We cannot live without forgiveness—without receiving it or without granting it. The unforgiving mind becomes a sick mind, and before long it leads to a sick body. The rabbis advocated forgiving a man three times, Peter suggested seven, but Jesus said seventy times seven. It is not a matter of mathematics, but of compassion. Christ intends His church to be a fellowship of forgiveness. If there is a rift there, the infection of sin will find it, and ruin will follow.
Without forgiveness from God we shall live forever in hell; unless we grant forgiveness to others, we shall make a hell for ourselves on earth. We are not equipped to deal with stored up grudges. The resulting bitterness will destroy us. We must turn loose all ill feelings and be free of them, for happiness is impossible for anyone who refuses to forgive (Anonymous).
FOUR STRANDS IN GUIDANCE
- God guides through circumstances (Acts 16:10). God closes some doors and open others; our responsibility is to be sensitive to His leading and to follow through the doors when they open.
- God guides through other Christians, as He did in Acts 6 when the whole multitude chose seven, or in Acts 13 when the Spirit spoke to the church at Antioch about the need for Paul and Barnabas to go abroad. Personal convictions should be opened to testing by the guidance of other Christians. If our convictions really come from God, others who are in touch with God will confirm it.
- God guides us through the Scriptures. The Spirit who inspired their writing is perfectly well capable of taking some of them and writing it on our hearts so that it becomes an inescapable pointer to a particular course of action. Colossians 3:16’’’An increasing broad appreciation of the Scriptures will give us a developing ability to scent the will of God in any given situation.
- God guides us in prayer (Colossians 3:15). There is such a thing as praying a situation through until one is virtually sure of the will of God on the matter. One has a deep inner peace about it; not absolute intellectual certainty, but practical confidence, which allows one to proceed to action with joyful assurance. These are some of the ways in which the Holy Spirit illuminate not only the person of God but His will for us. He is the Supreme Teacher for Christians who are growing in grace.