Forgive to be Forgiven
The word ‘Forgive’ means to pardon or overlook an offense. To offer someone ‘Forgiveness’ means we are willing to put it behind us and move on. It does not mean we have to accept unacceptable behavior. It does not mean unacceptable behavior should go unpunished. As humans we are all sinners in need of forgiveness before we can enter God’s kingdom in heaven.
John 8:7 (NIV)
7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Even the highest have sinned and require forgiveness. God’s kingdom is open to all. But only those who have truly forgiven and repented for their sins and asked for forgiveness will be allowed to enter. Not one person there was without sin. They were quick to judge and condemn her sin. They were slow to recognize their own sin and mercy God may have shown to them.
In Exodus God lays out how people are to be dealt with when they sin against others or harm others. He also commands justice for the less fortunate and the consequences for taking advantage of them.
Exodus 22:22-24 NIV
22 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.
God shows us in Exodus how he wants us to treat others and the consequences to those who disobey his commands. He has given us free will to choose whether we want to follow his law. Today the punishment for crimes is decided by judges here on earth as laid out by the people elected to create the laws. I don’t feel this goes against what is in Exodus, but we must recognize that God is the final judge and like Him our judges must be compassionate.
Exodus 22:26-27 NIV
26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, 27 because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.
I honestly believe our God is a loving and caring God and he is also a God of justice. Jesus walked on the earth frequently communicating with his father (our father). Jesus looked for guidance from God and offered compassion to mankind. Jesus was like us made of flesh and tempted by evil but was without sin and yet he paid the ultimate price. Jesus knew that we needed to be forgiven before we could go to heaven. Jesus knew that God would look down upon those who were allowing this to happen and that they would be judged by him for their crimes.
Luke 23:34-39 (NIV)
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” 38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews. 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
Jesus was without sin and yet he was asking for forgiveness. He could have saved himself and yet he chose to ask God to forgive those who were doing this to him. Jesus had nothing to be forgiven for, but he still forgave those who charged and crucified him. I think it speaks volumes about the importance of forgiving others. We have all sinned, how can we possibly expect to be judged and forgiven by God if we do not forgive those we judge.
The woman that was about to be stoned was likely guilty of the charges but those charging her were not without sin. Those who judged Jesus were not without sin. Both were being judged by human standards.
Jesus has placed the ball in our court and we must now follow through and forgive so that we may be forgiven.
Matthew 6:14-15 NIV
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Clear your mind and soul, forgive those who have trespassed against you so you can ask our father in heaven to forgive your trespasses.