by Bishop Jacob Afolabi
The Power of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is divine and very rewarding. One of the most important virtues in all relationships is the ability to forgive. Unfortunately, many do not know that un-forgiveness is like a poison that destroys. Both the moral as well as the physical nature of mankind perform acts that eventually affect the natural or the physical life.
No one person is immune to sin. The Bible states that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). Also that, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NIV). We have now come to the knowledge of the truth, and as we offer our prayers to God, let us offer also our forgiveness to all who offend us; so that our heavenly Father, to whom we pray, may also forgive our sins and wipe out our errors, so that these would not stand in the way of our prayers. (Mark 11:25-26 NIV).
If we want a favorable answer from God, we must avoid anger and uncharitable feelings towards others around us. In the act of forgiveness there are so many benefits; (a) healthy relationships, (b) greater spiritual and psychological well-being; (c) reduced anxieties and sense of hostilities; (d) lower blood pressure; (e) few symptoms of depression; (f) a stronger immune system; (g) improvement in heart-health; (h) a higher level of self-esteem.
When we let go of grudges and bitterness by forgiving, we receive a healing that only God can give. Improvement in health condition is a mark of reduced tensions and a sense of calm as our relationships improve.
Forgive yourself too. Let the spirit of forgiveness be the culture of your life, and the emblem of your personality.
Anyone who refuses to offer forgiveness is actually digging two graves. One for the offender and one for himself or herself. Stop seeking for revenge. Reconnect your spirit to peace. Switch the focus from blaming others to understanding yourself. Avoid telling others what to do and stop being controlling. Learn to let-go and be like the waters that flow.
I know. it may be difficult to offer forgiveness when the wound is very deep, and the offender remains abusive and persists in giving hurts. Try to understand the moral weakness of such an individual and offer your prayers for release of the person from the spirit of oppression. “Pray for your enemies” is a command of Christ that may not make sense to our minds, because it is directed to our hearts.
Reconciliation displaces vengeance to establish love. But revenge begins another circle that will perpetuate evils. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21 NIV). Also we are counseled, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14).
Forgiveness is the key for unlocking God’s miracle power to be manifested in your life. If you do not forgive others, you will be unable to forgive yourself. Forgiveness is the one key that unlocks both doors. With God, we have complete and total forgiveness, and also a permanent condition of righteousness because “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us…” (Psalm 103:12 NIV).
As a believer in God, your conscience has been cleansed from dead works, and you are no longer under condemnation, as you have already moved away from rebellion against God. Continue now to walk in the Light which forgiveness brings, and the facility of the Blood of Jesus is available to cleanse you, moment by moment, from all sins.
Keep on forgiving until your are finally cleansed from resentment and bitterness. Your relationship with God is the most important factor in your life, and you do not want your lack of forgiveness to come between you and your heavenly Father.
Finally. there are rewards waiting for the soul that knows the power of forgiveness, and practices it. “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:9-12).
Learn to touch God with your act of forgiving those who did you wrong, and see the mighty Hands of God move toward you to carry your sins, and all your burdens away.
About the writer
Nigerian-born Bishop Jacob Afolabi is Senior Pastor at the Christ Chapel Bible Church in Ottawa. he is the recipient of many community awards, including the 2017 Black History Ottawa Community Builder award, for his many years of community work. He is the founder of the Ottawa Pastors’ forum and has contributed inspiring articles in community newspapers and commentary on community radio stations, as well training a new generation of pastors. He can be reached at: email@example.com.