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Forgiving One Another

Forgiving One Another

by Randall M.  Tidmore

Published in
The Christian Informer
August, 1998

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Ephesians 4:31-32  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.  (NKJV)


1.  One characteristic of our sinful human nature is the tendency to hold a grudge.  We are tempted to hate our enemies, and speak evil of those who mistreat us, but Jesus says to love them.

Matthew 5:43-48  You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?  Do not even the tax collectors do so?  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (NKJV)

2.  Vengeance can be a strong temptation, and some succumb to its allure, but God says that vengeance belongs to Him.

Romans 12:17-21  Repay no one evil for evil.  Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.  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.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (NKJV)

3.  There are specific biblical principles that must govern the way we forgive others.  Although they are not always easy to employ, they are not optional!


I.  Why we must forgive.

A.  We must forgive in order to be forgiven.  Jesus taught:

 Matthew 6:12  and forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.  (NKJV)

 Matthew 6:14-15  For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  (NKJV)

 Mark 11:25-26 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.  But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.  (NKJV)

B.  All have sinned and, therefore, need forgiveness.

Romans 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (NKJV)

 1 John 1:7-10  But 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.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.  (NKJV)

C.  We must all face judgment.

 Acts 17:30-31  Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.  He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. (NKJV)

II.  How we are to forgive others.

A.  The heart is involved.

 Matthew 18:35  So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. (NKJV)

1.  There are some things that must be removed from the heart.

 Ephesians 4:31  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  (NKJV)


2.  The heart must be kept tender.

 Ephesians 4:32  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.  (NKJV)

[This outline on this timely subject, Forgiving One Another, by Brother Randy Tidmore, came to us via the brotherhood Internet Web page.]

This is an excerpt from a lengthier study.  For the full outline, see Brother Tidmore's home page.