“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Romans 12:18 KJV
The purpose of discussing the application in this series is to ensure that we give expression to the Blessings that are already in us. Things must be made to flow from the spiritual into the physical. We have discussed the place of commitment and faith in the previous capsules. These two are to certain extent obvious, however they are not the only important steps. If you are to do well, you must avoid Holding Grudges. Romans 12:18, says as much as it depends on you, you should live in peace with all men. The dynamics is simple, when you live in a community there will always be reasons to disagree, so we need to provide room for genuine forgiveness and reconciliation (Luke 17:1). Most of the time we judge others by their actions, but we want them to judge us by our motives. That is an unbalanced scale.
“And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” Luke 17:4-5 KJV
In Luke Chapter 17, Christ told His disciples that there are no limits to the number of times we should forgive (brother here actually means those you interact with). The reaction of the disciples is instructive; they asked for help in the area of faith. Note two things from their response, firstly, the process of forgiveness might be simple, but not necessarily easy. The second point is that forgiveness is an act of faith, it is supernatural. In fact it will test and stretch your faith.
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25 KJV
In Mark 11:20-24, we are taught how to pray to remove any hindrance using our faith. In verse 25 there is a cautionary note on forgiveness. Let me put it another way, expression of faith demands the ability to forgive. That verse starts with 'and', meaning in addition to the above. There is good reason for this, which we would consider later.
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" Matthew 5:23-24 KJV
In Mark 11:25, when you are the offended, you should seek reconciliation. Mathew 5:23-24 (the passage above), demands you should do the same if you are the offender. On both occasions the onus is on you to seek reconciliation, not your brother (Romans 12:18). It's interesting to note that in both instances forgiveness is linked to prayer. Don't forget that the discussion is on the process of bringing the Blessings that are already in us into physical manifestation.
Before we close this capsule, the question always arise, 'what if the other party declines your offer of reconciliation despite all your attempts?'. Matthew 18:15-17, gives a step by step guide for genuine reconciliation in such cases. Romans 12:18, says 'If it be possible, as much as it depends on you.....' God has made adequate provision for such instances, so that we would not be under self condemnation when the other party in determined to pursue a negative line.
In the next capsule we would consider why there is so much emphasis on our capacity to forgive.
FORGIVENESS IS THE ANTIDOTE FOR OFFENCES
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