The Power of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a powerful force. It can transform, heal, deliver, fix, prosper, elevate, bless, and lift anyone. The Cambridge Dictionary defines forgive as “to stop blaming or being angry with someone for something that person has done, or not punish them for something”. When you obtain forgiveness from God, and when you forgive others, it can totally change your life and move you from a place of struggles to a place of ease and abundance.
God does indeed change His mind about something evil He planned to do. Let’s look at what God had planned to unleash on the people of Nineveh of old, and how He changed His mind.
Jonah 1: 1 – 2
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
In the text above we see God give Jonah an assignment to go preach to the people of Nineveh, but if you read the whole of Jonah chapters 1 and 2, you will see that he refused to go. Rather, he went in another direction and ended up getting thrown off the boat he was traveling in, and he was then swallowed by a large fish that people today assume to be a whale. Eventually, God who is a God of the second chance gave Jonah a second chance to do His will.
Has God given you instructions and you have gone in every direction but the one direction God asked you to go? God can give you a second chance if you decide to do what is right today.
So let’s read the next part of the text.
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. 4 And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. 6 Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his [b]nobles, saying,
Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?
10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
How did the people of Nineveh make God change His mind? The Bible says in Jonah 3:10 “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”.
They turned from their evil way, with WORKS to prove it. True repentance is always accompanied by action and a turning away from old ways. You can ask God to forgive you, and turn from your evil ways, and take action to prove your repentance. The Word of God says in 1 John 1 verse 9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.
However, Jesus said that before you can be forgiven, you have to forgive EVERYONE who has hurt or offended you.
Let’s take a look at Matthew 6: 9 – 14
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
If you forgive others, God will also forgive you. And if you do not forgive others, your own sins will not be forgiven. Forgiveness from God brings prosperity, healing, deliverance, and other life-changing blessings. You do not want to miss out on all that by holding on to unforgiveness.
Unforgiveness is such a weight and anchor. Jesus taught in Matthew 18: 21 – 35 that unforgiveness is extremely limiting. It can lead to setbacks, unanswered prayers, and stagnation in life.
Matthew 18: 21 – 35
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
Jesus said you have to forgive from your heart everyone who wrongs you. It does not matter who you are or the nature of the hurt, you have to forgive the person to obtain forgiveness yourself.
So how do you forgive when you have been wronged? Here is a practical tool that works.
1. Think about the person who has wronged you and think about what they did against you. You do not need to minimize it, think about it in full and consider the weight of the wrong and its effect on your life.
2. Then talk to God and say “I forgive ….. for …… done against me”. Say it and begin to mean it from your heart. (Think about how much God has forgiven you for your own wrongs.) Say over and over again that you forgive the person or persons for what they have done, as many times as necessary till it becomes true.
3. Then also pray to God and ask Him to forgive the person, and also ask God not to hold the wrongdoing against the person, but God should forgive and remove the record of wrongdoing from the person.
At the point when you can do that and mean it, you have truly forgiven the person. It may feel phony at first, you may even break down, but keep repeating it from your heart and you will find that suddenly your heart will open up and you truly forgive the person, even if it is through tears. Forgive the person and drop the matter forever.
Do the same for every other person who wronged you and you have not forgiven from your heart. This exercise is very powerful. When you do this you are bound to experience peace and a major breakthrough in various areas of your life in the next few days. Some people who went through this exercise reported that they experienced relationship breakthroughs, marital breakthroughs, career breakthroughs, financial breakthroughs, and healings.
Apparently, their blessings that were held up in the spirit realm were released to them because they obeyed a principle taught by Jesus where He said in Matthew 6: 14 – 15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
When you have sins before God that are unforgiven, it can result in unanswered prayers. Do not forget that what led to the entire conversation about forgiving others in Matthew 6 was that Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray. Unforgiveness hinders answers to prayers. You need to forgive and be forgiven if you are serious about getting answers to prayers.
Forgiveness is such a powerful force!
If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus and made Him the Lord and Saviour of your life, you can do that right now to obtain forgiveness from God, and become a true child of God. You do not need to carry the weight of your sins for one more second. You can pray the SALVATION PRAYER out loud right where you are, and mean it from your heart. God will accept you, forgive you of all your past sins, and make you brand new.
God bless you.
About the Author
Edikan Uko is an entrepreneur, and management consultant focusing on strategic management and innovation. She is also a Bible teacher, speaker, Founder and President of Judah Global Intercessors, and editor of LoveFaithandMiracles.com