TOPIC: THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
TEXT: MATTHEW 6:8-15
The Bishop of Ogbaru Anglican Diocese Rt Rev. Prosper Amah who delivered this message at the July edition of the monthly “Fresh Oil” programme of the Diocese said that the message came to him by Divine inspiration. He affirmed that God revealed to him that many people including the children of God do not progress at the rate God has ordained for their life because of this problem of unforgiveness. The Bishop went on to make the following affirmations:
- If you desire to move at a tempo that will surprise your contemporaries learn to forgive.
- You first received forgiveness and so are bound to forgive others.
- Jesus conclusion in Matthew 6:8-15 says that if you do not forgive others as God first forgive you, you cannot receive forgiveness.
- Forgiveness is cancellation of debts and to wave away every negative feeling.
- Unforgiveness can lead to death as in the case of the man called Nebal (See 1 sam 25:36-38).
- Some people suffer from carry over aggression to persist in unforgiveness. The Bishop summed up this section by saying that “forgiveness is the issue of the brave”.
The next issue addressed by Bishop Prosper is why forgiveness is necessary – why forgive? He went on to state as follows:
- When you forgive others, you have peace. He cautioned against keeping diary of wrongs. Bottled anger can be suicidal. When you bottle anger, you are on a suicide mission and you will be the first casualty – said BP Amah.
- The only way to obtain mercy is to forgive others. Mtt. 5:7 says “blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”.
- One condition to receive forgiveness from God is to forgive others.
- Forgiveness is the things that makes God to accept our offerings and prayers.
The next section of the Bishop’s message deals with what he called “Sources of forgiveness”. He unveiled four issues:
- From God to you/me
- From you to others
- From others to you/me
- From myself to myself.
In his concluding remarks, the Bishop said that the first disciples inquired this issue of forgiveness saying “how many times shall my brother offend me and I will forgive him? Seven times? Jesus answered seventy times seven. (Matt. 18:21-22).
When two people are in disagreement and one person forgives while the other remains unrepentant. The one that forgives continues to move forward, while the other that refuses to forgive continue to move backward.
The Bishop reminded the congregation of Jesus first word on the cross which was emulated by Stephen the first Christian Martyr when dying at the hards of his execution “father forgive them for they know not what they are do” was Jesus word and Stephen said “father do not hold their sin against them” (Acts 7:59). Daniel also conquered saul with the Spirit of forgiveness.
Whatever the other person have done to you, please forgive.