Matthew 6:14 - 15 - For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


The model prayer teaches if we don’t forgive those that sin against us, God will not forgive us.

Many people today believe that to forgive your enemies means the offense shouldn’t be punished.  Forgiveness doesn’t let the offender off the hook.  It lets us off the hook. (See the parable about forgiveness in Matthew 18.  Forgiveness doesn’t stop punishment and judgment of the guilty.  It relieves me from punishing myself with bitterness.

Matthew 18:21-35 - We are to forgive without counting the times we forgive. We are to forgive regardless of how big the offense is against us, our family, or church, or anything or anybody that affects us.

How can I forgive a great offense against me and those I love?  Only by continually keeping in mind the words of our dear Lord.

1.      Romans 8:28 - We know that all things work together for our good, therefore all offenses work to cause us to be closer to God and His express will for our lives.

a.      In this we must believe that God is a totally sovereign God who is in total, complete control of the entire universe and that nothing is done without His permission and absolute control.

1)     Satan troubled Job only to the extent allowed by God.

2)     Psalms 76:10 - Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath shall thou restrain.  We must believe what the Bible states in a very personal way.

b.      We must totally and completely yield ourselves (personally) and everything we own to God.

2.      Psalms 91:12 - God will keep us from all evil (see all this chapter) and will give His angels charge over us lest we dash our foot against a stone.  We must remember and believe that God will never allow anything to happen to us that will hurt us spiritually.  Everything that happens to us will cause us to grow closer and closer to God.

3.      James 3:2 - For in all things we offend all.  We must remember that we are offensive to others even as others are offense to us.  This doesn’t mean we should “brow-beat” ourselves and call that humility.  This is simply the facts.

4.      Proverbs 24:17-20 - We must give over to God the judgment (or non-judgment) of those that offend us.  This is completely and totally God’s business and has nothing at all to do with us, or their offending us.  God wants us to understand that what we call justice may not be what He calls justice.  God wants us to deal with our own selves, and let Him deal with everybody else as it pleases Him.  He is God, we are not God.

a.      Verse 17, 18 - If God sees the pleasure in our hearts when our offenders are punished, he will turn away His wrath from them.

b.      Verse 19, 20 - We must remember that even though our offenders seem to have gotten away with offending us, they haven’t.

5.      Romans 12:19 - Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  This will work for both them and us.


How can I know I have truly forgiven?

1.      You do not have an offense against the person who offended you.  You can truly pray that God will bless and keep them in His power and glory and honor. You honestly desire them to be blessed of God in material and spiritual things and have no animosity toward them at all.

2.      Matthew 5:43,44 - You love them.  This love is the same kind of love Christ loved us with.  When we were His enemies, He loved us.  So ought we to love our enemies.

3.      You are not afraid of them.  I John 4:18 - There is no fear in love; but perfect love castest out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  When we truly forgive and begin to love our enemies, we will have absolutely no fear of them.  We won’t fear what they will do, what they will say, or anything else.  We will believe God will watch over them, as He watches over them.

a.      You will stop defending yourself against them.  You will not talk bad about the person, or what they did to you.  (Fear of them will cause you to defend yourself against them.)  You will not despise their possessions when you see them.

b.      You are not interested in others knowing they hurt you, or were an offense to you.

c.      You don’t worry about what they will say about you.  You are trusting God to take care of all that.

d.      You don’t worry about them trying to hurt you.  You are trusting God to take care of all that.  You know and believe:

1)     Proverbs 26:27 - The person that digs a pit as a trap for someone will fall into his own pit.

2)     Proverbs 28:10 - If we are righteous and the evil person digs a pit for us, he will not only fall into his own pit, but his wicked thoughts toward us will cause us to have good things in possessions. (This is probably not things of wealth - silver and gold, but things better than silver and gold - a good family, peace with family and friends, health, etc.)

3)     You really and truly believe that God will make your enemies to be at peace with you if you are obedient to Him.

4.      You have not changed your scriptural beliefs about what is right and wrong.  After all, right and wrong haven’t changed - God’s word hasn’t changed.  BUT - there is no hard feelings toward those that don’t do what YOU think is right or wrong.  You truly love them and can speak peaceably to them.  You can honestly consider what they say, do and think.