Have you ever been called to forgive someone, but forgiving them is the last thing you want to do? Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. And forgiving when you don’t feel like it is perhaps even more important than when you do. Because forgiveness is a gift from God, to each and every one of us. And when Christ ascended, following His death and resurrection on the cross, He gave the power to forgive sins to us. His people.
And forgiving is what we’re called to do. We are called to forgive others just as our heavenly Father has forgiven us.
Want more proof that forgiveness is what we’re called to do- and it’s what’s best- no matter how we feel? Read on.
*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may receive a small commission, but you’ll get the opportunity to get a stellar product. Double win. Thanks!*
Forgiveness, Kris Vallotton
I wrote earlier today about having watched Kris Vallotton of Bethel’s latest YouTube video.
You can watch it HERE. Which I highly recommend. It’s 25 minutes of your life worth investing. Because in the video, Kris talks about the power of forgiveness.
And you can read about the first part of my response to that video HERE.
He gave a great example of forgiveness being like you’re an employee at GM. And the owner, manager, CEO comes in and says he’s giving everyone the power to forgive everyone’s debt who owes on their car. Can you imagine how great you would feel being able to tell everyone who calls in to make a payment, “Hey, you’ve been forgiven. No debt owed.”
Wow, right? That would be some really great power. To forgive all those car loans. Everyone that’s leasing a vehicle, making payments. You could forgive them. Every single one of them. You would feel AMAZING doing that. It would be the best kind of blessing, right?
Or. What if you were on the OTHER side of this? You’re the one that owed the debt.
Can you imagine GM calling you up and saying, “Hey, I know you still owe like $40,000 on your new Dodge Ram. But, my manager just gave me the ok. I’m forgiving that loan. You owe us NOTHING.”
Woah. You get a call like that, you’d be thrilled!
But better than being forgiven of a car loan. You’ve been forgiven of our sins.
Forgiven, Not Deserving
Christ died on the cross for every single one of us. He died for our sins. That debt has been paid.
Now. Notice in the above scenario with the car loans though, I never said that the employees could only forgive those who were deserving. I said they were given the ability to forgive everyone.
Same thing goes for Christ and the forgiveness God has so graciously given us. He didn’t give it to us because we were deserving.
In fact, NONE of us are deserving. None.
The Bible is crystal clear that the wages of sin is death. We are all deserving of a death on the cross like what Christ suffered. But because of God’s great mercy, we’ve been spared.
When Christ died on the cross, it doesn’t say He forgave only those who asked.
Didn’t say He forgave only those He thought deserved it.
God through Christ forgave who? The whole world. Everyone.
John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Spiritual Transactions by Faith
In the book of Romans, we’re told that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.
Romans 5:20 (NKJV) “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.”
That doesn’t mean that because we’ve been made right with Christ that we can keep on doing as we please. No. As Christians, we’re called to a higher standard than the world. We’re called not to sin.
That’s right. We’re called not to sin.
And personally, one of the greatest disservices the church has done in this era is to perpetuate this idea that we’re just sinners saved by grace.
We’re not just anything. If you’ve accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you’re no longer a sinner. If in Christ, you are a saint. And that’s not prideful. It’s truth.
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross means we’re now a new creation in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
The old self has been crucified with Him, on the cross. The new self is who we are now.
Galatians 2:20 (NIV) “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
We were saved by faith. By faith, we’re now saints.
Prophetic Acts and Spiritual Transactions
When we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths, that’s a spiritual transaction. We confess with our mouth. And our words have power. We believed by faith and we received the Holy Spirit into us.
Having spoken on spiritual transactions, things that occur spiritually that we don’t always see- such as receiving the Holy Spirit upon accepting Christ into our hearts. I wanted to speak on prophetic acts.
In the verse where we talk about being crucified with Christ. We died with Him. And rose with Him. And we’re now seated in the heavenlies. Yes, now, in the present.
Romans 6:8-11 (NIV) “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
And that’s a difficult concept to understand. But we are a spirit. In a body.
Ephesians 2:6 (NLT) “For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”
When we die, our physical body dies. But we live on. Who we really are, lives on and goes to heaven.
And the clearest prophetic act to illustrate the above verses is in baptism by water. A water baptism.
Prophetic Act of Water Baptism
Water baptism is an act of obedience. Even Jesus had John the Baptist baptize Him. And it was a prophetic act. A prophetic act is a physical act with a spiritual release.
You’re doing something physically, in the natural, that has spiritual ramifications. Spiritual release.
What we do not see is more real than what we do see.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
We go under the water. We died. When we came out of the water, we lived. And us living and rising with Christ means we are forgiven.
As in, we are now living a resurrection life.
Our sin nature died with Christ.
All sins are now forgiven. Christ died for me.
Now? I am no longer a sinner. I am a saint. Because Christ now lives in me.
The resurrection part of Jesus changed my nature. The old self is gone. The new creation is who I am now.
Prophetic Act of Communion
Another prophetic act we do is communion. Partaking of the blood and body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIV) “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
Proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes again. It’s a prophetic act, this taking of communion, that we do in remembrance of Christ and what He did on the cross.
The forgiveness He purchased for us, through His blood.
An excellent book on communion, by the way, is The Power of Communion, by Beni Johnson (also of Bethel).
Christ died AS me, FOR me, on the cross. And I rose with Him.
Meaning I am currently seated in heavenly places with Christ.
I live in resurrection power.
Forgiven So That I Can Forgive
I don’t HAVE to sin. I am a new creation is Christ. The old self has died.
Powerfully righteous and this spiritual transaction is permanent. Sinner to saint. God did it. Christ died FOR me.
He forgave all my past sins. All my current sins. And any I may commit in the future. The slate has been wiped clean. In Christ, I have been made righteous. Thus, sin no longer has power over me. I am righteous, I am holy, I am one of the redeemed. Thanks to Christ’s sacrifice.
Jesus died FOR EVERYONE. For the entire WORLD.
Forgiveness restored the standard. And having been forgiven and made righteous, I now know sin is not ok.
Means I cannot lie and follow Jesus. I cannot steal, and follow Jesus. I cannot have two masters. Sin is a master. But having died to sin, I now have a new master. Christ.
And the power of the cross gave me the power and authority- this sinner turned saint- to forgive.
Forgiveness is powerful. And it’s not just words.
Forgiveness is More Than Words
When you say, “I forgive you.” There’s a transaction. A wiping off of the slate.
It’s not “just” words. Nor was it ever, actually. Because words have power.
I can say, “Please forgive me” and when the person I have wronged says, “I forgive you,” it means they’ve erased that whiteboard.
Feel free to go back to my earlier post HERE and really get a feeling for what it means to forgive. Because forgiveness is powerful.
Forgiveness, act of will. Forgiveness is a choice. Not an emotion. Not a feeling.
And in the video Kris Vallotton did, he gave the absolute greatest example of forgiveness I’ve ever heard. It’s in the last 5-7 minutes of the 25 minute video. But it’s worth watching just for that because it makes forgiveness so crystal clear. Crystal.
Best Example of Forgiveness
Kris gave the example that you owe me $1,000. And I forgive you.
Which means, that’s it. I don’t send you a bill. Ever. You are free from paying me back.
Now, I may want that $1,000 back later. I may have thoughts about that $1,000 like, man, I wish I had that.
But after I’ve forgiven you, I can’t send you a bill. Ever again. The debt… is erased.
Think how awful you would feel is someone tried to take back their forgiveness. They said they forgave you, but then they withdrew it.
Example. I say I forgive you of the $1,000 debt you owe me. Yay! You’re ecstatic. Relieved. Woo! Hallelujah!
But. If 6 months later. A year later. Two years later. I call you up and say, just kidding. You still owe me. Or, I take it back, you need to pay up.
How awful would you feel?
You thought I’d forgiven you. Now this?
But we’ve all done that at some point, haven’t we? As people.
So I’ll put it another way.
Pretend, like in the example given in my first post on forgiveness HERE. GM forgave you your $40,000 car loan on your Dodge Ram. Hallelujah x 10, right? $40,000 forgiven. Woo hoo!
But what if GM tried to pull what I tried to pull? Called you up 6 months later, 1 year later, 2 years later. And says, eh, just kidding. We made a mistake. We don’t really forgive you. You owe us.
How crushed would you feel?
But that’s forgiveness. The wiping of the slate. Now and later. Forever.
Have I Truly Forgiven
We’ve all experienced a hurt at one time or another. We say we’ve forgiven the person who wronged us. But what if we still hurt when we think about what was done-even years later?
Does that mean we didn’t really forgive them?
No. If you did forgive them, you did. You said you did, you did.
You only have to forgive them once. God hears you.
But forgiveness may only be the first of many necessary steps in dealing with pain.
Forgiveness is the first step. But not the last.
You may say, “God, I’ve forgiven them.”
But then you may need to follow that up with, “And now Jesus, I need you to make me whole. I need you to take the pain away.”
It may be a PROCESS to take the pain away.
What Forgiveness is Not
I also need to state here what forgiveness is not, since I’ve said what forgiveness is.
Forgiveness is releasing them from a debt. But just because I forgive you does not mean I trust you. And it does not mean what you did was right.
The simplest example to understand in relation to this would be rape.
We are called to forgive. Therefore, I can forgive my rapist. But. Doesn’t mean I trust them.
Doesn’t mean I should spend time with them.
Forgiveness doesn’t even mean you don’t need to be incarcerated. Rape is punishable. There are earthly consequences for earthly actions, and a rapist needs to be put behind bars.
But what forgiveness is saying is that I release you from the eternal judgement.
Still wise to insist on incarceration. Because yes, there are ramifications.
And another great example would be to refer back to the $1,000 loan.
You can forgive the debt, yes. But you don’t have to give that person another $1,000.
ALL relationships are built on trust. But the consequences of not repaying the loan means trust is lost. And that affects the relationship.
Have you ever had to forgive someone, even when you didn’t want to? Comment below.