God’s love is forgiveness towards others. Unforgiveness is a barricade between us and God. There is something about an unforgiving spirit. There are many levels of that inside of us. You are not properly loving God if you are holding onto a grudge.
How do you purify silver? You hold it in the fire and when the maker can see his reflection in it, you know it’s pure. When the fire has been on you and Jesus can see Himself in you, it is then that you know you are purified. It’s how you deal with being mistreated that shows you how purified you are.
There are 3 views of the men on the cross:
- ‘Hey, if you’re really the Christ, why don’t you save yourself and us?’ I don’t want this cross. I don’t want to pay the price and I want off the cross. God you are able to save me, if you really love, then make this thing go away. Immediate freedom.
- ‘We deserve this cross. Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ There is an understanding that I deserve this suffering, but I’m waiting for the glory that’s coming down the road.
- ‘Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.’ While the other two had their perspectives, Jesus’ perspective was the best. He knew He was mistreated, but He forgave anyway.
How do you handle that when somebody who’s supposed to love you, mistreats you? We have a commandment from God to release forgiveness in such a way that while I’m suffering I want you to be free.
Mark 11:25-26 “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
If you will not forgive, you burn the bridge that you need to cross to get to heaven.
You’ve got to forgive. The mercy of God gets chained up in your unforgiving spirit. You are not fulfilling the call of God if you do not forgive.
Jesus did 3 things to forgive us.
- Jesus ministered to (served) other people. We’ve got to serve and minister to people.
- He died for them. You’ve got to pay the price for others. You’ve got to do the hard thing. Love is more of an action than a feeling. When you love until it hurts, there’s no more hurt. That’s when the healing begins. Rom 8:9 “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” We need that same Spirit, of love, evangelism, forgiveness.
- Jesus forgave without bitterness. It doesn’t matter how bad the words were or how big the hurt was, we need to forgive.
There is a root of bitterness that we need to take care of. If we don’t take care of it, it will grow and be hard to pull out. You can’t serve in the kingdom of God if you’ve got bitterness inside.
An Armenian nurse was held captive by the Turks. Her brother was brutally killed right before her eyes. Somehow, she escaped. Through the years, she found the Lord. She worked in a hospital and there before her was that soldier who had brutally murdered her brother. She wanted to take vengeance, but she couldn’t because there was a greater calling inside of her. A stronger voice called her to love. Finally, when he recuperated, he looked at her and asked why she didn’t let him die. She replied that she was a follower of Him who told me to love those who are your enemies. He was so impressed by her answer, he asked that she would tell him about God.
Rom 5:5 “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
I John 4:19-21 “We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
If you don’t forgive, you aren’t saved. If you want to overcome the hurt and abuse, forgive!
Excerpted from a sermon preached by: Pastor Anthony LoCascio.