But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins
Last week I was talking about forgiveness with some friends and mentioned how helpful I had found RT Kendall's book, Total Forgiveness. This is something RT has preached on for many years, using the illustration from Joseph's life. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers but was able to come to the point where he said, "God meant it for good". Most of us may not have such awful things to forgive, but harbouring grudges and witholding forgiveness for smaller offences is just as important to God and if we don't work towards forgiveness in every area in our lives then our relationship with Him will be greatly spoiled.
RT Kendall gives some important pointers in his wonderful book:
- Make the deliberate and irrevocable choice not to tell anybody what they did. (This of course excepts the need to tell someone in the case of something serious or when we need to talk to someone for our own need for healing).
- Be pleasant to them should you be around them.
- If conversation ensues, say that which would set them free from guilt.
- Let them feel good about themselves.
- Protect them from their greatest fear (this may be the revelation of what they did).
- Keep it up today, tomorrow, this year and next.
- Pray for them.
There is much to said and discussed here of course, and it is no easy thing, but the words of Jesus are clear and stark. I for one do not wish to stand before him unable to receive His forgiveness because I have refused to forgive someone else, and I pray for grace and revelation where I need it. Let's humbly ask the Spirit to reveal our hearts to us, and when He shows us someone or a situation that needs attention, also the grace to accept the truth and set them free as He enables us.
Corrie Ten Boom always emphasised the truth that we cannot forgive alone. It is His forgiveness flowing through us that enables us to achieve it. She proved in her life that when we are willing and obedient, then He will provide the means and the power.
Listen to RT Kendall's talk