“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14-15, NASB).
I watched “Ang Alamat ng Ampalaya (The Legend of Bitter Gourd)” of the past episode of “Ang Mahiwagang Baul (The Mysterious Box)” on GMA NEWS TV channel 11 this morning. Angelu De Leon portrayed as Amparo who was so beautiful outside but evil inside. Amparo was punished by the beautiful goddess due to harsh criticism against the stammered man, to the people and disobedience to her parents including the members of the household. The beautiful goddess (portrayed also by Angelu De Leon herself) gave a warning to Amparo to change her heart but she refused to heed of the goddess’s advice. The reason of Amparo’s punishment due to pride, disobedience and unforgiven. The result, she became a bitter gourd ’til the end of the story. Moral lesson: Never imitate the evil attitudes of Amparo due to bitterness and pride!
I don’t really believe the Filipino myths nowadays. Let’s turn to our reality that we must learn the teachings of the Lord Jesus to forgive each other as God will forgive you. For me, I had bitterness in the pasts but I have humbly forgiven them. I learned from our Lord Jesus Christ when he was nailed on the cross and said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34, NASB).
I always pray to forgive them but I don’t have time to retaliate those people who persecuted or oppressed me in the pasts. Well, I won’t really forget the 4th session called “Love is Forgiving” on the “40 Days of Love” at CCF-Alabang a month ago. Now I am sharing with you about the Three (3) Steps of Forgiveness which was preached by Rick Warren:
1. I relinquish my right to get even. “Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it” (Romans 12:19, LB). You don’t hurt the other person with your resentment — you’re only hurting yourself.
Three reasons to forgive others:
– God has forgiven you.
– Bitterness makes you miserable.
– You are going to need more forgiveness in the future.
The Lord’s Prayer says, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12, NKJV).
2. I respond to evil with good. “ Do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28, NIV). “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21, NIV).
3. I repeat the process as long as necessary. “ Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “ No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:21-22, NLT). “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13, NLT).
Don’t try to forgive on your own power. Recognize and accept God’s forgiveness of you. Then ask for his strength and power to go through you to forgive others.*
*40 Days of Love: We Were Made For Relationships booklet (published by Saddleback Church, 2008) p. 40