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For many it is weak and foolish to forgive.  Indeed, one of the greatest hindrances in the lives of all people is forgiveness.  This is a problem not exclusive to ‘Christians.’  It is just that for those of us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ, the covenant we have with God is the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins.

Just as a reminder, every descendant of Noah has the Covenant of Life with God – the promise that God will not destroy all life on the Earth with water.  In a way, the water baptism of John is a reaffirmation of this covenant, that we are the descendants of Noah who survived the flood because of faith.  It is also a reminder for the Jews of their Covenant of Deliverance with the Lord when Moses parted the waters, and a re-enactment of the parting of the waters of the Jordan for Joshua when Israel began to take the promised land and attain their nationhood.  That is why John the Baptist is the Elijah who was to come.  He was to restore all things to Israel, even a king, except they did not want Him, our Lord Jesus.  Deliverance, nationhood and kingdom – John did restore all things.

However, in all the other covenants God made with a man, there was no provision for the forgiveness of sins, except for the covenant He made with Jesus Christ.

So, why is forgiveness shrewd?  Why is it so important that Jesus warned us, His disciples, that unless we forgive our brothers who sinned against us from the heart, the Father will not forgive us?  Forgiveness can bring and restore love and peace, even harmony.  However, what is the shrewdness of forgiveness?

It lays in one of the earliest commands that Jesus gave to His disciples.  After He taught and commanded that we are to forgive those who sinned against us in Matthew 6, He commanded in Matthew 7.12, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”  See that He said, “…in everything…” not just something.  That means in forgiveness as well… just as we want to be forgiven, then we are to also forgive those who sinned against us.  Why is this shrewd?

For as we forgive the sins of those who sinned against us, we are wiping out the judgement and the condemnation that should be due to them for their sins.  And since as we forgive so we are forgiven, then the judgement and the condemnation due to us for our sins are also wiped out.  Since a man reaps what he sows and we are rewarded according to what we have done, then the forgiveness of the sins of those who have sinned against us means that the punishment of our sins is likewise wiped out.  For as we forgive, we are forgiven.  If we do not judge, we are not judged.  If we do not condemn, we are not condemned.  That leaves then only the righteous acts, not the sinful acts, to receive a reward for.  Therein lays the shrewdness of forgiveness.

In forgiving those who have sinned against you, you ensure that you yourself will harvest only the judgement for your righteous acts and their rewards, for your sinful acts have likewise been forgiven.  In this way you can ensure that the harvest from your sowing yields only the reward and not the punishment.

So, if you still have a problem with forgiving those who have sinned against you, exercise some self love.  Forgive because you deserve it.

Hr. Ed, manager of the Holy Spirit’s Workshop

Copyright Information:  NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION [NIV]  All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®,
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