Forgiveness


forgive

Forgiving others is God’s grace lived out and
His prescription for a life without resentment and bitterness.
Just forgive.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I just can’t forgive her (him)”? Maybe you have said that yourself. I might have said it myself. It’s a purely human response when someone has cause you pain, disappointment, or broken a trust. All of us have been violated in some way by another and have known the pain that ensues. That is true! What is untrue is that you “can’t forgive” another, no matter how, and to what extent, you have been wronged. People who hold firmly to that position probably do not understand what forgiveness is and how to do it.

Many people, even many Christians, believe they only need to forgive those who ask for forgiveness, or those who apologize for a wrong. That is false. Forgiveness rests solely with you. If you will forgive another is completely your call, no other person is involved. 

I don’t know how you have been wronged but you feel that something has been taken from you, an offence has been committed against you, and you deserve something…

To forgive someone is to release the offender from his debt, whatever it may be. The idea is that a compassionate lender tells the borrower he does not have to repay the balance of the loan. He is released from the debt.

To forgive someone is to release the resentment and bitterness you have stored up inside you. You visit there often and feel an emotional rush every time. To forgive another is to gather that garbage and throw it out.

To forgive someone is to treat the offender as if you have forgiven them. It means to sincerely desire the best for them, not the worst.

Forgiveness is a choice! But, it is not an emotional choice, it is an intellectual choice. If you wait ’til you “feel like it” you will never forgive someone who has wronged you. The reason you have decided to wait for an apology is that you want to “feel” better. The problem is you can’t “feel better” until after your forgive, not before. You must make a decision. You must tell yourself “I am tired of being bitter and resentful and I’m going to do the right thing and forgive“. Is it that easy? No, it isn’t easy but that’s the way to do it.

You see, all of your hateful thoughts, all of those things that fuel your hatred and disgust, make you more and more bitter, will not leave you unless you decide they have to go! You make the declaration to yourself “This moment I am forgiving _______ from every wrong against me. I will no longer harbor and encourage bad thoughts about him/her. I have set him/her free from the debt owed and I will experience peace where bitterness and resentment have lived.”

If you can’t seem to do this, start praying for the offender. You can’t pray for someone long and resent them at the same time. If you will to forgive soon your emotions will catch up to your thinking and you will experience peace instead of turmoil.

You don’t necessarily have to even tell the other person. In many cases the other person has gone on with life and has no idea you have been bitter for years. Maybe the person is deceased that you have had ill feelings about so long. Or, it might be an ex-spouse better left alone. You see, this forgiveness thing is all about you, not the other person.

Just try forgiveness. It is like a cool drink of water on a hot day, or a deep breath of fresh morning air. It’s so good for you. Bitterness and resentment can’t live in the same space with forgiveness.

I didn’t tell you that you must forgive others, Jesus did.

Forgive!


Lord, how many times should we forgive someone? Jesus said:

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As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:13b)

Forgive? Who me?


forgive

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Have you ever heard anyone say “I just can’t forgive him (or her)”? Have you said it? Perhaps at some time on our journey as followers of Jesus if we have not said it we have thought it.

What a tall order! “Forgiving as God in Christ forgave you.” But, there it is in black and white. What should I take from this? How about you?

Forgiveness is not optional. The text does not begin with”If you should decide to forgive then….”. It says “Forgive“. “Forgiving one another“…implies not only that we are to forgive but we are to be continually forgiving. Being kind and tenderhearted is an attitude toward others, a personality trait of the divine nature. Forgiving must become a way of life. Continual forgiving is continual obedience.

Forgiveness is not limited.

Who are we to forgive? One another. Or, everyone. The perfect plan to never have bitterness and resentment toward others (Christians or non-Chrisiians) is to always be forgiving. There is no person you can’t forgive no matter how awful the offence. How do I know? God says do it!

How are we to forgive? How has God forgiven you in Christ? Freely, before you committed the offence, without you even asking. Your forgiveness was planned before the creation of the earth.

How many times am I to forgive the same person? As often as he needs it. Remember the question asked of Jesus?
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21,22) You are to forgive only as long as a person needs it.

The very worst offenders must be forgiven. From the cross where Jesus was dying to make my forgiveness and yours possible he prayed a remarkable prayer. “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing“. (Luke 23:34) Clear enough?

How can you know you have forgiven? I suggest you can know that you have forgiven.

When you start treating the person as if you have forgiven them. If you are still keeping a clear record of the offence(‘s), if you are avoiding the person, and worse, if you are still talking to others about the offence you have not forgiven. Only when in all of your person you want what is best for the one you claim to have forgiven have you really forgiven.

Begin praying for the person. More than a few times in my ministry I have suggested to one who was bitter and resentful that they begin at once praying for that person every day asking God to bless them and bring healing and forgiveness and peace to them. I have learned from my own experience and the testimony of others that once you start praying, real forgiveness is right around the corner.

Forgiveness is supernatural! True forgiveness, the kind God has for you, is not natural to humans. Our nature is to retaliate, quarrel, fight, gossip, be bitter and envious. Our new nature, Christ in us, is the source of unselfish love and the ensuing forgiveness that is freely and quickly given as we walk in the Spirit saying NO to our old selves. As we depend on the Comforter to be for us what we can’t be on our own He will not fail!

Do you have some forgiving to do? Better get started!

Royce