Freedom through forgiveness

Forgive and you will be forgiven; set others free from their trespasses and your heavenly Father will also set you free. (Matthew 6:14, NIV / Jubilee Bible 2000)

What is the hardest thing for me to do? What is the hardest thing for you to do? To forgive. I can remember a time immediately after the freedom came to Romania in 1989. I was preaching in a football stadium. It was full, maybe 20-30,000 people. I was preaching about the love of God. I was talking about God’s forgiveness. I knew that in the stadium there were thousands of people who had been persecuted by the state police. In fact, one of my best friends, only a few days before, had been released from prison. I told the people, “The Bible says, when you cry out to God, ‘O God, forgive my sin’, Jesus said, ‘First, forgive those who have hurt you.’”

Forgive and you will be forgiven

I had a young man who was translating for me. When I began talking about forgiveness. This young man who was from the Bible School – there was so much pain in his heart, he had such a memory of what had happened only a few weeks before: when I began to say to the people, if you want God to forgive you, you must forgive others first, that young man could not translate. Tears ran down his face. He stood next to me in that stadium. I was saying, “God says, first you must forgive”. He couldn’t say it. I don’t know, maybe his father or mother had been killed. Maybe many of his relatives had been in prison. The more I was saying forgive, the more he was silent. Tears running down his face. He could not speak even those words. Then the pastor of the church understood what was happening, came and began to speak to the people. He said, “You have to understand, the Securitate, the secret police, are in the stadium here. I want you, who have been persecuted; I want those of you who have suffered; I want you to go to those men who have abused and hurt your family, and I want you to put your arms around them and forgive them. Only when you forgive, can God forgive you.” Do you understand? God is not here to condemn our sin. God is here to forgive us. To love us. God’s forgiveness is the greatest miracle. Of all the religions in the world, nothing is like the message of Jesus Christ. When He says I will forgive every sin; every sin can be forgiven. But first, you must have love in your heart, and forgive those who sinned against you.

‘Lamb of God’ used by kind permission of