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Forgiveness Optional

Apr 19, 2017

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I had a friend who used to say stop signs with white borders were optional.  Just in case you've never paid attention to it, all stop signs have white borders.  Sometimes our approach to forgiveness is like my friend's approach to stop signs.  You can treat it as optional and ignore it.  But, like running a stop sign with a white border it will have consequences.  Most of us are aware of the physical and emotional toll un-forgiveness can bring.  But how many of us are aware of the full extent of the consequences with God when we refuse to forgive?  Check out what Jesus said about forgiveness:

““For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well.But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.”

(Matthew 6:14–15 HCSB)

“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”  “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.”

(Matthew 18:21–22 HCSB)

““Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’And his master got angry and handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. So My heavenly Father will also do to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from his heart.””

(Matthew 18:32–35 HCSB)

Using our analogy of the stop sign - the physical and emotional toll is like running a stop sign and being hit by a moped.  The spiritual consequences are like being hit by a freight train.  Forgiveness IS your choice, but your choice has consequences.  Forgiveness isn't simple and it isn't always easy, but  I hope you no longer see it as optional. 

Over the next few blogs we  will explore other aspects of forgiveness.  In the mean time - do your best not to run any stop signs.