Ephesians 4:30-32 says; - “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
For the believer in Christ forgiveness is not an option, it is required behavior. To withold forgiveness grieves God.
Refusal to forgive is harmful to an assembly due to the fact that it tears at its sense of unity.
Complete forgiveness involves a complete change of heart in the forgiver. The forgiver releases all of their bitterness, wrath and anger. Once this is done they forever cease to speak to or about the forgiven party in an evil or malicious way. Anything less is obviously less than total forgiveness.
Verse # 32— is a call to put the forgiveness into action.
Once the believer forgives an individual they are instructed in the clearest of language; “Be ye kind one to another”.
To treat the forgiven party with indifference falls far short of God’s instructions. Our example of a proper post forgiven relationship is our own reconciled relationship with God.
When a believer is forever reconciled to God through the merits of Christ, his relationship and fellowship is completely restored—just as if the sin had never happened. This is indeed the ultimate model for our own thoughts and behavior as we forgive others.
Complete reconciliation to God through Christ (Romans 5:10).
Resulting in completely unhindered fellowship (Hebrews 4:16).
II-Corinthians 2:5-11 says—“If any have caused grief” - “sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with over much sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end (purpose) did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.”
(When we are not obedient to God’s Word we enable Satan to) “get an advantage of us”.
The immediate consequence of sin is a personal sense of shame and guilt. When fellow believers separate and distance themselves from the offending party the initial punishment inflicted by many often becomes unbearable. Certainly the consequences of sin discussed here are more than sufficient. To prolong another persons sense of shame and embarrassment through our words or actions or our indifference to them is clearly wrong and it is sin.
We are called by God to forgive. When we withold forgiveness we leave the person to be swallowed up in much sorrow. Here Paul begs believers not only to forgive but to “confirm your love toward” - the offending party. We confirm our love to them by letting them know that they are indeed forgiven by our words and our actions.
When one carries unforgiveness around they indeed carry a heavy load. Our Heavenly Father calls on all of us through His Word to cast off that burden. A man that truly forgives others is a man who has had his heart and mind freed up to more fully comprehend God’s forgiveness of his own sin.
Let’s look at an example: I-Timothy 1:12-16: The chief of sinners mercifully saved.
An accomplice to murder (Acts 7:51-60).
Now free from the blood of all men (Acts 20:26). How? II-
Corinthians 5:21). How should believers have viewed Paul? (Acts 9:11-17). God can and does transform people. (II-Corinthians 5:17).