“Are You a Quick Forgiver?” (From Don Whitney’s “Ten Questions…”)

(From Chapter 9 of Don Whitney’s Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health)Ten Questions

The unforgiving spirit . . . is the number one killer of spiritual life. –James Coulter

Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive. —C.S. Lewis

1. Real Christians want to forgive.

  • Three times in the Gospels Jesus directly connects our forgiveness of others with God’s forgiveness of us (Mark 11:25-26; Matthew 6:14-15; Luke 6:37). 
  • “I say to the glory of God and in utter humility that whenever I see myself before God and realize even something of what my blessed Lord has done for me, I am ready to forgive anybody anything” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones).

2. Ready to forgive verses extending forgiveness.

  • Biblical forgiveness is never given or required where there is no repentance. There is no unconditional unforgiveness. 
  • When Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of those who came against him while on the cross, it was only extended if they repented!

3. Forgive and forget?

  • Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say for humans to “forgive and forget.”
  • Scripture only says that God will not remember the sins against us anymore (Jeremiah 31:34; Psalm 103:8-11). Believers are called to not use forgiven sins against the offender.
  • Satan will bring the offense and the offender to your mind numerous times, but we must be ready and willing to forgive each time (Luke 17:3-4).
  • Be careful that you do not think you have forgiven just because you have forgotten.

4. Probing the heart

  • Are you ready to forgive? Is there anyone you are not ready to forgive? (See Psalm 86:5)
  • Do you need to initiate the process of forgiveness with anyone (1 Peter 4:8)?
  • Do you love forgiveness?
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