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Are you a forgiver?  Is forgiveness a quality that you possess?  Are you able to forgive some, but not others?  Can you forgive some types of behavior, but not others?  Do you need forgiveness from someone else?  Do you feel that GOD cannot or will not forgive you?

In scripture the number seven is the number of completed spiritual perfection.  In the Bible the word forgiveness is mentioned exactly seven times.  Is that a coincidence?

Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.  Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.  If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?  But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.  I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.  My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.  Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD [there is] mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.  And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.  Psalms 130

In the depths of despair, the writer of this psalm cries out to God, "Hear me! Hear me!" Despair, depression and hopelessness tends to make us feel isolated and distant from God, but this is the time when we need God most. Anguish over sin should not lead to self-pity. Self-centered pity only causes us to think more about ourselves than God. Instead, the anguish over sin should lead to confession, forgiveness, and redemption through GOD's mercy. When we feel overwhelmed by a problem, feeling sorry for ourselves will only increase hopeless feelings; but crying out to God turns our attention to the one who can really help.

Holding a grudge seems to be a natural thing to do when offended.  Holding a grudge is like building a wall between you and another person, and it is nearly impossible to talk openly while holding a grudge. God never holds a grudge; when He forgives, He forgives completely, tearing down any wall between Him and us. Therefore, we can talk to Him about anything. When you pray, realize that God is holding nothing against you. The lines of communication are completely open.  He loves you.  He is not mad at you.

Jesus not only taught regularly about forgiveness, He also demonstrated His own willingness to forgive. We should be an encouraged to recognize His willingness to forgive us also.

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.  And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.  And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?  For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, then saith he to the sick of the palsy, Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house.  But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.  Matthew 9:2-8

As plainly seen Jesus has the power to forgive sin.among other things.

Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.  And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.  And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?  And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. Luke 7:47-50

A woman with many sins came to Jesus' feet and was forgiven.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. Luke 23:34

The people that whipped, beat, mocked, spit upon, humiliated and crucified Jesus were forgiven.

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:39-43

One thief, crucified with Jesus, was forgiven

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.  w Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. John 8:3-11

A women caught in the act of adultery was forgiven.

Have you ever sinned?  GOD is ready, willing and able to forgive you of your sins.  What does GOD promise to do with your sin?  Since seven is the number of spiritual significance, here are seven of GOD's promises to you, concerning your sin.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1

All your sins are forgiven, and you are blessed!

And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Isaiah 6:7

GOD takes away all your sins from you!

I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. Micah 7:6

GOD executes justice for sin in our behalf.  He brings you to the light.  You can see His righteousness.  Your sin is no more!

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; Acts 3:19

After repentance your sins are blotted out!

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 8:12

God is merciful to you.  He will forgive you your sins.  He will not remember your sins.

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  Hebrews 9:26

GOD made the sacrifice Himself for sin.  Your sins are put away!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

If you confess our sins to GOD, He forgives you your sin, and cleanses you from your sin.  All your sin is gone!

In the book of Matthew, Jesus gives Peter an object lesson in forgiveness.

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  Matthew 18:21-34

In those days, serious consequences awaited those who could not repay their debts. A person lending money could seize the borrower who couldn't repay him and force him or his family to work until the debt was paid. The debtor could also be thrown into prison, or his family could be sold into slavery to help pay off the debt. It was hoped the debtor, while in prison, would sell off his land-holdings or that relatives would pay the debt. If not, the debtor could remain in prison for life.  Jesus' parable concerning debtors and forgiveness occurred at a time when the local rabbis taught that Jews should forgive those who offend them three times. Peter, in trying to be especially generous or maybe even "spiritual", asked Jesus if seven was enough times to forgive someone.  Peter must have known the number seven is associated with spiritual perfection.   But Jesus answered, "Seventy times seven," meaning that we shouldn't even keep track of how many times we forgive someone. We should always forgive those who are truly repentant, no matter how many times they ask.  Do we do this?  This is not easy to do.  Guess that must be part of that "picking up your cross and following Him" business.

Because God has forgiven all our sins, we should not withhold forgiveness from others. Realizing how completely Christ has forgiven us should produce a free and generous attitude of forgiveness toward others. When we don't forgive others, we are setting ourselves outside and above Christ's law of love.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: Matthew 6:14

A high price is required when involved in the forgiving process. The prime example of the high cost of forgiveness was what GOD paid to extend forgiveness to each of us.  He punished His Son, Jesus for our offenses.

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 1 Peter 3:18

Bougainvillea is a beautiful shrub that thrives in temperate climates.  But as anyone knows, who has ever trimmed or pruned the long branches, the plant is covered with long thorns.  It is almost assured that when tending these long colorful arms, thorns or pieces of thorns will become imbedded in any unprotected hand or arm.  Some of the pieces of thorns are almost invisible, but they most certainly hurt when any pressure is applied.  Removing the thorns can sometimes be a painful experience and take some time to accomplish.  But out they must come!  Other thorns are so small that they are not readily felt, but in time the wound festers and out they come as well.

Refusing to forgive or holding a grudge can be like having a thorn in our heart. After a while, we may think it does not matter; but like an invisible barb, the grudge, when pressed, will cause us intermittent pain. We wouldn't think of leaving a thorn in our finger, but we may harbor bitterness and anger associated with a past hurt for years. We may even retain small grudges that after awhile, fester and finally come to the surface.

To forgive can be a great relief, but it takes conscious effort on our part. Praying for those who have hurt us and asking GOD to change our heart can free us from the pain of negative feelings and memories. Forgiveness brings peace and allows us to enjoy the blessings of everyday life.  It is what GOD wants us to do, because He knows it best for us!

Forgiveness brings peace to our hearts.

According to scripture, confession frees us to enjoy fellowship with Christ. That fact should ease our consciences and lighten our cares. But some do not understand how it works. Some feel so guilty that they confess the same sins over and over, and then wonder if they might have forgotten something. Others believe GOD forgives them when they confess, but if they died with unconfessed sins, they would be forever lost. What these people do not understand that GOD wants to forgive us.

When we come to Christ, He forgives all the sins we have committed or will ever commit. We do not need to confess the same exact sins all over again, and we mose assuredly do not need to fear that He will cast us out if we don't keep our slate perfectly clean at all moments. Of course we want to not sin and continue to confess our sins, but not because we think failure to do so will make us lose our salvation. Our hope in Christ is secure. Instead, we confess our sins so we can enjoy maximum fellowship and joy with Him.

True repentance and confession also involves a commitment not to continue in sin. We are not genuinely confessing our sins before God if we plan to commit the sin again and just want temporary forgiveness. We must pray for strength to defeat the temptation the next time it appears. GOD promises!

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Sin is darkness.  Sin is dangerous for us.  It is sobering to remember that we can always be forgiven, but we cannot always escape the consequences.

To be a follower of Jesus means to forgive the inexcusable because the inexcusable has been forgiven in us. Forgiving others is part of denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Him. Forgiveness is an act of love. And to love deeply is to forgive someone no matter w hat. This is what we're called to do.

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another .  John 13:34-35

To forgive, to reconcile, and to love are all choices and actions.

Although we are continually sinning, God is continually forgiving us.

Take the initiative to forgive, then reconcile and finally above all,.love others.  It is a choice that is all yours! 

As always, remember . Be blessed and meditate or meditate and be blessed!!!!.. that choice is also all yours!!  
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