Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Forgiveness is about GRACE


Ephesians 4:29-32 (TM) Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. (30) Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted. (31) Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. (32) Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.


We can bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit by the way we live. Paul warns us against unwholesome language, bitterness, improper use of anger, harsh words, slander, and bad attitudes toward others. Instead of acting that way, we should be forgiving, just as God has forgiven us. Are you bringing sorrow or pleasing God with your attitudes and actions? Act in love toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, just as God acted in love by sending his Son to die for your sins.
Paul said "Forgive each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." In other words God's forgiveness is underneath ours and creates it and supports it. So that if we don't give it to others-if we go on in an unforgiving spirit-what we show is that God is not there in our lives. We are not trusting him. And not trusting him will keep us out of heaven. And cause us to be handed over to the tormentors (Matthew 18)


What Is Forgiveness? Let me share with you, ten things that Forgiveness is:

1. Being aware of what they did, and still forgiving them.
2. Choosing to keep no records of what they did.
3. Refusing to punish them back.
4. Not telling others what they did.
5. Being merciful.
6. Gracious.
7. It is an inner condition and surrender of our wills to forgive.
8. It is an absence of bitterness.
9. It is forgiving God.
10. It is forgiving ourselves.

The Lord's Prayer says: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Three hundred years ago Thomas Watson, asked regarding this verse: “When have we really forgiven others?”

We know we have forgiven when we…

1. Resist all thoughts of revenge: Romans 12:19 “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord.”
2. Don't seek to do them mischief: 1 Thessalonians 5:15 “See that no one repays another with evil for evil.”
3. Wish well to them: Luke 6:28 “Bless those who curse you.”
4. Grieve at their calamities: Proverbs 24:17 “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.”
5. Pray for them: Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”
6. Seek reconciliation with them: Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
7. Be always willing to come to their relief: Exodus 23:4 “If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey wandering away, you shall surely return it to him.”

Here is forgiveness: when you feel that someone is your enemy or when you simply feel that you or someone you care about has been wronged, forgiveness means,
1. resisting revenge,
2. not returning evil for evil,
3. wishing them well,
4. grieving at their calamities,
5. praying for their welfare,
6. seeking reconciliation so far as it depends on you,
7. and coming to their aid in distress.

All these point to a forgiving heart. And the heart is all important Jesus said in Matthew 18:35-"unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

What, then, is forgiveness? The most important thing I can say is that forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. God never says, “Forgive them if you feel like it.” Forgiveness is not about your feelings. If you have been deeply hurt, you will probably never “feel” like forgiving someone. Forgiveness is a choice, a decision you make in your heart. It is a choice to release others from their sins against you. That's why I Corinthians 13:5 tells us that love keeps no record of wrongs.

Forgiveness means letting go of the anger and the desire for revenge. Seen in its true light, forgiveness is an act of mercy toward the offender. Sometimes we hear people say, “He doesn't deserve to be forgiven.” Of course he doesn't. No one “deserves” forgiveness.

Forgiveness isn't earned, and if a person could “earn” forgiveness, he wouldn't need it in the first place. It is a gift of mercy that you give to someone who has hurt you. But note this qualifier: The gift is given to the other person but it remains between you and God. The other person may never know about it. When you forgive, God knows and you know, and that's all that matters. And the end result is a change in the way you feel and act toward that other person.

Forgiveness is not about fairness, it's about grace.


"Lord, forgive me for the times I have had more passion about my hurt and offense than I do You. Forgive me for the times I have allowed my hurt feelings to effect my walk with You. Forgive me for the times I have not been salt and light to a lost and dying world because I have been consumed with my pain and anger. This morning I see that 'betrayal is what someone does to me, but bitterness is what I do to myself.' Today I make the choice, not by my feelings, but because of Your Word, and my love for You to release this stronghold on my RIGHT to be angry and hurt. You paid it all for me, the least I can do is to let go of this betrayal, in Jesus' name, amen!"