To know that you have someone angry with you is a terrible feeling. To have an ongoing argument with someone during a long period of time disrupts our lives to a great extent. Allowing an argument to continue on and on causes both sides to sin — in thoughts, in words, or deeds — and becomes an obstacle between us and our Lord until the two parties seek and grant forgiveness.
In the Old Testament times, when someone sinned, they had to bring a sacrifice to the altar for the priest to present to God.
“And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them.” (Lev 4:20, KJV).
Whether the sinner was a congregant member, a ruler or the congregation as a whole, the priest had to make atonement for them in order for them to receive forgiveness.
Moses also made intercession for the people time and again seeking God’s forgiveness, and the Lord was faithful to grant it.
“The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word.” (Num 14:18-20).
David wrote in the Psalms that we are so blessed to be forgiven.
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” (Psa 32:1).
When Jesus healed the sick, He told them they were forgiven.
“And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” (Matt 9:2).
He also reminded us with the woman who rubbed His feet with oil, that the greater our sins that are forgiven, the greater love we have.
“My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:46-48).
How many times did Jesus tell us to forgive?
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matt 18:21-22).
Let us not forget how Jesus Himself taught us to pray the Lord’s prayer, which clearly states we want to be forgiven as we forgive.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matt 6:12).
In First John we have a wonderful epithet about why we are forgiven — for Christ’s name’s sake.
“I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” (I John 2:12).
How wonderful to be forgiven in Christ; and how wonderful to forgive for His Holy Name’s sake.