Can God ever refuse to forgive?

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The Bible is not clear on all points. But it is definitely clear on our have to have to forgive people today when they hurt us.

We need to forgive

In Matthew’s gospel, the disciple Peter comes to Jesus and says ‘Lord, if one more member of the church sins against me, how generally should really I forgive? As several as seven occasions?’ And Jesus says to him, ‘Not seven occasions, but, I inform you, seventy-seven occasions.’ Jesus is telling us that we have to have to forgive and forgive and go on forgiving till we can no longer count how several occasions we have forgiven.

Paul says in his letter to the Colossians, ‘Bear with 1 one more and, if any individual has a complaint against one more, forgive every single other just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also need to forgive.’ And, in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul also says, ‘Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, collectively with all malice, and be type to 1 one more, tender-hearted, forgiving 1 one more, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

But why do we have to have to forgive other individuals?

I was speaking about all this in Church not too long ago and how we need to forgive other individuals.

But why, you may well ask. Why is it so critical to forgive?

Properly, I would say that it is critical due to the fact that is the great and proper factor to do, what Jesus tells us to do. But also, due to the fact not forgiving is a type of self harm.

Not forgiving is a type of self harm.

And due to the fact God loves us, he does not want us to harm ourselves. He does not want the poisonous seeds of anger and indignation to take root in our hearts and develop into bitterness, resentment and hatred.

So we are told to be fast to forgive – as quickly as a person hurts us. Just before these seeds can get in and develop and be a great deal tougher to uproot.

What does this inform us about God?

But what does all this inform us about God?

Of course, there are lots of verses in the Bible that speak of God’s mercy and his willingness to forgive us, come what may possibly.

But then there are also verses about God’s anger. And at times about each.

The prophet Micah says,
‘Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing more than the transgression…?
He does not retain his anger for ever,
due to the fact he delights in displaying clemency.
He will once more have compassion upon us
he will tread our iniquities below foot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.’

It appears that God is capable of anger – when he sees injustice and how we hurt every single other and creation. But he is fast to forgive.

And I wonder regardless of whether this is not only due to the fact that is the great and proper factor to do. But, possibly, also to shield himself from that anger obtaining lodged in his personal heart and taking root there.

In Isaiah 43.25-26 God says ‘I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my personal sake, and I will not don’t forget your sins.’

Do you notice how God says in this verse that He forgives for His personal sake? Not just our personal sakes.

Need to God constantly forgive?

But does God constantly forgive?

Properly, if we think the contrary – that God does not constantly forgive, then are we prepared to concede, for that reason, that there need to be pockets of bitterness and resentment in God’s heart, even hatred?

This appears entirely unimaginable if we think in God as the individual we see in Jesus – the individual who provides His life on the cross for sinners. And who cries out for God to forgive even the unrepentant religious leaders and Roman soldiers who are nailing him to the cross.

If we definitely think that God is all loving then it appears to me not possible that He is not all forgiving also.

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