The repeated saying these days is “Don’t expect an apology. Just move on.” I have heard people say “Well, you don’t know what that person did to me. You don’t understand. I cannot forgive them. I will never forgive them.” The Bible says that we cannot truly love the Lord our God while we hold hatred and grudges towards others.
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 1 John 4:20
Here lies the bottom line
Repent. Forgive. Reconcile.
If you do not, then you are sinning against God and are in danger of going to Hell.
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Matthew 5:22
The Bible says that if we do not forgive others then He will not be able to forgive us for our sins. Refusing to do so is rebellion and stubbornness, and the Bible calls these things WITCHCRAFT (1 Samuel 15:23).
There are times when we may not be able to reconcile with someone because maybe they have passed on or we lose contact with them but we can still forgive that person and make reconciliation through God. The Lord God commands us to forgive.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye. Colossians 3:12-13
A story that has always remained prominent in my mind was this story from an African pastor who told how he had an argument with his wife and because of this argument he stopped speaking to her. During this time he was in a car accident and then experienced death. During this time while his heart had stopped God told him that if he died at that moment he would go to Hell all because of his stubbornness of not speaking to his wife. This should be a very serious lesson to us all. You can listen to his story in this video.
Every Christian must be held accountable for their actions. The general attitude today of “Leave me alone. I can do whatever I want. It’s none of your business” is not biblical. We should all have someone who helps to keep us in check. We set very poor examples to unbelievers if we cannot humble ourselves before God and others to sincerely say “I’m sorry, please forgive me,” then let it go and live in harmony. Genuine Christian people have the Holy Spirit which convicts them of any wrong doing. If we keep ignoring the Holy Spirits nudgings to make amends with those we have wounded then eventually God’s gift of the Holy Spirit will leave us and God will let us do whatever we please.
The Meaning of Forgiveness
When we think now of saying something out of the flesh to one of our brothers or sisters, it’s not just going to the prayer room and say “Well, Lord forgive me” and thinking it is just between two people.
When we give someone a cold shoulder and when we just back away from somebody and we isolate them and then we think that is just between individuals. Well, that’s just between me and her. It’s between me and him. No, no, no. Lord show us. It’s not between individuals and we can’t just go to a prayer room and say ‘forgive me, Jesus’ without realizing that we’ve got to go back to the body, to that person, that one we wounded. We wounded Jesus. –David Wilkerson, The High Cost of Mercy–
The Bible says that Christians will be known by their “LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER.”
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:14-15
Therefore, love for one another and forgiveness means that we must REPENT, FORGIVE, and RECONCILE. It means that we should be able to continue to fellowship together without constant reminders or threats of the wrong doings.
Friend, this is not a state of broken fellowship with the Lord. It is, rather, a state of damnation because no murderer, including anyone who hates his brother — whom God calls a MURDERER — has eternal life abiding in him.
Many of you reading these words today religiously carry out church functions. You say the anthems, pray the prayers, recite the creeds, give your tithes, and thank the minister for his sermons. However, YOU OVERLOOK THE SIN IN YOUR LIFE WHICH WILL DOOM AND DAMN YOUR SOUL IN HELL — the malicious hatred being harbored toward others. Get right with God. Godly love is the greatest proof one has that His experience is real. –Jack Van Impe, July 2006–
Division and strife is a very serious spiritual condition within the church right now. If you have hurt someone or even caused them to leave the church or walk away from the Lord altogether then it is your duty to make amends with that person. If you are a Christian, then reconciliation is a requirement, not a choice. You can keep going to church and putting on a good Christian act in front of others, or you can read the Bible everyday for the rest of your days on this earth and praying, or you may sing in the choir or be hailed on a stage as a saint but God knows the heart. Trying to be a good person doing a good deed will not wipe out the wounds you caused in someone else. All the religious activities will not save you from the dangers of unforgiveness and it is unforgiveness if you cannot humble yourself to reconcile and fellowship together.