It’s not optional for the Christian
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. ~ Colossians 3:12–13 (NASB)
When I wrote Man Enough to Forgive, I did so with Christians in mind. What I mean by this is that the book is built on the premise that you must experience true biblical forgiveness before you are able to truly forgive your earthly father.
So, let’s define what biblical forgiveness means.
Biblical forgiveness is unmerited, undeserved, and unearned by our actions, and is completely contingent on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us that all people have sinned, doing what goes against God’s nature, and that the punishment for sin is death.
This references not just physical and spiritual death but extends to physical and spiritual punishment in hell for the rest of eternity. The Bible directs that if we have not received God’s forgiveness in this life on earth, we will suffer the punishment for sin in the next life – via a very real and painful, never-ending existence.
At death we don’t cease to exist, nor do all people automatically get to go to heaven. There are actual consequences for the entirety of our actions.
Further, the Bible tells us that our good deeds cannot offset sin.
By contrast, God loved His children so much that He sent His Son to become a man, to live the perfect life that we can only aspire to, to die the death we deserve, and to demonstrate His divinity by rising from the dead.
By repenting and confessing our sins and asking God to forgive us, in Christ we can have new life. When an individual is converted and has repented of their sins and placed their hope for salvation in Jesus Christ alone, they receive the Holy Spirit.
With the Holy Spirit living within the believer’s heart and mind, they may truly grasp the depth of Christ’s forgiveness of them. This understanding, in turn, shows them the path of obedience to Christ’s commands to forgive others in our life.
One of the most fundamental and important of these commands is to forgive everyone who has wronged you. When questioned by His disciples on how to pray, Jesus responded by telling them to:
“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil…
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” ~ Matthew 6:9–15 (NASB)
Jesus notes in this guided and perfect prayer that we are to request that God forgive us our trespasses (sins) or debts to Him in the same way that we forgive those in debt to us.
Imagine if God only forgave your lies, hatred, lust, deceit, etc. in the same way you forgive those who have hated, lied, and mistreated you! What a terrifying thought.
Jesus was perfectly clear in what followed – if you refuse to forgive, don’t expect God to forgive you. Do you see? Forgiveness is essential.
While you don’t earn forgiveness or salvation, you do play an active role in your Christian maturity, otherwise known as sanctification.
That’s GOOD NEWS, right?! There’s something to do here. We men love to do stuff!
Without the power of the Holy Spirit in your life you could never fathom how much God has forgiven you, let alone forgive others in the same way.
In this, Jesus Christ stands as our example of both godly forgiveness and human forgiveness.
Being man enough to forgive means understanding both biblical forgiveness and imitating Jesus – the model of perfect manhood. When Jesus hung on the cross for the sins of the world, He demonstrated total forgiveness and set an example for all who would call themselves His disciples.
This is why your Christian faith is fundamental to the ability to truly forgive, and thereby responding to Christ’s command. And this is why this book is for you.
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