Step 4: Forgiveness

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

This 4th step is where many Christians disconnect from God. While it is true that if you confess your sin, you are forgiven (see 1 John 1:9 above), Jesus adds a stipulation.

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” – Mark 11:25

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” – Luke 6:37

You see forgiveness must have confession of the Christian’s sin, and their forgiveness of those that have wronged them.

When I am faced with a person I do not want to forgive, I think of what Jesus said on the cross.

“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his garments.” – Luke 23:24

Jesus forgave the very people who wrongfully sentenced him to death!

If he can forgive them, then I can forgive anyone, even Satan. It does not mean I will follow them, because quite often I will not, but I can forgive them for the decisions they have made which caused harm to me.

Perhaps I should explain the Satan bit there, it was meant as illustration, and a practice. Withholding of Forgiveness is one of those self-harming sins. When a person withholds forgiveness, it hardens their heart. Eventually the anger builds to hatred. The hatred then begins to manifest itself first toward the target, then to others they care about, and finally to the non-forgiver’s friends and family. By the time it has run its course, many lives are negatively impacted and the non-forgiver has ruined their relationships, often over a petty and senseless argument.

So to forgive Satan is to cut ties with him, severing all animosity so that I may be free to speak of God’s love instead of Satan’s hatred and anger toward God and His creation.

I urge you to follow all of step 4, first forgiving others, then accepting Gods forgiveness. Remember when you forgive others, they are human as well and may not accept your forgiveness, but the Bible does not command that they receive your forgiveness for you to be forgiven, just that you offer your forgiveness.

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