Forgiveness; January 29, 2023

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven–if there was anything to forgive–I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

We tend to take the whole matter of forgiveness far too lightly. Jesus said that if we fail to forgive others, we won’t be forgiven by God, (Matthew 6:14-15) and after His resurrection He gave us authority to forgive on a heavenly scale. (John 20:21) That deserves a lot more thought than we give it! As Paul recognized, the devil knows all about that, and he works overtime to trip us up, to get us to nurse unforgiveness or to overlook things that need to be corrected. We need to be alert as Paul was. I couldn’t begin to count up all the train wrecks I’ve seen in this area. As I’ve written before, Japanese have a linguistic problem in this, because they have two characters that are read the same way, but the one that is used commonly actually means permission. The average person on the street doesn’t even know the character that means Biblical forgiveness. I find that very significant, because the two halves of that character indicate “blood document.” You can’t get more Biblical than that! And that is compounded by the word/character for sin being most commonly used for crime, so people who haven’t broken human laws don’t understand how they have broken God’s laws.

And that is the culture in which I live and minister. My own spiritual warfare is very involved with forgiveness! One incident a couple of years ago caused a Japanese pastor to say that I had more faith than he did, because of a situation in which I forgave. However, I’m never to take my ability to forgive as a done deal. I am to seek the Spirit’s guidance in every situation, not permitting evil but not failing to forgive. I don’t want to be deceived by the devil, and I don’t want those to whom I minister to be deceived either.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You also for enabling me to type it one-handed! Help me release everything into Your more than capable hands, particularly while one of mine isn’t really available. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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