Unconditional Forgiveness


                “Take heed to yourselves.  If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.  And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17: 3-4.)


                God’s forgiveness is not without stipulation.  Those who desire His mercy must be merciful; those who yearn for His forgiveness must not withhold forgiveness from others.  Hatred, anger, and resentment have no place in the heart of the believer; unresolved bitterness creates division between God and man.  Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Those who follow the Lord seek to imitate Him by defending the weak, feeding the hungry, and loving the unlovable; similarly, every disciple is obligated to forgive without restriction or exception (as God Himself forgives.)  There are no limits to God’s mercy, and those who forgive unconditionally can be used as instruments of limitless love.

                In 1956, five American missionaries flew in to the jungles of Ecuador to make contact with a hostile and war-like tribe of Indians known as the Waodani.  All five men were speared to death.  The families were devastated by the loss; in one day, many children were orphaned and many wives were widowed.  Did the families seek vengeance?  Did they cry out for justice?  No […] instead Elizabeth Elliot (who had lost a husband), and Rachael Saint (who had lost a brother), were obedient to God and forgave the tribesmen unconditionally.  Elizabeth and Rachael continued to evangelize the natives, and the Waodani people eventually invited them in to their community.  One by one, the members of the tribe began to commit their lives to Jesus Christ.  The men who had perpetrated the murders expressed great joy in knowing that they had been forgiven.  The women eventually formed lifelong friendships with the men who had killed their loved ones.  This unconditional forgiveness has given birth to the Waodani Church; a church that thrives to this day.  The members of the tribe have put down their spears and have begun to evangelize the other neighboring tribes (at great personal risk to themselves.)  This amazing work was made possible because two women were willing to forgive without restriction.

                Forgiving others is not a suggestion, a recommendation, or a request; it is a command; a command that heals both the forgiver and those who are forgiven.  Is there anyone you are angry with?  Has someone caused you great pain?  Then you must forgive them.  Search your heart and ask God to give you the courage, and the strength to let go of your resentments; to lay down your hostility; to do away with your bitterness; in turn, God will give you peace […] and your heart will be filled with joy as you walk in fellowship with your creator.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, search our hearts and reveal our resentments.  Give us the strength to forgive completely.  May we love as You have loved.  May we forgive as You forgive.  May we be kind to those who have harmed us; may we bestow compassion upon those who have mistreated us; and may we always be examples of Your awesome mercy and grace.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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