“Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
“so you also must do”
God wants us to follow the pattern of forgiveness Christ set.
Jesus Christ set God’s standard for forgiveness for us.
God wants us to forgive as Christ forgave us (Eph. 4:32). We may resist that idea and say, “I will not forgive that person for what they did to me.” If we develop that attitude, then God will bypass us. He will not use us as long as we maintain that attitude. “But they are wrong; they are at fault.” That has nothing to do with it. Do you want God to bypass you? “No?” Then forgive them.
An unforgiving spirit is a sour spirit. We cannot afford unforgiveness. As long as we are “off-limits” with God by not forgiving others, He will not use us and will put us on the shelf. We can take something for a sour stomach, but forgiveness is the medicine for a sour soul.
There will always be those people with whom we cannot work out a problem. The Lord Jesus confronted the Pharisees. He did not forgive them for their distortions. He unmasked them. Therefore, there is a place for intolerance. Jesus was intolerant of their sin, sham, and hypocrisy.
If Christ forgave, what is keeping us from forgiving? Forgiveness means ignoring the offense against us. We are not to bring it up to the offender; to constantly harass them with reminders of the hurt of the past is non-forgiveness. Some of us not only get hysterical, but we get historical! We go back over past injuries again and again. Rehashing the problem indicates there was no forgiveness in the first place.
“Well, I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget.” Is that the way Christ forgave? How did Christ forgive us? He dismissed and did not penalize us for our sins. We must do the same. We must forgive freely, fully, and finally. We forgive those who hurt us as Jesus did — willingly and freely. Jesus will never taunt me with my sins; He will not bedevil me with them. God does not say we are to pray about it; we just do it. God does not want us to take it under advisement; we do it.