The power of resurrection paves way for us to receive forgiveness from God and in turn molds us to forgive each other. On the cross, Jesus Christ announced forgiveness in an exceptional way. But most of us attribute this forgiveness only to those soldiers who crucified Him, forgetting that our sins nailed Him to that cross. When He said, “Father, Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”, it is applicable to all of us. Even today Jesus is continuing this prayer on our behalf. (1 Jn 2:1-2).We leave everything in the Bible for others except the promises of blessings. This is the reason why we are unable to inherit a Christ like character.
1. Obtaining forgiveness
The first step to forgiveness is that we must obtain forgiveness realising that He died for us as a substitute and atonement for our sins. Without obtaining forgiveness we cannot forgive others. We sometimes cheat ourselves thinking that we are the forgiven people. We cannot obtain forgiveness unless and until we realise our past mistakes and repent. Joseph’s brothers claimed forgiveness from Joseph saying that their father told that Joseph should forgive his brothers. Joseph politely told them ‘am I God to forgive all of you’, its God’s business and not mine. Forgiveness comes from true repentance and not by recommendations. Sometimes we too commit this mistake by thinking that we are Christians by birth and we need not repent. Here we must understand that as a child of God, Joseph was able to forgive his brothers. In a worldly aspect his brothers were forgiven by him but are they forgiven by God?
We may think that Jesus is advocating God on our behalf so that our sins may be forgiven (1 Jn 2:1-2), but rather He is recommending grace to us that we may repent. But many of us mistake this grace for forgiveness. We must obtain forgiveness from God through true repentance by grace, True repentance comes through faith. We must have an assurance of forgiveness in order to forgive others.
2. Understanding and cherishing the gift of forgiveness
In Luke (7:41-43) Jesus tells us that forgiveness rejuvenates love. God has forgiven our sins that we may understand His love. (Jn 3:16) The root for forgiveness is love.(Lk 7:47) The more we cherish forgiveness the more we can forgive others. In other words if we are unable to forgive others it indicates that we have not yet received forgiveness.
3. Forgiving others
To forgive others we must observe how our Lord Jesus forgave others. In Jn 9:1-3 people are trying to convict the blind man as a sinner but Jesus did not give a direct answer. Jesus said that it was to reveal God’s glory. Here we must understand His love and that he was not ready to address him as a sinner. A lawyer hired by you cannot say in public that you are blame worthy. Jesus came to this world to save sinners.
Even after cherishing His love we always blame others. (Gal 5:15) Instead of blaming others we should be able to bear others guilt. If we have the assurance of forgiveness then we need not blame others or justify our stand rather we can take others mistakes on us. Jesus did this on the cross to save us from our sins. (1 Tim 1:15)