The Power of Forgiveness

"Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise, take up your bed and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins" - He said to the paralytic, "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." (Mark 2:9-11)

When they bought the paralysed man to Jesus, He asked them the question, 'Which is the easiest, to forgive sin or to make the man walk?' Jesus was the only one with the power to work the miracle and the only one able to forgive sin. So, He said to the man, 'Get up and walk!' Jesus forgave his sin and healed his sickness. 

The key to this miracle is forgiveness. If we want forgiveness from God, we have to be willing to forgive others. When they took Jesus to be crucified, He did not curse His persecutors, rather He said, 'Father, forgive them.' Forgiveness doesn't excuse someone's bad behaviour, but it releases you from the pain they caused.

I can remember some years ago when the freedom first came to Romania. We had fifteen thousand people in a stadium. I was teaching on forgiveness: 'This is what God says, if we want Him to forgive us, we have to forgive those who persecute us.' I was saying to the people in the stadium, 'Your dictator, that tyrant was only killed a few days ago; the secret police who put your families in prison, who killed your fathers, your sons, they are here in the stadium with you. The Bible says, if we want forgiveness, we must forgive.' It was one of the most moving days of my life, thousands of people who had experienced years of persecution forgave those who hurt them. This simple miracle brought a tremendous change. 

Fast forward to 2016, a similar miracle occurred: in response to the military aggression between Russia and Ukraine, I called a National Day of Prayer in Ukraine, saying, 'This is what the Bible says, 'If My people who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray, I will forgive their sin and heal their land.'' In front of 6500 people, leaders from every denomination prayed for the deliverance of Ukraine; but they not only prayed for Ukraine, they also prayed for Russia. They prayed for peace to come between the two nations. To hear those men pray was deeply moving; this is what they said: 'If we had been faithful to God, if we had not sinned, people would not be dying, there would not be war'; they then asked God for forgiveness. God is changing the character of that nation because they asked for forgiveness. 

God says to all of us, 'If My people' – He's not talking to the unbeliever, God is talking to you and me here – 'will humble themselves and pray, I will not only forgive their sin, but I will heal their land.' Throughout the Bible, forgiveness and healing are intrinsically linked, that is why Jesus could say to the paralysed man in Mark 2, 'That you may know the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins, I say to you, arise, take up your bed.'

Search your heart; if you harbour unforgiveness, release the bitterness by forgiving the perpetrator. If you need forgiveness, do as Jesus taught, 'If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.'

Forgiveness has the power to release your miracle. Are you praying for a breakthrough? First be reconciled with those who hurt you, then the healing can flow.