My Life’s Convictions : Forgiveness
By Dr. Tolbert Moore
One of the uppermost, important tenets in Christianity is forgiveness, both the forgiveness of our sins by the Lord Jesus and our responsibility to forgive each other. Matthew 18:21-23 records this discourse between Jesus and Peter: Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. If a brother sins against you or offends you, even if he does it seventy times seven, 490, times in one day, if he repents, forgive him.
Ecclesiastes 1:8-9 says there is no new thing under the sun: All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Yet, Lamentations 3:22-23 says: It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Now that does not contradict Ecclesiastes because mercy is not a new thing and neither is compassion, but they are new, refreshing, every day. As you wake up in the morning able to think and breathe, you are rested and are facing a new day. That is mercy. The mercy of God is new every morning.
In the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:7, Jesus said, Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Thank God that His mercies are fresh every day, and we are refreshed by His mercy and grace. Mercy, compassion, and forgiveness are Christian themes.
Somebody said to me not long ago, “Why is it that a lot of our Christian leaders have no compassion? They have no forgiving spirit. They seem so judgmental stemming from their disagreements.”
I said, “That is not Christian leadership. That is religious leadership.” You see there is a difference in Christianity and religion. Christianity may be a religion, but really Christianity’s religion is Jesus Christ. If we don’t extend forgiveness and show mercy, we may be religious, but we may not be Christian.
Concerning being judgmental, Christ said in Luke 6:37: Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. He teaches us to love one another. Am I getting too strong? I don’t think so.
I think it is a wonderful experience to be able to be merciful and forgive. If someone does you wrong, forgive them. Carrying that grudge only makes you sick. You do realize, don’t you, that the person carrying the grudge is the one who is hurting? The person you are carrying the grudge against is not affected (unless they likewise have a grudge against you). The person carrying the grudge is the person that is miserable. If you are not merciful, then you will be miserable. Misery causes a mean spirit. How often we see this!
Thank God, when we say from the heart, “Lord, forgive us,” we can be refreshed by God’s mercies every day. He said in 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Lamentations 3:23 says, . . . great is thy faithfulness.
Thank God for the faithful mercies, grace, and love of the Lord Jesus Christ. It keeps the home running peacefully. It keeps the community peaceful. It keeps the congregation in the house of the Lord peaceful. Unforgiveness will hurt and grieve the spirit of man, as well as the Spirit of God, but what freeness, openness, and love accompany a forgiving heart. What a blessing that is to everyone. Thank God for the mercies of God which are new every day.