What can come between us and God? Offense - being offended, and offending others can cause a division between us and our Lord. It’s often overlooked and/or ignored, but since we are commanded to love our brothers, when we hurt someone else, on purpose, or accidentally, if we know someone was offended, we need to apologize because it’s sin. For some, it could be the very reason their prayers don't get answered.
Jesus said 14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 5 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
Why should it matter to God if we haven't forgiven someone for hurting us? Why is it so important to forgive someone? How does that affect our faith in Him?
Jesus said to pray for our enemies. “44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44-45
He said we have to forgive 70 times 7. Matthew 18:22 “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
He taught us the "Our Father Prayer" and within the text it says forgive us as we forgive others. If we do not forgive, then we harbor that pain within us and it could grow into hating that person, and the beloved apostle John said if we hate our brother, then we don’t love God.
1 John 4:20 “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?”
Jesus said “John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
His command also was to love others. We must forgive someone for hurting us if we want to be forgiven by our Lord. We must. On the other end of offense is the end whereby we are the one hurting someone. Jesus said “23So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against you, 24Leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
That actually says that the Lord doesn't want to hear our prayers if we have offended someone and haven't yet gone to beg pardon. That could be a reason one would not “feel” the presence of the Lord when they try to pray to Him.
It shows us how important apologies are to our Lord. They're so immensely important to our Lord that He doesn’t even want our gifts until we have gone and apologized first to someone we have offended. What kind of gift could we give to our Lord in prayer? I guess it could be our praise, worship, apologies, meditation, and petitions.
He said whatever we do to the least of our brethren, that we do unto Him. (Mt. 25:45) If we offend a person we don’t know and/or care least about, someone who is unimportant to us, that person is actually very important to God, since He created us all.
It is written “Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.” Proverbs 17:5 Wow. Take that one in.
We need to check within us and ask ourselves if we despise anyone. Do you despise your ex or a relative, or a certain nationality? Is there anyone in your life who has angered you so immensely that you despise him or her? It is written “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 97:10
Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” We have to remember it's not the person, it's the evil influence on this earth that caused that person to hurt us; so we need to forgive the person, and hate the evil influence.
Do yourself a favor, if there is someone you need to forgive, do it, and pray for them privately so the Lord will bless you and lift that burden of hatred off of you. That bondage will be released from your spirit and you will be free of one more stronghold that has held your spirit down. You will climb up one more rung of Jacob's ladder, in the spiritual realm, and have that much more joy in your heart, released from the anger and hatred of an offense.
That's how we give it to God, it's through forgiveness. That's how we come closer to God, it's through apologies to others and forgiveness towards others. It's love working.
It's not in our own strength, but the strength of Jesus Christ that we walk as Christians. It's the superhuman power of the Holy Ghost who lives in us that we can forgive. We ask God to help us forgive because we don't want anything to be between us and Him. So we take our burdens to the cross and ask that He intercede, but we must go to the people we know we have offended and say we're sorry. We must, because if we don't, we won't be able to take our gifts to the altar, and God won't have to honor our prayers, according to His Word.
We wonder why we don't receive answers to prayer. Do we have a problem with saying we're sorry? Or does the devil tell us "well, that's their problem".
If we declare we support and defend God's Word, then we also have to adhere to all of it. Apologizing to someone we have offended is in line with God's Word. If we publicly offend someone by and through public declaration, do we not also have to publicly say, well, I'm sorry if it offended you?
Jesus declared to all of us that we have to apologize, and we have to forgive. Since He obeyed God's Word to the death and resurrection, we too, must obey His Word to our death and resurrection, trusting in Jesus Christ's Spirit within us.
1 Corinthians 8:12 “And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ.”