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When Men Forgive

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When Men Forgive

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

My dear uncle was once asked to dismiss a Sunday morning service in prayer. He was momentarily caught off guard. During his prayer, a few of his words got tangled up and didn’t come out right. Someone behind him snickered. It was funny!

He was mortified however, that anyone would find humor in his attempt at prayer. My uncle didn’t come back to church that night. He didn’t come back that week, or that month. He didn’t come back that year. Actually, he didn’t come back for the next 54 years because he was offended.

With great joy I can tell you that as an old man, he walked back down the aisle and prayed back through. He died at 90 years of age, fully in love with Jesus, His church, and it’s people. But he wasted 54 years because he had gotten offended.

How long are you willing to let a war go on? When men forgive, it releases the forgiveness of God upon their lives. It’s not an accident; it’s how God planned it from the beginning.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

An old pastor I know kept his prized gaited horses in a large stable. Outside his horse barn was an expensive horse trailer with living quarters and a one-ton pickup truck.

A drugged-up teenager set fire one night to the stables and burnt it down. The horse trailer and truck were destroyed too. Thankfully most of the horses were saved. It was a huge financial loss for the pastor.

The fire took place during a time when there was a 3-day lapse of insurance coverage. The culprit was arrested, tried and found guilty. The prosecutor asked the court for a minimum sentence of 40 years for the teen.

At the sentencing, the pastor stood up in court and asked permission to speak on behalf of the defendant. The judge raised his eyebrows and said; “You understand that the state is prosecuting him on your behalf?”

“Yes, your honor, I understand, and I thank you. But the state has not suffered any loss. I am the only one that has, so if anyone has a right to speak, I think I should.”

The judge nodded his permission.

“Your Honor, I beg you not to sent this young man to prison for 40 years. If you do, he may never get to hear about Acts 2:38, the only message of salvation. No one in prison may ever tell him that he needs to repent of his sins, be baptized in Jesus name and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost to be saved.

“Your Honor, this young man may never get to hear that God is able to deliver him from all of his addictions in one night. Don’t send him to prison, put him on probation for at least 3 years, order him to come to my church and sit on the front row every service.  Allow me to try to reach him with the love of God.”

With tears welling up in his eyes, the judge brought the gavel down and said, “It is so ordered.”

Two years later, the pastor’s youngest son stood in the same courtroom with the same judge and prosecutor. The son was on trial for possession of drugs again. The prosecutor was asking for a minimum sentence of 25 years.

When the State finally rested it’s case, the defense attorney and the pastor’s son both stood up. The defense attorney never attempted to present a defense. He simply said, “Your Honor, we throw ourselves upon the mercies of this Court.”

The judge looked at the defendant and then at his attorney. He said, “Would you like to settle this today once and for all?”

“Yes your Honor, we would,” was the reply.

At that, the prosecutor got up and walked out of the courtroom. The judge with impassioned tones looked at the pastor’s son and then began.

“I hate everything about you. You are despicable. You are without any social redeeming value.  You are a blight on this community. You are an embarrassment to the church your father pastor’s and you are a shame to him as well.

“If I had my way, I’d put you in prison for the rest of your life, throw the key away and sleep good every night. DO YOU HEAR ME?” He shouted!

“Yes you Honor,” said the son with tears streaming down his face.

“Two years ago, another young man stood in this courtroom and was found guilty. Your father begged for mercy for him, even though he didn’t deserve mercy. Because of that I am going to give you mercy.” He paused for effect.

“That will be $50.00, and don’t you ever come back to my court again!” The sound of the gavel concluded the trial.

The old pastor and his son stopped by the church on their way home from court. The backslidden son prayed back through to a renewing of the Holy Ghost. Today, he is an Assistant Pastor!

It pays to forgive!

Matthew 18:23-35 tells a story of a King who checked his records and found that a certain servant owed him a large sum of money. (Approximately $3 billion dollars at today’s values.)

When the servant could not pay the King back, he was sentenced to prison and all his possessions to be sold. He begged for mercy, and forgiveness was granted. The debt completely wiped out.

The forgiven servant walked away from his own session of mercy and soon found a man who owed him the modern equivalent of $15.00 dollars. He grabbed the man around the neck and ordered him to pay. When he couldn’t, he had him thrown into the debtor’s prison.

The King heard about this and called the servant before him again. In anger, the king took back the forgiveness of the debt. He does to the servant, exactly what the servant had done to his fellow-man. He threw him into prison until he could repay the debt.

This story explains to us that King Jesus has forgiven us a debt of sin that we could never repay. Yet we get enraged over the $15 dollars someone ‘owes’ us, and we won’t forgive them of that small debt.

You may think your problem with a brother or a sister is a major injustice to your world. Your bitterness will overwhelm you to the point that you are eaten up with your hurt and have no peace in your spirit.

What was done to you may be a mountain so big you can’t get over it. But according to this parable, in heaven’s estimations it’s just a $15 dollar problem. Don’t die bitter and unforgiving. Forgive your brother fully and completely, just like Jesus forgave you of your sins. You do not want Him to take back his forgiveness of your sins, just because you wouldn’t forgive your brother.

Matthew 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Hell would like nothing better than to see God’s people destroyed because of unforgiveness. Some folks say they’ve buried the hatchet. They may have, but they must have forgotten to bury the handle too.

Deer hunters know that a sure way to get a trophy deer is to use camouflage. Give the deer what it wants, by putting out bait. It won’t be long then before the deer is hung on the wall. The hunter then brags on his trophy for the rest of his life.

Even non-hunters understand the principle. Why can’t we see that is also how Satan kills us with bitterness? He camouflages a situation, puts out the bait. He then shoots us down, and hangs our hide on his wall. He will brag on what he did to us forever.

Being offended is a choice. We choose to be offended. We can also choose not to be offended. Now, go forgive your brother. Don’t let Satan brag on you.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 17, 2011 at 12:04 am

Posted in Bitterness, Forgiveness, Mercy

Tagged with ,

6 Responses

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  1. Oh Brother Ballestero, do I HAVE to? I’ve heard this story so many times and know it well. I guess you are right.

    Veridical_Angel

    July 17, 2011 at 12:23 am

  2. As always your stories cut right to the heart of the matter. I really enjoy them all!

    Scott Hall

    July 17, 2011 at 10:39 pm

  3. I certainly believe this to be so true, but have found so many not willing to “ask” as the requirement. We usually state, “I have forgiven them already in my heart”, but fact still remains the necessity of ‘asking’. (repentance)

    As Jesus requires us to repent to him for our transgressions, so must we when we who have “offended” any of God’s little ones.

    I just hope and pray that if there would be any that I have offended and have forgotten, ignored, or didn’t realize at the time would remind me of my need to repent before Jesus comes. I am in this to be saved, and take off the dark glasses and see HIM face to face.

    Mark McKinney

    July 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm

  4. Thank you Bro. Ballestero…this blessed my heart…I always enjoy everything you write…I will share this with others as well…appreciate your sharing with me…
    joyce Dykes

    Joyce Dykes

    July 19, 2011 at 10:11 pm

  5. Elder…so skillfully written…and so profound. It is the truth! Thank you.

    ShoDawg

    July 20, 2011 at 8:14 am

  6. Thank you Bro. Ballestero. I’m so thankful to the Lord that He gives us the ministry to bring us His sharp sword of the Word – right down to the very core of our being! Forgiving others is the very essence of the real plan of salvation. Without it, we have not even met the qualifications to be baptized in Jesus’ Name!! And – correct baptism alone will not save us unless we have forgiven others!!

    Several folks I have tried to witness to could not accept being baptized in Jesus Name – not because they could not see the truth about One God, but because they could not face the truth about themselves and repent and forgive … so they retreat back into false doctrine and justify themselves with a counterfeit religion. No wonder it takes God’s goodness to lead us to repentance! When folks start bumping up against being baptized in Jesus Name, it has a way of making us realize there must come a change before they can take on the Worthy Name. {I say all this because I know I need to work on my attitude more in order stay worthy of the Name!!} Thank you again Brother for another very timely, heart-stirring post.

    OneOfThem

    July 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm


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