Written by Joanne Beckley
TO BE FORGIVEN, WE MUST REPENT
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Acts 8:22 "Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
Matthew 5:23-24 "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Repentance is actually a change of mind toward God, from disobedience to obedience, from the mind set on the flesh, to the mind set on the Spirit (Romans 8:5), from the mind set on the things of the earth to the mind set on things above (Colossians 3:2). It is not just to remove one or two sins from our lives, reserving “special” sins in our back pocket. Repentance is a mind-set, a willingness to remove ALL from our lives. It is making a new set of values, or reasserting those values when we find ourselves falling yet again.
TO BE FORGIVEN, WE MUST FORGIVE
Luke 17:3-4 "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him."
Matthew 6:11-12 Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
When we repent God will immediately forgive and those sins are forgotten–pardoned, retaining the close relationship we have with Him. When we sin against mankind, the ability to completely forgive is difficult, because we retain the memory of the pain and hurt and thus cannot forget as easily as we would like. Forgiving someone is an action and must be demonstrated with action. Therefore, the more positive action that is taken, the easier it will be to forget. Learning to apply love is a learned behavior. The fact is, if we want to be forgiven, truly forgiven by others, then we must do the same. Our Father can only forgive us as we have forgiven others (Matthew 18:35).
ATTITUDES NECESSARY TO FORGIVE OTHERS – Living by the Spirit!
James 3:13,17 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. . . . But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
2 Corinthians 2:7-8 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.
2 Corinthians 2:10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ.
Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Titus 1:9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
2Timothy 1:13-14 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
The key to repentance and forgiveness is being ready to forgive, the heart determined to not carry bitterness in the heart. If I am confident that God wants to forgive me, I know, I KNOW that He loves me and is willing to hear my cries (Psalm 86:5). That knowledge PROMPTS me to repent! The same is true between you and I. If I am confident in your love for God and for myself, I can approach you without fear or self-preservation to repent and be forgiven.
The question is–do I offer the same toward you? Or have I instead buried the hatchet and left the handle sticking up?