How to seek forgiveness
Text: Gen. 33:1-11
Many times, we have been taught how to forgive, but not much on how to seek it. Possibly, this is the reason many people that have been forgiven have not enjoyed the peace that comes with forgiveness.
Today, I observe that many would have obtained forgiveness, if they truly know how to seek it and go for it. Many could be set free, if they can only follow the process. There are many people who have been forgiven, but have not received forgiveness.
There are passages in the Bible that call our attention to the need to seek forgiveness and make peace with those we have offended and we know. In Matthew 5:23-26, Jesus admonished us to take the matter of seeking forgiveness seriously. But that passage didn’t tell us what to do when seeking it. This is the reason God is sending us this message today.
We can learn from the life of Jacob, who at a time wronged his brother and ran away. But the truth is that running away from one’s wrongdoing is just postponing the evil day. When Jacob finally had to return to face his brother, our passage shows to us the steps he took to obtain forgiveness from his brother Esau. This can be practised by those who need to seek forgiveness from God and man today.
Steps To Seek Forgiveness:
• Admit -Your fault even if it is just 30 percent. The blame game does not help in securing forgiveness. Trying to exonerate yourself will also not help. Focus more on where you are wrong not on where you are wronged.
• Resolve – To make peace with your neighbour, yourself and your God (Rom. 12:18, Heb. 12:14)
• Make Effort To Correct The Errors: If you are going to secure forgiveness, you must,
(a) Show Respect/Humble yourself – The one you offend is higher than you not necessarily by age (vs.3). In spite of Jacob’s exploits and possessions, he humbled himself before his brother. By Jacob’s own testimony, the Lord had been gracious to him by providing children and material possessions (Genesis 33:11). But though he was favoured with family and worldly goods, Jacob’s life was incomplete without settling accounts with his brother.
(b) Make no excuses – In your discussion, make no excuses for your misdemeanour.
(c) Speak positively, not negatively. Ensure that your words are mixed with salt and grace.
(d) Make an offering of peace. Sometimes, you might need to offer the one you have wronged or disappointed a peace offering (8-11)
• Be Prepared For A New Relationship – When you take right steps towards seeking forgiveness, you will definitely have a new relationship (Gen. 33:4)
The mission of one Christian organisation is to promote the healing nature of forgiveness. One of their activities involves a skit in which a person who has been wronged is strapped back to back with a rope to the wrongdoer. Only the one sinned against can untie the rope. No matter what he does, he’s got someone on his back.
This means, without forgiveness i.e. without untying the rope, he cannot escape. Forgiveness brings healing to both the wronged and the one who committed the offence. As Christians, we must be ready to forgive and those who do something wrong must be humble to seek forgiveness. Only then can peace and healing flow like river. Is there someone you have wronged? Seek forgiveness today. If those who have wronged you come to you to seek your forgiveness, be ready to minister grace to them. I see your healing manifesting, as you listen to the Lord’s voice. Shalom.
Rev. Dr Israel Kristilere, Shepherdhill Baptist Church, (Sanctuary of Grace & Glory), Baptist Academy, Compound, Obanikoro, Lagos.
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