Restoration Through Forgiveness – Part Two

Unforgiveness is a scheme of the enemy to cause discord among people and to trap them in a place where they cannot find peace to move on.

Unforgiveness is the Enemy’s Scheme

When addressing the Corinthian church regarding forgiveness, the Apostle Paul said,

“If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven – if there was anything to forgive – I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

2 Corinthians 2:10 & 11

Unforgiveness is a scheme of the enemy to cause discord among people and to trap them in a place where they cannot find peace to move on. That is why we must fight so hard to look for reasons to forgive, rather than looking for ways to avoid it. Those who refuse to forgive lock their own hearts in prison and hold themselves in a place of bondage. Even if we are not sure if there is anything to forgive – keep forgiving anyway!

When we choose to forgive and release others, we are then free to move on. We can place that other person into God’s hands, trusting God for their future, asking Him to heal and restore them, even if we don’t see it happen in our lifetime. When Jesus Christ appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He said,

“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven, if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

John 20:21 – 23

In saying this, Jesus was not giving His disciples a choice on whether or not to forgive. He was revealing the authority He was giving them to forgive – through the power of the Holy Spirit!

  • God does not ask us to do anything that He will not then enable us to do.
  • If God asks us to forgive from the heart, then it is possible, with His help, to do so.
  • We do not forgive in our own strength, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, Who abides within us.

Forgive, Even as Christ Forgave

Similarly, the Apostle Paul wrote to the faithful at Colosse, asking for this same letter in turn, to be shared with the church of the Laodiceans,

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Colossians 3:12 – 15

Again, the Apostle Paul wrote to the saints at Ephesus,

“And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:32

The word ‘even’ or, ‘even as‘ in both sets of Scriptures above is ‘kathos’ in the Greek; which can be translated, ‘just as, even as, in proportion as, or in the degree that.’ – See Strong’s Concordance. In other words, we are instructed to forgive others, in the same way and to exactly the same extent, degree or proportion that Christ has forgiven us!

  • These letters were written by the Apostle Paul to the Christian believers or followers of Christ, instructing them, even as Christ did, that they must forgive one another.

You Must Believe in Order to Receive

The Lord said to King Solomon,

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

This is a Scripture we can believe in! The Lord also gives this promise through the Prophet Isaiah, saying,

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.”

Isaiah 1:18 & 19

The Apostle John, also gives us this promise from God concerning our repentance from sin, including the sin of unforgiveness towards others,

“If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:7- 9

Our Forgiveness Comes at a Cost

The Apostle Paul reminds us of the cost Christ paid to forgive our sin.

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.”

Colossians 2: 13 & 14
  • Christ forgave us all our sins – He held nothing back.
  • Christ forgave when we were still undeserving.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:6 – 8

Will you be like Christ and consider the cost?

Forgiveness and Physical Healing

After Jesus healed the man at the pool of Bethesda, He told him, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you;” perhaps indicating his need to keep free from sin in order to maintain his health and healing – See John 5:14. In the story of the paralytic man, whom Jesus healed after his friends had lowered him through the ceiling; Jesus proclaimed beforehand, “Your sins are forgiven.”

“Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith He said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

Matthew 9:2 See also Mark 2:5

Then Jesus began to address the Scribes who had previously doubted Him,

“Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins – then He said to the paralytic, ‘Get up, take your mat and go home.’ And the man got up and went home.”

Matthew 9:5 – 7
  • With Christ, healing and forgiveness are connected.
  • He still does these same two things, for many people, on the earth today.

It is exactly the same for us today. Many times, that simple act of obedience in forgiving others, brings healing, not just to the other person, but it can heal us emotionally and physically as well – even when the hurt has been great. Because unforgiveness can manifest itself emotionally and physically in our lives; causing anxiety, depression and many physical ailments, much emotional and physical healing can also take place, as a direct result of us having made that choice to forgive. The enemy then loses all legal access and the ability to hold us, in that place of physical and mental torment.

  • Forgiveness is a restorer of relationships as well as a restorer of health.

A Personal Testimony of Healing

Some years ago, a person released cursing words over my life in a very hurtful way, and some time later I began to experience difficulty with my eyesight. A cloudiness appeared in the centre of my vision, beginning with my left eye. This became progressively worse over time, extending to my right eye also. Because of its progressive nature I went to see the optician, who diagnosed me with a fairly rare, early onset of cataracts.

However, some months prior to this change in my vision, a visiting prophet had prayed for me. And whilst praying, he had described, without knowing it, the specific details about the circumstance that had occurred, even to the type of relationships involved. There was no way He could have known these details except by the Spirit of God. He then began to openly declare over me, that nothing any Dr. says, or what any other person says, makes any difference; but that it is only what God says that counts. This was immediately brought back to my remembrance as soon as I heard the optician’s diagnosis. Because of the specifics in the details that this prophet had given, I knew that God was involved; therefore I chose to believe God’s words over the words of the optician and I remained unalarmed as a result.

Some time after this, a second hurtful experience occurred. But this time, I immediately sought God’s help in how I should respond. He began to show me the wrong ways I had responded in the past and how I had allowed anger to rise in my heart. He taught me to reject those wrong ways and not to go over the experience again in my mind, or to try to justify myself. God showed me this only led to torment, which had manifested itself as a heavy knot in my stomach. So I began to reject the wrong ways I had responded in the past, and the knot in my stomach immediately left. I then forgave and released the other person, and was able to immediately move on with peace in my heart as a result.

A Burden Shared is a Burden Halved – Our Testimony is Important

A while later, I began to tell a friend what God had done for me and the new way I had learnt to respond. As I was speaking, she saw a bright light appear off to the side of my head which I could not see. But as I left my friend to drive back home, I noticed that the vision in my left eye had suddenly cleared. The next day, I happened to read an article that had a general prayer of forgiveness at the end. And as I prayed that prayer of forgiveness out loud, my right eye cleared.

I believe God deliberately healed my vision in two stages following the testimony of my mouth, because He wanted to show me that my healing had come as a direct result of me having forgiven. Although this person did not ask for my forgiveness and did not acknowledge to me that what they had done was wrong; neither did they know I had forgiven them – I forgave anyway and I was healed as a result!

I later returned to my optician, who could no longer find any sign of cataracts, and has not been able to do so since. I was also able to share with her, the testimony of why I believed my eyesight had been restored.

Take on the Nature of Christ

If we are believers in Christ, we need to take on the same nature as Christ and have the same heart attitude as Christ. The Apostle Paul instructed the church at Philippi.

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like – minded (with Christ), having the same love (as Christ), being one in spirit and purpose (as Christ). Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

Philippians 2:1 – 8

Christ’s heart is for forgiveness. He denied Himself and went to the cross, putting our needs first. When we repented and asked Him to forgive us, Christ forgave us, even though we had been spiritually blind. Christ forgave us without limit – for all that we had ever done wrong. He forgave us when we were undeserving and He now asks us to do the same for others.

The Power of Forgiveness

It is Christ’s heart of love, kindness and compassion, and His continual desire to see people healed and restored through forgiveness, that causes people to want to follow Him. In the same way, it is our heart of love and compassion and caring for others in those very same ways, that draws others to Christ through us.

The One Who Has Been Forgiven Much Loves Much

When Jesus was visiting a Pharisee’s home, a woman who had lived a sinful life stood weeping behind Jesus’ feet. She wet His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Jesus, knowing what the Pharisee was thinking about the woman, said to the Pharisee,

“Two men owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he cancelled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt cancelled.’ ‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said.”

Luke 7:41 – 43

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little. Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.”

Luke 7:47 – 48

“Jesus said to the woman, ‘your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 7:50
  • Both forgiveness and healing flow from the Father heart of God.
  • Forgiveness is an expression of God’s love for us, and of our love for others.
  • God’s desire is that all should repent and be made whole in every way – that should be our desire also.
  • Forgiveness is a heart attitude.
  • Christ has enabled us through the power of the Holy Spirit to forgive one-another from our hearts!
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If you would like to have a relationship with God through accepting His Son Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, please pray the prayer below.

Dear Heavenly Father. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. I am sorry for the sins I have committed and I ask You to forgive me. I now turn away from all the things that I know to be wrong and I receive Your Holy Spirit and Your gift of eternal life. Thank You for this free gift of Salvation and eternal life. Help me to come to know and experience Your love for me more and more, and to now share the love You have given me with others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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What next: Once we have started our relationship with Christ – it is important that we continue to grow in our understanding of Him, and experience His love for us on a regular basis. God does this for us as we read the Bible, which I encourage you to do on a regular basis, asking the Holy Spirit to help you understand it and make it “come alive” to you in a very personal way. May I encourage you to do this every day, and to actively pursue those things that God reveals to you. We also need to be spending time with other like-minded Christians on a regular basis, who are also growing in their relationship with God. We gain encouragement from being with other growing believers. Ask God to lead you to a Bible-believing church (or Bible-believing Christian group) that will encourage your relationship with Christ and help to meet your needs. Ask Him, and trust that He will guide you to the place of fellowship that is right for you.

May God both work in you and through you, those things that He desires, as you continue to submit your life to Him each day.