Mark 11:25-26 NKJV: 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Here, the Lord Jesus teaches us that un-forgiveness will hinder your faith and answers to prayer.
What then is forgiveness and how do we walk in it?
Forgiveness is releasing people who have wronged you to the mercy of God so they can have access to the life of God which will enable them to overcome the defect in their character that caused them to offend or hurt you.
Forgiveness is the lubricant that causes our fellowship with others to progress and increase.
This is because in our fellowship with others the imperfections in our characters make us offend or hurt each other creating frictions: these frictions are overcome by the lubricating oil of forgiveness.
Without forgiveness no relationship can progress and increase in fellowship.
This is firstly and fundamentally true of our relationship with God: if God does not forgive us daily we will not grow in our faith and fellowship with him, neither will we be victorious in the operation of our faith against satanic attack.
Since God forgives us so that our fellowship can grow and so that our faith can work to give us victory over the very defects in our nature that cause to offend God, then we must forgive one another in our interpersonal relationships so we can release one another to the mercy of God that will enable us overcome our character defects.
So forgiveness is what we have to walk in daily as a life-style.
If we do not forgive one another God will not forgive us our sins and so we will have no defence against Satanic attacks and torment.
Jesus teaches this in a parable:
Matthew 18:21-35 NKJV: Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 “And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 “And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
In fact forgiveness is ‘enlightened self-interest’ in the words of Derek Prince.
When you forgive someone it is not just that person that benefits, but firstly yourself; when you do not forgive, the person you are really hurting is yourself and not just the person who offended you.
When you forgive you are blessing firstly yourself and secondly the person you forgive: you are giving both you and them another chance to overcome your character defects.
Remember God is a God of another chance: God does not give up on us when we fail or fall, but rather the longsuffering of God is our salvation (2 Pet. 3.15) and His gentleness with us makes us great (Ps. 18.35).
Notice the Lord Jesus commands us to forgive our brethren from the heart: how then do we do this?
We forgive from the heart by:
1. Saying with your mouth, as an act of your will irrespective of your emotions: ‘ I forgive so and so of such and such, in Jesus Name.
2. Ask God to give life to them (1 Jn. 5. 16) to help them to repent of the character defect that caused them to offend or hurt you.
Relate to them in wisdom without bitterness: ill-will and a desire to hurt them in revenge for what they have done to you.
You may remember what they have done but you have good-will toward them and do good to them as God gives you the opportunity.
Romans 12:17-21 NKJV: Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This how David related with Saul when Saul was trying to kill him. David forgave him from the heart, relating with him (Saul) from a distance at a level he could handle that would not be harmful to him (David) and did him good and not evil when he could have killed him (1 Sam. 24. 1-22).
This is how you should relate to people after you have forgiven them from the heart when they have offended you even to the point of trying to kill you: which is the worst thing anybody can do to you.