by Derek Gitsham
"And blessed is he whosoever shall not be
offended in Me." Luke 7:23
The Lord’s teachings on forgiveness in the
New Testament are the strongest statements
ever recorded on the matter. They leave the
saint in no doubt that much is required of him
if he is to follow the Lord completely and utterly.
The challenges that the saint wiill face on this
matter of forgiveness will, in and of themselves,
be that which molds his life to the Jesus life
more than any other.
There is much resistance in the natural heart,
the heart born in corruption, towards forgivness.
Many are the injustices done to the saint in his
life time: all of them must be completely forgiven
if he is to go on. The Lord, in His ministry,
kept the subject of forgiveness before the disciples.
It was important that they did not get caught in the
trap of offence, which would hinder them in their
walk with God.
John, in his first Epistle, records that ‘He that
loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there
is no occasion of stumbling in him.’ The phrase
occasion of stumbling means scandal or offense.
In other words there is no desire in him to betray
or speak evil of his brother.
Everything goes back to this one thing, whether we
love our brother, and abide in the light. If we love
our brother we will want to forgive him and not hold
anything against him. This is what is meant by abiding
in the light. There are dire consequences for the saint
if he allows himself to remain unforgiving towards his
brother. So much so that he becomes blinded by
darkness and cannot see where he is going because
the darkness of unforgiveness has blinded his eyes
(I John 2:10-11).
Not forgiving someone is another form of standing up
for your own right, and trying to justify yourself in
your own eyes. By not forgiving someone I feel right
in doing so because of the wrong they have done. This
plague of our hearts must be arrested quickly, and our
self rights laid on the altar, lest we become embroiled
in the poison and bitterness that will accompany
unforgivenss. Jesus’ words to forgive are a command.
We have no choice, to fail to do so will cost us dearly.