I’ve been taught that it’s imperative to forgive those who’ve wronged me. Especially those who’ve wronged me badly.
It’s almost a classic teaching in Spirit filled circles by now. Forgiveness isn’t saying what they did is ok, forgiveness isn’t giving them permission to continue hurting you, forgiveness sets the forgiver free. Right? And we forgive and give it to God who will judge them, right?
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. (Matthew 6ish)
Unpacking the language used here, the prayer we’re to pray is, “Father, please use the manner in which I forgive others to forgive me.” Wait. What?
If I’m forgiving others and handing them over to God to be judged and then asking God to use the same manner of forgiveness on me, am I asking God to judge me for all of my sins as well?
I thought Jesus had paid every price, won every victory that could be won and finished the mission of the cross. How then can I be asking Him to judge me for my sins? Am I standing in opposition to the mission of the cross?
How did Jesus model forgiveness?
When He was brutalized beyond recognition, hanging naked, nailed to a cross with His guts hanging out, some soldiers started gambling for His clothes. After everything they’d done to Him, now throwing into His face that He wouldn’t be needing His clothes back.
His response was to bring their sin to the Father and ask Him not to hold it against them. He brought them before the throne of God and sided WITH them.
That is precisely what He does for you. And me. And those who’ve wronged me. And those who’ve wronged you.
So, I’ve come to believe that when we forgive, we are to step into agreement with the mission of the cross, step into Jesus’ anointing to forgive sins (which He paid dearly to give us access to), and bring those who’ve wronged us before the Father and ask Him to not hold that sin against them.
It goes something like this:
“Father, I choose to forgive _________ for ___________. When they ___________ it made me feel ___________ and caused ___________. Today I choose to step into agreement with the mission of the cross. I step into the anointing of Jesus to forgive sins and I say before You that they owe me nothing, and further to owing me nothing Father, I decree that they owe You nothing. I stand in agreement with Your purpose at the cross to forgive them and I say their sins are forgiven.”
Now, I bet there would be a camp in the church saying/thinking/shouting, “Sacrilege! They haven’t apologized to God! They haven’t asked for the forgiveness of their sins!”
In Mark 2, some guys lower a cripple through a roof to Jesus because they can’t get him through the door right? The cripple doesn’t say a word, Jesus first response is, “Take heart, your sins are forgiven.” The cripple didn’t ask for his sins to be forgiven.
What?! How DARE He?! (How DARE the one called Infinite Love express Himself in a way outside of our current theological understanding of Him…)
So He backed it up with power. You know the story. This looked like absolute contempt for the forgiveness theology of the 1st century.
But, when God manifested Himself in flesh, He modelled reckless, selfless forgiveness. The kind of forgiveness that is kind. The kind of forgiveness that intentionally keeps no record of wrong (even/especially on a list that’s given to God for safekeeping).
The kind of forgiveness that stands with those who’ve wronged me and steps into the anointing bought with the blood of the Infinite Love to declare through the Heaven Realm and the Earth Realm and any other realm that exists, “These sins committed against me are forgiven. Now and forever. Separated from those who committed them (whether they know it or not) as far as the east is from the west. By the blood of the Lamb.”
Try this model of forgiveness out and see what it brings for yourself!