Jesus is the best all-inclusive there is.
1) Firstly, He forgives all sins! (Well except for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit) — for all practical purposes all sins! Everything! He is an all-inclusive forgiver.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ” 1 John 1:9
Jesus was in the business of forgiving sins — before all else — as he forgave the paralytic “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2-8), the woman caught in adultery “neither do I condemn you, no go and leave your life of sin” (John 8:3-11), the woman who anointed his feet with oil “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:47-50), the criminal on the cross “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:39-43) and ultimately the people who crucified Him “Father Forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
2) Secondly, the question is — do we forgive all sins? It seems we want to go to the all -inclusive forgiveness God but we only want to dole out semi-inclusive forgiveness in our lives.
I know a person whom I love dearly — but this man is consumed with hatred from a man whom he feels wronged him in a business deal. When this person’s name comes up — his face turns into an ugly scowl and he is very unpleasant to be around. Unforgiveness is a poison. I’ve heard it is like strapping a dead man to your back — they do not care that they have wronged you — but you refuse to let it go!
I know I have been guilty of the — “Well, if they are sorry I’ll forgive them.”. Our forgiveness is to be unconditional. We are to forgive as the other person is still gloating!
After Jesus had his hands and feet hammered onto that cross and just before the men stripped him naked and gambled over his clothing, He said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:32) Then it says, “And they divided His garments and cast lots. And the people stood looking on.”
Amidst the most embarrassing, humiliating, undeserved treatment on the face of this earth — Jesus forgave. He didn’t make an announcement of forgiveness after He was resurrected — He did it in the midst of the trial with only pain and agony ahead!
How dare we spout off that another person should be sorry before we forgive them! Are we better than our Lord? Forgiveness in the midst is true forgiveness. All inclusive forgiveness!
3) Accept God’s forgiveness of the “undeserving.” We also want God to forgive everything in our lives (because of course we have good excuses.) But we want everyone else who has ever wronged us to “get their just rewards” on this earth. We are angry when they ask for forgiveness and receive it. I’ve heard many a person become angry at the thought of murderers and rapists coming to Christ in the hours before their death.
It reminds me of the brother in the parable of the prodigal son was angry when the prodigal brother was forgiven. Flat angry!
His father said:
“Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”
Remember, Jesus told the thief on the cross “Today you will be with me in paradise.” The first Christian was a “deathbed convert.” How great our God is to treat us with such compassion!
Ultimately, we are to forgive because it seems to be the one condition of God’s forgiveness of us. In the parable of the unforgiving debtor in Matthew 18:21-35. Jesus tells of a servant who was forgiven a great debt — say 1 million dollars. Then he goes out and sues, bankrupts, and ruins a man who owes him $100. The king who forgave him the $1 million went and found the evil servant and “unforgave” his great debt!
Jesus goes on to say “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35)
4) I am grateful! I’m so glad God is not semi-inclusive. (“Well, I’ll forgive this that one time — but if you do that over there, you can forgive it!) That is the same legalism that is just part of the wrongness of each other religion. That is NOT what Jesus Christ does! No one deserves His forgiveness, it is a gift!
That is why we Christians can have true joy and peace! We are forgiven! We are free! Hang up that heavy load!
I am so grateful for His forgiveness. Who am I to withhold forgiveness from another?
I feel like the woman in the following verses.
Luke 7:47-50 (New International Version)
47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgivenÂfor she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Have you forgiven everyone in your life? Have you forgiven yourself? Do you harbor resentment against anyone? Ask God to show you whom that is and ask Him to help you forgive now!
I love this post from Billy Graham about the forgiveness given to those who have had an abortion, forgiveness for those who have wandered away from God, and finally, their media clip on how forgiveness is available today.