forgive is to “grant pardon, to absolve, to cease to feel resentment or to write off a debt or a liability”. Forgiveness is important as it helps us to press the reset button on broken relationships and fellowship. In the Old Testament, the year of Jubilee occurred every fifty years; debts were forgiven and slaves were set free. Each day provides us an opportunity to start afresh. Sometimes, forgiveness is easy but at other times, forgiveness is hard. If we have never been in a situation where forgiveness is difficult, we do not understand why the offended party is finding it hard to get over the betrayal or the hurt that the memory brings. Joseph was someone who experienced deep betrayal. His ten older brothers insulted him daily, then they sold him to strangers and he ultimately ended up in Potiphar’s house as a slave. The brothers went back to tell their father he was dead. They told the lie so often it became their truth. It looked like Joseph’s life continued downhill because Potiphar’s wife lied against him and he landed in jail. There was no way he would analyse his life in Egypt and it would not lead to his brothers’ betrayal. The way Joseph handled the matter is a beautiful story of forgiveness. Another case of betrayal was when Tamar, David’s daughter, was raped by her half-brother, Amnon. Her direct brother, Absalom could not forgive Amnon and so, he avenged his sister’s honour by killing Amnon during a banquet he hosted.
The pain of being hurt is real and sometimes we do not know how to get over the pain but one reason why we must forgive is because God said so; it is a commandment. He has forgiven us. Sometimes, holding a grudge feels good because it gives you a feeling of control over the offender. Remember that not forgiving is a sin. It is not always easy but however hurt you may be, remember the God factor. Bringing God’s perspective into his situation helped Joseph to get over his brothers’ betrayal (Genesis 45:4-8). Always leave justice to God. Life requires the right interpretation (Ecclesiastes 8:1). People act to the best of their knowledge per time. Apart from Satan, our greatest distraction is other people. Jesus did not get distracted by the wickedness of the people when He was on the cross. In your pain, put your focus on God because He is the only One who can heal that pain.