"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny" (Matthew 5:23-26 NIV).
Often on Fridays, I tweet, "T.G.I.F., Thank God I'm Forgiven (And It's Friday)! I teach Spiritual Gifts at church, and often in Spiritual Gifts class, I will use the acromyn "TGIF" as an icebreaker by asking members to unscramble it to form new words, phrases, and sentences. This exercise helps each person to understand that they have at least one "GIFT," and they "FIT IT," because they are "GIFT-IT" of God to do the work that He has called them to do (Ephesians 4:7-8).
The whole discussion of forgiveness is important because the Bible places forgiveness above or before giftedness, "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
It is sad to see gifted people at odds with each other in the church. What is worse is to see bickering parties continue their anomosity for years, even decades. However, the Bible says not only is there a frequency within which we are to forgive, seven times seventy (Matt. 18:21), but that there is a timeframe within which we are to forgive, "quickly" (v 25). We should do everything we can to resolve our differences often and to settle them out of court, Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge (v 25).
To Forgive or not to forgive?, that is the question. Jesus forgave the unfaithful wife of her sin (John 8:7). Will you forgive someone in your life of their sin? Have we truly forgiven white America for 400 years of oppression? Unforgiveness can cause us to be bound when we stand before Judge Hatchett, Judge Mathis, Judge Judy, or Judge Joe Brown! Forgiveness, brothers and sisters, keeps us out of Divorce Court, The People's Court, the court of public opinion, and most importantly, it keeps us out of God's court where the devil and his demons stand ready to accuse.
If you have something against someone, choose to forgive them and then bring your gifts to God or, "the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny" (v26).
Today, I want to share with you an example of what Jesus can do for us when we choose to forgive. The following is a comment left on one of my blogposts, Jesus Saves Gangsters, Too, at http://www.jesussavesministries.blogspot.com/ in December 2009.
I would like to share my experience, strength and hope with another person. I was shot point blank in the back of the head by my cousin, AND JESUS SAVED ME. I am able to function normally. I have had no serious side affects as a result of this. I not only over came the injury but after 10 years I am able to say through the help of Jesus I forgave my cousin for trying to kill me.Jesus Saves Ministries said...
Your statement is a testimony to the power of Almighty God! Thank you so much for sharing it. It has blessed me and I have sent it on to others to bless them too. Forgiveness takes the offender off your hook and puts him on God's hook where he belongs. Praise be to God for the conviction he gave you to forgive. The world would be a better place if only we could forgive one another.
God bless you!