Here is a scenario: you and a friend are walking along a trail, and you drop your cell phone. Not a moment later, that friend, too quick to react, accidentally steps on - and breaks - your cell phone. Your friend apologizes and asks for forgiveness. You essentially have two choices: you can either react in anger toward them, perhaps attempt to break their phone, or: you could forgive them, a cell is replaceable. How would you feel, if you were the friend?
Everyone wants forgiveness. Perhaps you've broken a friend's cell phone, perhaps you've broken someone's heart. Perhaps you want forgiveness for the actions you have taken in life. Or perhaps you want forgiveness for something you have said. The possibilities go on and on. Perhaps you are dating someone, and a friend of yours will not forgive you regarding the person you are dating. Don't we all need forgiveness for something?
It was ca.4 BC, in Bethlehem in Judea. A young couple, to be married, were in Bethlehem for a Census. While they were staying in Bethlehem, the time came for the woman's baby to be born. After centuries of prophecies concerning a Savior for mankind, a Messiah, the seed promised to Adam and Eve and dreaded by Satan (Genesis 3:15), was finally born. His mother, Mary, named Him what the angel Gabriel had told her to call Him: Jesus, which means "The Lord saves." (Matthew 1:21)
The Creator loved His creation, and knew that without a plan of salvation, without forgiveness, there would be no hope for any of us. So The Creator entered into His creation, and "He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8b) Jesus gave up His spirit, after several torturous hours, through lashes, carrying a cross, intense stress, and having been hung on a cross. God the Son have up His spirit, and at that moment, ca.30-33 AD, God's plan for mankind's salvation came to fruition.
In marriage, in dating, in friendship, in many aspects of life, we need forgiveness. In regard to marriage and relationships, understand that you may not find the "perfect one," however, you may find the "right one." Each of us have some kind of a past, but if we are willing to forgive, it may not make us truly liberated, however, it is difficult to be in a relationship without forgiveness. By putting faith in Christ, and asking for forgiveness, we are forgiven. In the same way, we are to forgive others.
Ephesians 4:32 conveys, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you." That was not a suggestion, but a direct command. We are to forgive, for forgiveness brings hope, it brings relief, it brings love. Just as Colossians 3:13 says, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
Forgiveness is powerful. We know that words have power: by the command of the Creator, the universe came into being. "For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm." (Psalms 33:9) Bear in mind that when God forgives us of our sins, and all have sinned, (Romans 3:23) and are in need of forgiveness, the sins removed "as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12)
Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 38:17 that God has "put all [our sins] behind [His] back." Forgiveness is important, without forgiveness we cannot truly push forward in life. Try as we might, unforgiveness holds us back to a great extent. As for God, "[He] will again have compassion on us; [He] will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:19) God is not lacking keeping His promises. Everything He promises comes to pass.
If we ask God for forgiveness, we need to leave it there, and count it settled. God the Spirit tells us in Hebrews 10:17, "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." It is not that He has forgotten and does not know everything in the Universe, it is that he has chosen not to remember our sins, because He has forgiven us of them. During His ministry, Jesus made a statement about forgiveness that we need to keep in mind in all situations.
He says in Matthew 6:14-15, "For if you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." This statement is hard for some to accept and put into practice. Some simply refuse to forgive a friend, a relative, a brother or sister, a neighbor, what have you, in certain situations. However, God has conveyed that if we do not forgive others, He will not forgive us - and this is certainly an eternally serious consequence. Unforgiveness can also affect your health, according to medical practitioners. Be sure to forgive others.
In Genesis 37-50 we read the account of Joseph son of Jacob. Joseph was one of twelve brothers, and the favorite of their Father. His brothers sold him, and he was consequently sold in Egypt to Potiphar. He was given charge of the household as slave, a high privilege, yet Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph. When he continually refused, eventually she falsely accused him to Potiphar, and Joseph was thrown in prison. For several years Joseph was in prison, and in one instance, he interpreted Pharaoh's Baker and Cupbearer's dreams. Both came true: the Baker was executed, and the Cupbearer was restored to his position.
The Cupbearer never told Pharaoh about Joseph until one day, Pharaoh had two dreams that none could interpret, and Joseph was remembered and called upon. God revealed through Joseph that there would be seven years of good harvest followed by seven years of famine. Joseph was given charge of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh, and was called by a new name. During the famine, Joseph's brothers came to Egypt seeking grain, and after a serious of events, Joseph revealed himself as their brother, and had all of his family, including his father, who had thought for years that Joseph was dead, move to Egypt.
If Joseph was never sold into slavery, none of us may be alive today. Reason being: the famine was not just in Egypt, people came from all over for grain. Had no one prepared for the seven-year famine, at least many of us would not be here today, because our ancestors would not have survived. After the death of their father, Joseph's brothers were worried that he would take revenge on them, but instead he said to them, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (Genesis 50:20) Joseph had forgiven his brothers.
Likewise, Jesus has forgiven us, and we must forgive others, regardless of the wrong done to us. Keep in mind that we all have free will, God cannot live our lives for us. He can and will direct our life, and we can follow His will if we ask Him, not our will, however, we have been given free will to live life as we choose.
Forgive others, and do unto other as you would have done unto you. What you put into your spirit affects what comes out. To exert a spirit of forgiveness, ask God for forgiveness, forgive yourself, and forgive others. Do not hold a grudge, it will lead ruin. Forgive everybody of their offenses against you. Forgiveness is powerful, it is not simply something we read about and then do not act upon, it is a force, it has substance. This is true with God, this is true in relationships, and this is true in marriage.