From the beginning, God has provided many clear biblical commands. Adam and Eve had directives and commands to follow in the Garden of Eden. God gave Moses commands (10 commandments) for the “children of Israel.” Throughout the Bible, God provides commands as guideposts to help correct, encourage, and strengthen His followers.
While most biblical commands are obvious, some seem more nuanced. One of the most important biblical commands needing some exploration is the command to forgive. Ignoring this command poses grave dangers about where we spend eternity. If the desire for an anticipated heavenly eternity is our focus, forgiveness cannot be taken for granted!
God Commands Us to Forgive
Too many have missed the command for forgiveness due to the nuances involved. But nuances don’t give us excuses! There should be no mistaking that God commands us to forgive, and some key verses provide a biblical “refresher” on this vital issue. Colossians 3:13 teaches us each to bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, to forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Luke 6:37 reminds us Jesus said: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Jesus is quoted in Mark 11:25-26 saying: “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.” Finally, Jesus confirms the command to forgive with this warning: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt 6:14-15.) It should now be abundantly clear that a forgiving heart is mandatory for followers of Christ!
Be Careful Not to Disqualify God’s Forgiveness
The trajectory of American culture (including the church) indicates that many feel justified in being righteously indignant, bitter, and perpetually aggrieved, with no conviction about the necessity and command for forgiveness. Many do not realize that irrespective of any “good” acts or deeds they do, embracing unforgiveness disqualifies God’s forgiveness!
Consider: “What does it mean if God will not forgive you?” The answer to that question should overwhelm the heart and mind! The question then becomes: Is it worth your soul to harbor grievance and unforgiveness while embracing bitterness about your current plight? Is embracing hate and unforgiveness and teaching our children to do the same worth sacrificing their souls? Is the cultural relevance and seduction of vain adoration from “wokeness” so powerful that we are willing to sacrifice eternity? In 2023, our prayers must change to comport with God’s command and expectation; we must become masterful at prayers of forgiveness.
Become a Master at Prayers of Forgiveness
We can and should acknowledge horrible atrocities that occurred in American history, but our sincere 2023 prayer is: “Lord help me to forgive all past atrocities!” We may perceive various acts of targeted brutality and injustices, but our 2023 prayer is: “Lord, please help me to forgive for the racist evils amongst us!” We may suffer with the unshakable emotions of bitterness and grievance that cause hatred and depression, but our 2023 prayer is: “Lord, please restore to me a heart that forgives!”
We may endure disproportional societal disadvantages compared to other ethnicities, but our 2023 prayer is: “Lord, teach me to trust your sufficiency, and forgive me for coveting!” We may have unwittingly embraced Karl Marx’s schemes to divide America and “dethrone God” (Marx’s proclaimed desire) through Marxist tactics encouraging racial hatred, strife, and guilt. Still, our 2023 prayer is: “Lord, help me to embrace your commitment for vengeance on my behalf fully, and help me to forgive those I perceive as working against me.”
We may believe the only way to unite America is through woke machinations of “reparations” (thus ignoring the supremacy of the supernatural works of Yeshua to unite all as expressed in Galatians 3:28 and Ephesians 2:14), but our 2023 prayer is: “Lord, I may feel maligned and abused, but help me to solely rely on you as the ‘repairer of the breach’ (repairing any past grievances or inequities) so I will have the strength to forgive!”
There are endless opportunities to ask for God’s forgiveness. He commands that every situation we face causing any form of hate or angst is brought under His authority and His command to forgive.
A Call for Unity in 2023
In 2023, we all should resolve to repent and forgive. Our prayer should reflect a broken and contrite heart for the neglect of this command while allowing God to fill us with godly perspective to end the anger, bitterness, and hatred that captivated our souls. Let’s pray 2023 brings an end to guilting, shaming, and condemning others (via CRT, Liberation Theology/Black Liberation Theology, and any other “woke”/Marxist themes) since these are indicative of unforgiveness. It is time for the entire Body of Christ to commit to an uncompromising embrace of a heart that forgives. This is vital for genuinely experiencing “unity in the faith.”
The call for unity inspires EBLM in 2023. The entire Every Black Life Matters (EBLM) team has fully embraced God’s forgiveness as the ultimate answer for unity. We answer God’s command for forgiveness and unity by providing training and certification that encourages hearts that forgive. The embrace of forgiveness produces workforce unity and effectiveness strategically. If you are committed to answering God’s command in 2023, please visit us at www.everyblm.com for details on “racial sensitivity” training and certification.
Kevin McGary is an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker. In the arena of civic engagement, Kevin serves as President of Every Black Life Matters, Chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of California and is an executive with the Douglass Leadership Institute and the Northstar Leadership PAC.