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 (see 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 (see 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” (see 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 (see 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.”
© Copyright Joseph Prince, 2008–2019
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