A Little Child Can Forgive
July 30, 2017
As we look at HOW to forgive, Jesus’ puzzling requirement in Matthew 18 to repent and become as a little child is at the heart of it all. What did He mean?
(John) Well, Martha and I come to you today from Columbus, Georgia. We have both socked ourselves away basically in order to write. I’ve been writing for the blog, and she’s been writing something amazing. She’s been writing Altogether Forgiven. As I’ve told you in recent podcasts, The Mystery of Discipleship: A 91 Day Epic Voyage as a Disciple is at the printer and will be available at the conference. We had also anticipated having Altogether Forgiven done and have it there. Again, as I said on a video recently, it would be a miracle. And it truly would be a miracle if that was able to get done, because of the fact that, you know, the process of pre-flight for the printer’s and stuff like that, it’s a lot of work. But it could be done. There’s a possibility, but if not, it will be available shortly after. And she has been writing on that, and she came over the other day, and she read me something from it. And I both laughed hysterically and wept. It was kind of like a roller coaster ride where I started with just hysterical laughter about the condition of man and how she described it. And then rolled into the solution of Christ. And I just went into just weeping. So, I’m really excited about ya’ll getting this book. I think you’re going to be pretty amazed. It’s been completely expanded from where it was an article series on ReadMK.com. It’s really grown and grown and grown. It’s become, really huge right now. I mean, it’s… And then yesterday she basically, we were talking and she came up with, you know, this whole direction. And then I said, “Well, Martha, that’s another book. That’s totally another book. You’ve got two books.” So, she literally has two books going at the same time and preparing for the conference. So, this is a busy season. So, this is why we used our points, and we’re able to get some free rooms for a number of days. And when you do that kind of stuff you basically go where they’re going to give you the best deal, which was Columbus, Georgia, which is very warm and… But it’s been perfect. It’s been absolutely perfect. So, Martha, can you tell me anything about the book, Altogether Forgiven? And just whet some appetites.
(Martha) The question is going to be when you see how necessary it is to forgive, then the question is, “How? How do you go about forgiving?” And I’m going to give that away. It’s Matthew 18, verse 4. For many years I have taught and called, “Return and be a child.” God can deal with you only as a child. And there’s no end to that, really. In the last three years I’ve been reduced. And how you become a child is God reduces you, takes away your abilities and strengths and reduces you ever more and more as a child. And that’s… John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” But it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful to be a child. Jesus said to the disciples… They said, “Who’s the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” “And He called the little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them, and He said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent,” and repent means change and turn around, “and become like little children, trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving, you can never enter the Kingdom of heaven at all. Whoever humbles himself therefore and like this little child, trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving is greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” And a little child is poignant that I can remember. You ask a little child to forgive you and they say, “Oh, oh, mommy, I forgive everything.” They don’t even know what forgive means. But they say, “If that’s what you want, I forgive you.” And if you express sorrow to them, they’ll hug you and tell you, “It’s okay,” and they are just that simple. They operate in that much simplicity. They respond spontaneously. They may not understand what you’re saying, but they know your sorrow, and they want to comfort you for the sorrow. So, I’m familiar with that. I have sweet memories of that spontaneous willingness to say, “It’s okay. I forgive you.” But what we don’t understand is the child – turning around and becoming a child is a matter of repentance. He says, “Unless you repent and become as a little child, you can never enter the kingdom at all.” And “Whoever will humble himself.” It’s a matter of humility, too. But the child forgives. The little child. When we become small and simple and utterly honest like a child, then forgiveness is simple. And He goes on in Matthew 18—I won’t go in here, but that will be in the book. Matthew 18 is the big chapter on forgiveness and from all different aspects, but He starts with the little child. So, that means that forgiving is in the capacity of the child, a dependent being. So, I think the essence of a child is honesty. When we become like Nathaniel without any facades, without any pretense, without any…
(Martha) …any guile, any hidden agenda, any mask and so forth. And that’s possible to be. That’s becoming very simple and basically just a normal human being in need of everything from God. So, the child represents one who can receive and one who can feel. And God reduces you to that. If you want Him, He will reduce you. He’ll undertake the task of reducing you to a child. So, I’m going to show you how simple forgiveness is. It’s very, very simple.
(John) I can say that would have been one question I would have had for you is, “Tell me how to know you have forgiven,” because I can say it all day long and you’ve made comments about that one lady that said, “You must forgive,” and you said, “Well, I said it.” And she said, “I don’t care if you said it, it’s…” So, I’ve wondered how do you know that you have forgiven?
(Martha) Well, I’m going to tell you how to forgive, and then I’ll address that. I’m going to take you to Psalm 46:10 in the Amplified. It says, “Let be and be still and know, recognize and understand that I am God.” Any unforgiveness, any offense makes you upset and strive and feel a lot of bad feelings and so forth. But the issue is to let the situation be and be still. And the word here, “Be still and know that I am God,” that’s so deep, because to calm down and let it be what it is. You can’t change somebody’s actions toward you or words to you. You can’t change that. So, let it be. Jesus said, “Resist not the evil men do to you.” He said, “Rejoice when you are persecuted for My name’s sake.” You have great reward. So, our response to an offense, a hurt has to be entirely different than is humanly normal.
(John) Um hmm.
(Martha) You can’t do, you can’t change it. You can’t make them think differently or do differently toward you. You have no power in the situation, so you let it be, and let it be God’s. In my experiences with the Lord during the writing of this book, one of the experiences was to see the absolute vulnerability of the Lord Jesus on the cross. He did not resist whatever was done to Him. And it was hideous, and He didn’t have any resistance. No protection and no resistance. And you think that would not be possible. And it is only possible for the Son of God dying in the power of God. So, “Let be and be still.” And the objective of everything God puts His sheep through is to find out He is God.
(Martha) So, it’s a very significant. To me it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” The word know there is yada.
(Martha) Y-A-D-A. And it represents the most intimate acquaintance, and there’s nothing more intimate than Christ in you. And so, you come in union to deal with offenses. You come in to know Him. And the outcome of it always is to “Know that I am God.” Joseph was put in prison by an unjust accusation, and I think he was there thirteen years. I’m not sure that’s right, but anyway he was there a long time. He looked to the baker to get a word to Pharaoh. He looked for the cup bearer to look… and one of them didn’t ever return, and the other one did. But eventually he was out of prison and made second in the kingdom to reign. You see, John, God’s behind every offense, and that’s the difference in this book on forgiveness. It’s God who’s behind it. That seems unbelievable, but it’s scripturally true, and it is sovereignly true. He’s behind every offense.
(John) Um hmm…
(Martha) So, what His intention is that you will know Him through the offense and find out He was over the offense and that “all things work together for good to them that love Him.”be
(John) Wow! Wow, wow!
A Little Child Can Forgive – Episode #556 – Shulamite Podcast
How do you know if you’ve truly forgiven? In order to answer that question, Martha and John look at how to forgive in the first place. Jesus revealed the answer to this question with a puzzling requirement: repent and become as a little child. What did He mean?