FORGIVENESS

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “If you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you “—Matthew 6:14
The Greek word for forgiveness used in the New Testament means “to give up the right to something” hence, to give back your right to redress or grievance.  To offer forgiveness and yet hold a grudge against someone is really not forgiveness at all.  Man’s forgiveness is marred by his hesitance to forget; God’s forgiveness is complete.  On one occasion, Peter asked Jesus, how often am I to forgive my brother if he goes on wronging me – as many as seven times?  Jesus answered, Not seven times but seventy times seven – Matt. 18:21-22.  In other words, never stop forgiving!
 
Forgiveness never comes easy, but it is an absolute must if we are to free our lives of hatred and revenge.  Forgiving each other comes so much easier when we remember that God has extended forgiveness to all who will receive Him. If you expect His forgiveness, treat your fellow men as God treats you.  Try it; make it a daily part of your life.  You will be better for it. 
 
TRY THIS…
If you are thinking, I just cannot forgive, may I share a formula for forgiveness that never fails.  Begin to earnestly pray for the one who has hurt you, and soon you will discover God’s grace to forgive – and forget.

STAY BLESSED

FORGIVENESS WILL SET FREE

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “If you forgive others the wrongs, they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:14 (GNB)

We don’t need to carry extra baggage on the journey to our destiny.

On a recent trip to Bethlehem, I discovered that it is no longer a place of peace and joy. Instead, it’s full of hurt, anger and bitterness. It’s become a hotbed of political strife.

Someone once said that nobody will get out of this life alive. Now that’s true and a bit ironic. I also believe that nobody will get through this life without making mistakes or being hurt by others.

That’s why we need to practice the secret of forgiveness. I’ve counseled thousands of people who lived with shame or bitterness. These two emotions can cripple you.

Have you ever struggled with guilt or anger? Do you know how to forgive yourself and others?

The first five years of my marriage were horrible, for both my wife and me. Denise and I were ill-prepared for marriage, children and a career.

We were even contemplating divorce. In desperation, we went for counseling, and we learned that a good relationship requires the daily process of forgiveness. Our therapist taught us there are three steps of forgiveness:

The act of forgiveness. It sounds like, “Jesus, I forgive my dad for…”

The process of forgiveness. You forgive again and again until you are healed.

You will eventually reach the state of forgiveness. The memory of the event will be there, but the emotional damage will be gone.

The Bible tells us, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26, NIV)

Also, Jesus said, “If you forgive others the wrongs, they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14, GNB)

Forgiveness doesn’t set other people free; it sets you free. Be free on this journey of life because YOU’RE a miracle!

PRAYER: “Dear God, please give me the strength and grace to forgive others when they hurt me.” Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: JESUS.NET

GROWING FROM OUR HURTS

Genesis 50:15-21

Throughout history, people have suffered tremendous injustice and pain at the hands of others. None of us are exempt from conflict, criticism, and mistreatment. The question is, Are we growing more or less like Christ as a result?

Nothing that happens in our lives is an accident. As children of God, we know that everything coming our way is filtered through our Father’s loving, sovereign hands. And He can use whatever we experience to grow us in grace and holiness—yes, even injustice and abuse.

Joseph endured more unfair treatment than most of us can even imagine: He was sold into slavery by his brothers, slandered by Potiphar’s wife, and forgotten in prison. For years, it seemed that no good would ever result, but there was divine purpose in it all. Joseph learned more about God’s ways and was also being trained for the future.

The same is true for each of us. The Lord doesn’t want us to focus on the wrongs done to us and the pain we’ve suffered. Instead, He wants us to keep our eyes fixed on Him. As we read God’s Word, He reveals His ways and purposes, giving us guidance to walk with Him and patience to wait for His timing. And His indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to respond in a godly manner by forgiving those who wrong us.

Think about Joseph’s words to his brothers: “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20). Remember, that is true in your life also. The pain you carry can be used for good if you’ll forgive your offenders and trust the Lord’s ways.

Bible in One Year: John 8-9

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from In Touch Ministries

FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OF BIBLICAL FORGIVENESS  

”Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).

Biblical forgiveness is not a cheap term you just throw around that instantly makes everybody feel better. That’s not real forgiveness.

The Bible says there are four characteristics to biblical forgiveness:

Forgiveness is remembering how much you’ve been forgiven.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV). This is the starting point for genuine forgiveness. If you don’t feel forgiven, you won’t want to forgive anybody else. If you’re hard on yourself, you’re going to be hard on others. But the more grace you receive from God, the more gracious you’re going to be with others. The more forgiven you feel by God, the more forgiving you’ll be toward others.

Forgiveness is relinquishing your right to get even.

Romans 12:19 says, “Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it” (TLB). Life is not fair, but one day God’s going to settle the score. He’s going to right the wrongs. So, who can get better justice—you or God?

Forgiveness is responding to evil with good.

The Bible says in Luke 6:27-28, “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (NIV). How can you tell when you’ve really forgiven somebody? When you can look at that person’s hurt and not just your own, and pray for God to bless him or her.

You ask, “How could I ever do that for the person who’s hurt me?” You can’t unless you allow the love of God to penetrate your life. Only the love of God can help you do something like that.

Forgiveness is repeating the process as long as necessary.

“Peter came to him and asked, ‘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). Jewish law said you had to forgive a person three times, so Peter doubled it and threw one in for good measure. But Jesus said to go even further with your forgiveness

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren.

A Lifestyle of Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:29-32

Showing mercy to those who hurt us does not come naturally— it’s easier to get angry at them and remain that way. We justify our lack of forgiveness by pointing to the injustice that took place or harm that was done. But God commands us to be merciful (Luke 6:36). We who have been shown divine mercy are to practice a lifestyle of forgiveness.

So why don’t we obey? Sometimes our pride gets in the way. We are angered when treated with disrespect, passed over for a job opportunity, or ignored despite our accomplishments. At other times we get focused on other people’s refusal to change, so we withhold mercy until they improve their behavior. And some of us have been badly hurt or treated unjustly. Our minds are filled with such pain that we become stuck in the past and cannot see how we’ll ever be able to forgive.

An unforgiving attitude can have all sorts of unwanted consequences, including broken relationships, emotional bondage, and indifference toward the Lord. The longer we hold on to our anger, the more it will affect our fellowship, not only with other people but also with our heavenly Father. Over time, we may become bitter and hostile, which certainly doesn’t fit with our identity in Christ.

It is hard for us to pardon those who tell lies about us, treat us badly, or cause harm to our loved ones. And yet their behavior toward us is not a reason to withhold mercy. God calls us to forgive as He forgave us—and with His help, we can do just that.

 

Bible in One Year: Lamentations 1-2

God’s Gift of Forgiveness

Inline images 1Colossians 3:12-14

Motivated by love, God provided a way for our sins to be forgiven: He sent Jesus to be our Savior. When we trust in the Lord’s substitutionary sacrifice on our behalf, we receive the gift of forgiveness.

Before placing faith in Christ, we were dead in our sins and objects of divine wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). But our merciful heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus to redeem us. At the cross, the Savior took our sins upon Himself and experienced God’s fury for our sake. His death secured a pardon for us; there was nothing we ourselves could do to acquire God’s acceptance. We are saved by grace—through faith in Christ and what He accomplished (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our salvation is a free gift from the Father.

God’s will is that we, as forgiven people, show mercy to those who wrong us—to the same degree that He forgave us in Christ. But the human tendency is to attach conditions when extending mercy. We think, I will forgive you only if you apologize. Or, You must fix the problem, and then I’ll stop being angry. Or even, You must make restitution before I will let this go. That’s not what our Savior did. Romans 5:8 expresses it this way: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Depending on how much hurt we’ve experienced, we may require time and healing before we can truly forgive. But we are to remember that showing mercy is God’s will. We’re called to pardon those who have caused us pain. Through reliance on God’s Spirit, we can become Christlike and forgive.
Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 51-52