Many of you who receive this letter have come to realize that religion has given you nothing but lies and deception regarding what is called the gospel. The substitute that is preached today is nothing more than a Jesus-flavored set of rules molded in such a way as to trap you. Now, if this is true, what are the chances that the whole idea of forgiveness we learned from this same religious mindset is even CLOSE to the real thing? It's like this: if you bought a car from someone who, you discovered, lied to you about the tires, the engine, the radiator, the radio and the paint job, would you trust the brakes because he TOLD you they were just replaced? I would hope not. But I would venture that your concept of the responsibility to forgive is built upon the deception of religion.
Let me ask you this: Have you ever been, or are you right now, plagued with difficulty in forgiving some people for some things? If so, I have some good news for you ... the whole idea that it is either easy or difficult to forgive someone has NOTHING to do with what it means to forgive. Forgiveness, as you are considering it, is not difficult, but impossible. For it is, in every sense, miraculous.
The difficult is what we learned in the world. It was the expending of energy in HOLDING ON to my reasons to be mad at you or at myself. Ha! We get it all backwards when we think forgiving is hard. That's only because we got used to the struggle, the hatred, the anger, the need to be shown right in condemning our brother or sister. Man, oh, man, are we mixed up!! Holding on to the reasons to condemn you (or myself) took up all of my energies. It took its toll on our minds and our bodies. It changed the way our faces looked. It gave us headaches, and ulcers, and brain tumors, and cancer, but by God, we were going to be justified in our judgments!! Or so we thought. Forgive means not holding on to those reasons.
When Jesus told a man that he was forgiven the religious leaders grumbled, "Blasphemer! Only God can forgive sins!" It's funny how things have changed. They KNEW the impossibility of a man actually forgiving another ... we talk about it as if sometimes it's easy and other times difficult.
But Jesus said
the son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins Matthew 9:6
Don't you hear the announcement of a brand new thing? Jesus had been born of God. You and I often hear the suggestion to forgive and we hear some duty, but it's the proclamation of a freedom.
You know, Jesus didn't forgive because he really, really wanted to ... he had to do something about the offenses. And he was killed for them so that he could take them out of the way. And so he holds nothing against us because there is nothing left to be held against us. He sees us as the new creations he has made us. To see your brother or sister that way is to hold nothing against them. In other words, forgiveness.
When I become convinced that my responsibility to forgive is one of those difficult things that I, as a believer, must bear, then I will hold on to the weight of worthless goods as if the heavy burden is the easier thing to do!! But it only appears this way as I see it through lenses that are colored by the world's logic. And I will condemn myself for my inability. I will also condemn you for yours
Why do we struggle with something that God has already done? To not hold an offense against your brother is the only true perspective ... that is, if Jesus really did take it out of the way!