One of the greatest things about God is his love for us. His love allows us to be forgiven of our sins. What a wonderful gift to be given. But along with this wonderful gift comes responsibility. Your responsibility, and we are commanded to do this, is to forgive each other.
12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
What James is saying is if you don’t show mercy to people who have sinned against you, why should God show you mercy? To have mercy on someone is much more in tune with God than to judge him or her. God loves them and that means you should love them also. But in order to love others you need to be able to have mercy on them and forgive them.
I look upon the church of Corinth and compare it to churches today sometimes. To me the division in the churches today is caused by the same things that caused the divisions that occurred in the church in Corinth. In Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth I find a whole bunch of great advice that he gave to the people to try to help them straighten the church out because it has lots of problems.
2 Cor 2:5-11 Paul is telling them how to deal with a person who has committed incest and they kicked him out of the church. He advises them to keep this person in the church, to forgive him so that he does get too depressed and leave an opening for Satan to enter.
5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent-not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven-if there was anything to forgive-I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
Here you have a person who has committed incest and found out. He is already ashamed of that and then they kick him out of the church. The person is already down now beaten and alone. He wants to repent, but needs help to get back on track. That just leaves the door open for Satan to enter.
God has always allowed for mercy and forgiveness. Even in the time of Abraham. In Genesis 18 God asks Abraham if he doesn’t want to see what is going to happen because God is ready to just wipe out all of Sodom and Gomorrah because they were just overflowing in sin. But Abraham Pleads with God and says what about the righteous people? And God says “hey… if I can find 50 righteous people I will save everyone” and then Abraham says what if there are only 45? God says if he can find 45 he will not destroy it. Abraham keeps going down in number until he finally gets down to 10 and he says “What if only 10 can be found?” and God says for the sake of the ten I will not destroy it.
See God knows that if there are righteous people that they can teach others the word of God. And he is willing to forgive the sins of everyone because he knows the righteous can do this. Isn’t that just an awesome thought! What a forgiving God he is.
In Matthew 18 Jesus tells a parable about an unmerciful Servant.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
“The servant fell on his knees before him. `Be patient with me,’ he begged, `and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. `Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, `Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. `You wicked servant,’ he said, `I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
How can you ask for forgiveness if you are not willing to forgive other people? Why should God give you special treatment over them? Why should he forgive you? Are you better than the others? NO… and God knows this. He is going to treat you in the same way you treat others.
God will humble you so that you realize you are just as good, but not better than the next person. He will not bless you until you wake up and see the truth of his word. The truth is that pride has no place in heaven.
One of the things that many have trouble understanding is just how awesome God really is. He is so awesome that he would rather have mercy on you and forgive you rather than punish you for committing sin. He would rather you repent and be washed clean.
Isaiah says the words exactly give up your evil ways and turn to God, He will have mercy on you and forgive you.
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
That is why God sent Jesus. He wants to be able to forgive our sins. So he gave his Son Jesus as a sacrifice. But you must also be a sacrifice so that your forgiveness may be whole and clean. The sacrifice you must make is to give up pride. You must forgive others so you may be forgiven.