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Posts tagged ‘forgiving others’

Forgive Because You’re Forgiven

SOURCE:  Rick Warren

“Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others”

(Colossians 3:13b NLT, second edition).

The Bible says there are three reasons you have to let go of your past and the people who’ve hurt you, and the reasons have nothing to do with whether that person deserves it or not.

You have to forgive those who’ve hurt you because God has forgiven you.  

Colossians 3:13 says, “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT, second edition). If you want to be a forgiving person, you need to first accept the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. The Bible said that God came to Earth in human form in Jesus in order to forgive everything that’s ever been done wrong. He paid for it so we don’t have to. That’s Good News!

You have to forgive those who’ve hurt you because resentment controls you.

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:9, “Only fools get angry quickly and hold a grudge” (CEV). Resentment makes you miserable, and it keeps you stuck in the past. And when you’re stuck in the past, you are controlled by the past. Every time you resent something, it controls you. Some of you are allowing people who hurt you five, 10, or even 20 years ago to hurt you to this day. That’s stupid. Don’t let it happen. They can’t hurt you any more. Your past is past. You’ve got to let it go.

You have to forgive those who’ve hurt you because you’re going to need more forgiveness in the future.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:14, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (NIV). Forgiveness is a two-way street. You cannot receive what you are unwilling to give.

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Forgive Because You’re Forgiven

SOURCE:  Rick Warren

“Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT, second edition).

The Bible says there are three reasons you have to let go of your past and the people who’ve hurt you, and the reasons have nothing to do with whether that person deserves it or not.

  1. You have to forgive those who’ve hurt you because God has forgiven you.  

    Colossians 3:13 says, “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT, second edition). If you want to be a forgiving person, you need to first accept the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. The Bible said that God came to Earth in human form in Jesus in order to forgive everything that’s ever been done wrong. He paid for it so we don’t have to. That’s Good News.

  2. You have to forgive those who’ve hurt you because resentment controls you.

    The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:9, “Only fools get angry quickly and hold a grudge” (CEV). Resentment makes you miserable, and it keeps you stuck in the past. And when you’re stuck in the past, you are controlled by the past. Every time you resent something, it controls you. Some of you are allowing people who hurt you five, 10, or even 20 years ago to hurt you to this day. That’s stupid. Don’t let it happen. They can’t hurt you any more. Your past is past. You’ve got to let it go.

  3. You have to forgive those who’ve hurt you because you’re going to need more forgiveness in the future.

    Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (NIV). Forgiveness is a two way street. You cannot receive what you are unwilling to give.

Someone once told John Wesley, “I could never forgive that person!” Wesley replied, “Then I hope you never sin.”

You don’t want to burn the bridge that you’ve got to walk across to get into Heaven.

A Prayer for the Will and Strength to Forgive

SOURCE:  Scotty Smith/The Gospel Coalition

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Col. 3:13

Gracious Jesus, every time I pray the “Lord’s Prayer,” I’m confronted with the daily-ness, even the moment by moment call to forgive others.

Usually that’s not a big deal. Maybe it’s because I’m conflict avoidant and would rather wave off an offense than deal with the chaos and mess. But you’ve been forcing the issue over the past few weeks. There’s brokenness in me and all around me. Old wounds are tender again and fresh relational hurts are emerging.

My conflict-allergy is a thin veil for the serial killer that lives within. Even as I write and pray this prayer, names and faces come before me that I know I haven’t forgiven from my heart… or from anywhere else. I’ve enjoyed holding them emotionally hostage by my critical spirit and self-righteous smuggery… but in reality, I’m more a prisoner than they are. It’s been easier to rehearse their sins than repent of the hardness of my heart, and that’s never a good sign.

Help me, Jesus, and others like me. I want to want to be free.

Though I’m convicted, it’s not easy to walk away from the pain.

Self-protection looks a lot better, right now, than a vulnerable heart. What if the same thing happens again? What if I risk trusting but only end up with more chapters of the same story? Even as I pray, I realize how much I need the power of the gospel right now, in this very moment.

Have mercy on me, Jesus. Have mercy on me the sinner. By the grace and truth of the gospel, humble me and free me…

Jesus, I praise you for already forgiving all of my sins—past, present, and future; every sin of word, thought, and deed. And you have robed me—covered me with your perfect righteousness. I praise you for not merely waving off my sins but wading into the mess of my heart. You paid the supreme price for my salvation and transformation, with the currency of your life and death.

As I ponder the riches of your grace for me, of course I admit that my unforgiveness is the greatest non sequitur of all. It does not follow that I can lay claim to being forgiven and at the same time withhold mercy and grace from others. On no terms is this okay.

By faith, I surrender to you right now, but I will not vainly promise anything. You must help me, Jesus. I cannot and I will not do this on my own. Make my worldly sorrow godly sorrow. May your kindness drive me to obvious repentance and change, and soon.

So very Amen I pray, in your holy and loving name.

Forgiving the One Who Hurt Me

SOURCE:  Living Free

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” 

Ephesians 4:32 NIV

If you are divorced or have recently experienced a broken engagement or separation, you probably are having painful feelings of rejection.

The sense of loss felt in these situations can be overwhelming. You thought you were secure and now you suddenly find yourself on your own. You might even have children to care for and inadequate resources of time and money.

Even though you have been rejected by someone very close to you, your attitude toward that rejection is your choice. You may choose to allow the pain of rejection to dominate and define the rest of your life, causing bitterness, depression and self-pity. Or you may choose to forgive the one who has hurt you, to accept your singleness—at least until God leads you in a different direction—and to move on with your life … making the most of each day.

Even with positive choices, the pain won’t immediately disappear—but it will begin to heal. The time and money challenges will still be there, but you will be able to start dealing with them.

We live in a society of “quick fixes,” but recovering from this kind of hurt is a process. Learn to take one step at a time, trusting God to strengthen you and allowing him to love you.

Father, help me to forgive. You have forgiven me of so much, even though I didn’t deserve it. Help me to forgive and to begin rebuilding my life. I know I can only do that with your strength, your love and your guidance. Thank you for freely giving me all this and more. In Jesus’ name …

Bitterness Is Like a Dirty Diaper

SOURCE:  Jeff and Debbie Schreve/Family Life Ministry

I was never good at changing dirty diapers. My wife, Debbie, changed many more diapers than I ever did with our three girls. Whether it was a weak stomach or a strong sense of smell, or just a selfish aversion to the task, I had trouble with dirty diapers. When there was no other way out and I had to do it, I’d wrap a towel around my face just to be able to handle the odor. And then, after I got that soiled diaper off the baby, I disposed of it as fast as I could. No one wants to linger in the presence of a dirty diaper.

When it comes to an unforgiving, bitter heart, understand this: Holding on to past hurts is like clinging to a dirty diaper. Refusing to forgive someone who hurt you is just like taking a soiled diaper and, instead of throwing it away, tucking it away in your breast pocket … and carrying it with you everywhere you go. That’s exactly what we do when we won’t forgive those who have hurt us, whether accidentally or intentionally. We take all that hurt and all that dirt and filth and bring it into our hearts, and we say, “I’m hanging on to this.” The irony, of course, is we imagine that by holding on to the dirty diaper, we will somehow hurt the person who has hurt us. How foolish.

Someone once said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and thinking it will kill the person who hurt you. But it never hurts him; it just hurts you. If you drink the poison, then you will be poisoned … and your offender will go on enjoying his life.

God says you need to forgive, and that’s how you get rid of all that anger churning around inside you. You forgive the father who hurt you … the child who betrayed you … the employer who used and then discarded you … the business partner who cheated you … the spouse who divorced you … the friend who demeaned you. You let it go.

How do you do that? Maybe it will be a little like Peter’s experience in Matthew 14, when he crawled over the edge of the boat on that stormy night, and put his foot on the water. He had certainly never walked on water in his whole life until that moment, and really had no idea how he was going to do it this time. But Jesus had said, “Come,” so Peter stepped over the edge and did the impossible. And that first step was probably the most frightening one of all.

Even though you may not feel like doing this—even though it may seem as difficult as stepping over the side of a boat on a wild, windswept night—you must say, “God, I need You, and I affirm that at this very moment, I forgive the person who hurt me. Father, You deal with him [or her], and please let Your transforming grace flow through my heart right now.”

In Romans 12, Paul wrote: “Never pay back evil with more evil … Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord” (verses 17-19, NLT).

People who refuse to forgive those who have harmed them must deal with the Lord’s strong, sobering words in Matthew 6:14-15: “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.”

Wow. Did you catch that? If you won’t forgive those who hurt you, He won’t forgive you.

Someone once told a famous preacher of yesteryear, “I cannot forgive this man for what he did to me.” And that preacher wisely replied, “Well then, I suggest you never sin again, because God won’t forgive you if you won’t forgive that man.”

Maybe that’s where you are today. Perhaps you are holding on to a memory of something someone did to you or said to you five years ago—or 10, or 20, or 50 years ago. You’ve clung to the dirty diaper of unforgiveness all this time, and it’s become toxic to your system. We fool ourselves if we claim that we have a walk with the Lord while still holding on to bitterness and hatred in our hearts. How can we be in fellowship with God when He has told us clearly that He won’t forgive our sins unless we forgive the sins of others against us?*

Be honest here. Are you having difficulty forgiving? Then remember how often you have offended God, and how much He has forgiven you. You’ve hurt Him countless times more than anybody could have ever hurt you. You’ve sinned against God over and over (and over and over …) again, and so have I. But God has forgiven us by His grace … and that grace enables us to forgive others.

*Editor’s note: This Scripture does not tell us that we will lose our salvation if we do not forgive others.  Instead, it speaks of a believer’s daily walk with God, and the fact that unconfessed sin will short-circuit our relationship with Him.  See 1 John 1:5-10.

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Excerpted from Runaway Emotions, Copyright ©2013 by Jeffrey B. Schreve. Used with permission from Thomas Nelson.

GOD DESIRES FOR YOU TO EXPERIENCE COMPLETE FORGIVENESS

SOURCE:  Charles Stanley

Forgive me? How could God ever forgive me? You don’t know what I’ve done.”

“Forgive that person after what she did to me? You’ve got to be kidding!”

“I can’t believe I’ve done such an awful thing. I can never forgive myself for doing that.”

These are confessions I have heard often as a pastor. They are the confessions of people who have godly parents, who have grown up in church, and who have heard sermons about forgiveness all their lives. And yet, they persist in believing that there is something unique about their situation that puts them beyond the realm of God’s forgiveness.

The result is bondage.

The bondage of living in guilt and unforgiveness stifles a person’s ability to love and to receive love. It stunts the growth of a marriage and friendships. It keeps a person from entering into all that the Lord might have for him in the way of ministry or outreach. It keeps a person from enjoying the full abundant life that Christ promised to those who believe in Him (John 10:10). And bondage, my friend, is never the desire of God for His children.

God’s desire for you today is that you be free in your spirit—free to embrace all the blessings, challenges, and joys that the Lord has for you now and in your future. God’s desire is for you to experience complete forgiveness, which is forgiveness of your sins and a full restoration in your relationship to the Lord God, forgiveness of others who have wronged you, and forgiveness of yourself.

Limited forgiveness will never do. Complete forgiveness is required if you are to know personally and fully that God is your loving heavenly Father, and if you are ever to reach your personal destiny in this life.

 A Definition of Forgiveness

Forgiveness does not mean, “It didn’t matter.”

If you have been hurt by someone, or if you have committed a sin, it does matter.

There is no justification for sin that stands up in God’s presence. If you have sinned, you need to recognize that your sin is a blot on your soul, one that you can’t and therefore shouldn’t attempt to sweep under the rug or ignore. Sin matters. Hurt, pain, bondage, and guilt come in the aftermath of sin, and you are unwise to try to deny their reality.

Forgiveness does not mean, “I’ll get over it in time.”

The memory of a particular incident or action may fade with time, but it never disappears.

If you have committed a sin before God, the effects of that sin remain in your life until you receive God’s forgiveness for it. You may not immediately feel the consequences of your sin—which can cause you to think that God has overlooked your sin or that it has been resolved in some way—but the consequences of sin will manifest themselves. They lie as dormant “bad seeds” in your life.

The same holds true for a wrong that another person commits against you.

You may think that time will heal. Time by itself doesn’t heal anything. Only the Lord Jesus Christ and His forgiveness working in and through you can heal the hurt you have felt. A wrong that you attempt to bury will only rot in your heart and very easily can turn into bitterness, anger, and hatred—all of which are not only destructive emotions to the person who harbors them, but the root of destructive behavior that may affect others.

Forgiveness does not mean, “There will be no penalty.”

Some people believe that God skips over certain sins when He surveys the hearts of people. This is usually the response of people who hope that God will make a detour around their sin and that they’ll get away with their sin.

There are other times, however, when we are fearful that God will forget to punish those who have wronged us. They may even seem to be prospering, and we feel a need to hold on to our unforgiveness until we are certain that the other people are punished in some way. We hold on to the prerogative of vengeance just in case God has forgotten about the incident or in case He intends to do nothing about it.

At still other times, we know we deserve to be punished, but God doesn’t seem to be taking any negative action against us, so we refuse to forgive ourselves as a form of self–punishment.

These definitions don’t hold water when they are subjected to the truth of God’s Word.

Sin matters. It always matters.

Sin and the effects of sin don’t disappear over time of their own natural accord. Sin must be forgiven, or it remains unforgiven.

Sin always has consequences. It always bears with it the ultimate penalty of death.

What, then, is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is “the act of setting someone free from an obligation to you that is a result of a wrong done against you.”

Forgiveness involves three elements:

1. An injury. A wrong is committed. Pain, hurt, suffering, or guilt is experienced (consciously or subconsciously).
2. A debt resulting from the injury. There is a consequence that is always detrimental and puts someone into a deficit state of some kind.
3. A cancellation of the debt.

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Stanley, C. F. (1996). Experiencing forgiveness. Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

FORGIVENESS: IT IS SO HARD TO DO!

SOURCE:  Stepping Stones/Lighthouse Network

Forgiveness: An Act of Service

In some ways, forgiveness is so simple and in other respects so complicated.

And that’s true whether we are trying to forgive ourselves or a person who has hurt us.

[. . . forgiveness:  IT IS SO HARD TO DO!

Like most psychological activities, forgiveness is a skill; nobody is born good at it. Learn it the right way, then practice, practice, practice. , and you will get much better at it.

Forgiveness is one of the most important choices to act on after receiving eternal life through Christ’s death on the Cross. Why? Extending forgiveness to those who have wronged us acknowledges our understanding of God and His forgiveness of us. To have a relationship with God and live in Heaven with Him we need God’s forgiveness for our sins. We then need to live in that forgiveness and forgive ourselves. That’s easier said than done, if you really analyze your view of yourself and some of your motivations.

 Jesus came to die for us so we can live in an intimate and incredible relationship with God … an Abundant Life … liberated from sin and Satan. God created us to do good works and to be shining lights. We can’t become all God designed us to be if we harbor resentment and bitterness towards others or ourselves. It is vital that we make the choice, yes, a decision, to forgive and, if possible, to reconcile with the person who has hurt us.

The first step towards reconciliation begins with your thoughts. One of several areas to think about is the other person’s needs rather than their faults. How can you serve that person and God by forgiving him or her? Then begin to think well of that person and speak well of him or her to someone close to you, drawing attention to strengths and needs, rather than offenses. Next take action … begin to seek reconciliation.

You might be in a difficult situation in which the other party is not willing to reconcile. If this is the case, make sure you have forgiven in your own heart. Then keep yourself ready to pursue further reconciliation, if and when the other person is ready.

Today, ask God to open your eyes, using spiritual lenses to see the other person’s needs and issues. Wait on God’s timing for the individual to join in total reconciliation. It may not be safe to be physically reconciled with some people. Don’t try to force it … let God work it out in His way and time. You are responsible for your heart and your part, not the other person’s.

Above all, remember that Jesus loves you, and He will give you the strength and courage you need … abundantly. Forgiveness is your decision, so choose well.

Prayer

Dear Father God, in all my relationships, help me dwell on things worthy of praise, not things to curse. And especially help me to do this when I think or speak about the one who has offended me. May I walk in forgiveness and be open to reconciliation in Your way and in Your time. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One died for my forgiveness so I can extend it to others;  – AMEN!

The Truth

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious … the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Philippians 4:8

 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

Romans 3:23-24

 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of a sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.

Galatians 5:16-17

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