As long as we are living in this flesh and in this world, offenses will surely come.
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
-1 John 5:19 We are presently in a world of wickedness.
And so wickedness is a normal thing in the world.
But for us who are God's children, wickedness is not in our blood, not in our spirit, nor nature.
And so, we cannot deal wickedly to others.
However, as God's children, when wickedness comes to us as offense from people, we have the authority and choice to forgive.
You cannot stop people from offending you, but you can choose to forgive when the offense come.
Luke 17:1-2 1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! 2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Just as we cannot stop people from offending us, so also one should stop us from forgiving them.
Luke 17:3-4 3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Forgiveness is a sign of maturity in the spirit.
Ephesians 4:31 -32 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
As God's children we are expected to forgive just as Christ forgave us.
We are not true representatives of Christ if we don't forgive like Christ.
Colossians 3:12-14 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
How to Develop a Forgiving Heart.
Know that you are not perfect.
With this understanding you will also know that others are not perfect.
And because of this they will act imperfectly which may offend you.
Know that people will definitely offend you.
(Luke 17:1) You can't stop people from offending you but you have a choice of what to do with the offense.
Whether to nurse it in you heart or to forgive from your heart.
Tell people their offenses.
(Luke 17:3) When people offend you, don't just keep it in mind.
Tell people what they did to you wrongly.
By doing this you clear your mind from bitterness and prepares it to forgive.
However in the case where you may not see the person tell God what the person did and forgive.
Allow the love of Christ to overwhelm your heart.
Every true forgiveness is from the heart of love.
You cannot love without forgiving.
The more you allow the love of Christ in your heart the more you are quick to forgive from the heart.
Be ready to forgive when people ask for it.
Always remember that Christ has forgiven you too.
(Colossians 3:13) As we continue in this teaching series, I believe God will remould our hearts to become tender and full of love so we will be able to forgive any one that trespasses against us.