THE NEED FOR FORGIVENESS
Forgiveness is the act of forgiving; pardon.
From the American HeritageŽ Dictionary
1. To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.
2. To renounce anger or resentment against.
3. To absolve from payment of (a debt, for example).
SYNONYMS: forgive, pardon, excuse, condone These verbs mean to refrain from imposing punishment on an offender or demanding satisfaction for an offense. The first three can be used as conventional ways of offering apology. More strictly, to forgive is to grant pardon without harboring resentment
Forgiveness is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the Bible. It does not mean to forget and forget and let wrong doing go without penalty as some suggest. Why after all, God has declared that we will reap what we sow. Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
There is only one time, one condition that I can think of that negates the law of the harvest and that is salvation. Even after salvation however, we will still have to be accountable for our actions to society. If we had committed a crime before salvation, we will have to "face the music" for it afterward too.
So then what is this forgiveness and why is it needed? To discover this, lets look at some examples from God's Word that shows forgiveness in action
In Genesis chapters 37 through 50 we find a remarkable story of abuse, false accusations and imprisonment...and FORGIVENESS. Joseph was thrown into a pit and was going to be left for dead. He was then sold into slavery and later he was accused of a rape he did not do. Then as often is the case now, those around him knew he did not do it. They knew the type of woman that accused him but since she was the wife of the Potiphar they would not dare say anything in his defense. Still, he chose to serve God and not to seek revenge. God honored the fact that Joseph humbled himself and God did raise him up and put in in high places in His time. He was exalted and given a position second only to the Pharaoh himself.
Joseph chose to forgive although he could have had his brothers executed when they came seeking food. He could easily have been bitter and told them off after revealing who he was. Instead, God used him to save a nation.
Saul was very jealous of David. He accused David of wrongdoing and had tried to kill David several times. In 1 Samuel 24:10-12 we are told that David had a perfect chance to kill Saul but he chose to forgive. David chose to forgive many times for things most of us would have said he had a perfect "right" to get even for. He forgave Abishai in 1 Sam26: 9, 23
Most of all, we see the best example of forgiveness with Jesus Christ when HE cried out Father, Forgive them for the no not what they do. Luke 23:34.
What happens if we do not forgive?
Well first of all we need to consider why we do not forgive, Much of it is because we think it will allow wrong behavior to go unpunished,. As we see from the above, this is not the case You see, when we do not chose not to forgive, it does start a progression within us. The first step is ANGER. We feel our rights have been violated Now anger in and of itself is not wrong. It depends on what we do with that anger and why we have it. If you are reading this message on the web site, click on the hot links for more information on that topic. If from the groups, then you can click on the link at the bottom and go to the web site article and the hot links will be there. We should never harbor anger for too long. In fact, there is reason to believe that going to sleep with anger will be harmful to us. I personally think this is the reason we are told in:
Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
This shows that we can be angry without it being sin...but it also shows the importance of not letting anger go too long. If we do, we will progress to the next step...BITTERNESS. It proceeds from or exhibiting strong animosity and is marked by resentment or cynicism: I know of no time in the Bible that bitterness was good to have. It will result in many problems. Most of them for the one that harbors bitterness. Lets look a just a few of them:
Bitterness is one of the most crushing mental problems
in a person's life. When a Christian is bitter, there is a loss of close
fellowship with the Lord and a hindrance in one's relationship with the Lord
Jesus Christ.. Bitterness causes a loss of many of the blessings of the normal
Christian life, including emotional stability, peace, and joy. And bitterness
results in the loss of production of good works (gold, silver, precious stones)
which are a major source of blessing and reward in the plan of God.
Bitterness is a devastating mental attitude sin, and it triggers a wide range of other sins, such as:
Vindictiveness and desires for revenge
Prideful ambition (arrogance)
Bitterness is neither consistent nor rational. A bitter
person is his own worst enemy. It is very difficult to maintain any kind of
relationship with a chronically bitter person; and bitterness is a major
contributing cause of marital and family problems.
(some of the information on bitterness comes from: http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics/bitterness.html )
There is reason to believe that bitterness can lead to many physical illness including cancer, However and please hear this good....we can NOT say that all or even most illness is from bitterness so lets not try to second guess those that are ill. They still need our prayer and support. If an illness is from sin (and bitterness is sin) that person will know it.
As the information on bitterness suggest, it will lead to broken relationships. and shattered lives. No one wants to be around a chronically bitter person. Thus unforgivness will lead to bitterness which leads to broken homes and shattered lives.
My friend....is it WORTH IT?
WHERE DOES UNFORGIVENESS COME FROM?
Almost all sin comes from pride. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit as a matter of pride. They wanted to be like God. The sinful anger which leads to bitterness also stems from pride. Often it is because we feel "our rights" we violated. To be honest, often they may be. Does this justify our sin by not dealing with this anger in a Biblical manor? The Bible does tell us what we should do if a brother offends us.
1 Corinthians 6
6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
Please notice this carefully. GOD said it would be better to allow ourselves to be wronged then to wrong another. Is this not in keeping with what Jesus told us in
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Many times, we have noticed that God tells us to do things that are just the opposite of what makes sense to us. We are told that in order to really live, we are to die to ourselves. We are told that to have, we have to give everything. And yes, now we are told to love those that abuse us.
This does not mean that God wants us to be abused or that HE wants us to allow others to abuse us. Peter and Paul were kept from going back into the gates of the city at times which would have resulted in further beatings. If one is in serious risk for harm, there is room for separation. and part of the goal for this group, Shattered Men is to work toward having men have a safe place to go to. We have women shelters in almost every city. Is it not time to provide help to the other half of the victims of domestic violence?
So remember, forgiveness is not given for the benefit of the guilty, but for the wronged so we do not allow bitterness to gain a stronghold, and yes it will be a powerful stronghold. I have worked in psych for over 25 years and I have personally seen bitterness destroy lives. Most of the time, the one they are bitter at never even knows it.
HOW MANY TIMES ARE WE TO FORGIVE.
Of course we all know the verse to forgive seventy times seven. Matthew 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
This does not mean we count up to 490 times and then stop. We forgive as often as it takes. Ahhh but what about those that abuse forgiveness? What about those that will keep repeating the offense counting on our forgiveness? Folks, we are responsible for doing what God told US to do....not for what someone else does. Yet as we said earlier, God does not want us to willingly allow ourselves to be abused. This is why forgiveness does not negate the law of the harvest. It does not excuse from the penalty of wrong doing. If a person commits a crime against us, they may still be held accountable for that crime and still be forgiven. Romans 13 makes it clear that even Christians fall under the authority of our governments and are thus accountable for their actions if they do not obey the laws of the land. We also must be very careful before we evoke the Law of God being before the law of the land and make sure it is God's law and not our own Remember who was the government when Paul wrote Romans. It was the Romans and they were not too happy with Christians yet Paul wrote that we are to obey them and to pray for them.
If one violates trust, it takes a long time to regain that trust. Trust is a result of respect and respect is not a right, it is earned. If we do things that violate the trust of another, we even if we ask and are granted forgiveness, it may be hard to have complete restoration back to where we were before. It will be hard to actually restore someone who has violated our trust.
HOW DO WE FORGIVE?
I think one way would be to list the wrongs that have been done to us, and our right to redress those wrongs and then pray and transfer ownership of each of those rights to the LORD one by one.
When we do forgive, it does NOT mean we will forget it as if it never happened. satan will see to it that we remember it especially if we have another disagreement with that person. We can not help but to remember at these times. It is like other evil thoughts that may pop into our head and when it does, it does not mean we did not forgive. We are not responsible for all of our thoughts. We are responsible for how long we let them stay. If I were to tell you to rob a bank and do that several times, and then tell you to repent for thinking about robbing the bank, would you? NO you would not. You would tell me that robbing the bank was not YOUR thought so you have no need to repent. Folks when satan whispers in our thoughts, why do we accept them as our own? IF we are saved, we DO have the mind of Christ so anything that does not conform to the Word of God is from satan. Our thoughts since we have the mind of Christ will conform to His Word. Of course, the closer our walk the more they will conform. We have to KNOW Him imminently as HE so much desires to be able to think like Him.
What forgiveness means then, is that we will choose (and forgiveness IS a choice) not to use the past as a means of reminding someone that they wronged us. Just as God chooses not to hold us accountable for sin as HE has declared us righteous because of our relationship with Jesus Christ we have to chose not to remind others of how they have wronged us even if it keeps popping up in our head.
Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else, but to free YOURSELF from the continuation of pain and anger. It is a gift to your peace of mind, your self esteem, your relationships with others, your future. Forgiveness is a way of releasing ourselves from the pain we have experienced at the hands of others...
NO it is not easy to forgive, but remember. WE drove the nails into the hands of Jesus Christ just as much as if we had that hammer in our hand, yet Jesus forgave from an old rugged Cross.
HOW CAN WE DO THIS?
Effective Prayer For Hurting People
Often, when we are hurting the
most, it is hard to pray. We do not have the words. All we know is that it
HURTS. Friends, when this happens we know the Holy Spirit is there interceding
on our behave. Romans 8:26 tells us that He makes intercession for us with the
groaning that cannot be uttered.
When I am hurting this much or interceding for those who hurt, I often find it helpful to address this type of prayer to DADDY!
Last evening I went to "Daddy" to intercede on behave of a friend. I told Daddy that my friend was hurting and I wanted Him to comfort this friend. We DO have this closeness with Almighty God. He deeply desires it. Romans 8:15 tells us we have the Spirit of ADOPTION whereby we cry ABBY FATHER. This is the same, as "daddy" It shows the closeness God wants from us. Following are some things I find helpful:
Pray as if all our hurts we in a jar. We take the lid off the jar and POUR ALL our hurts out to "Daddy" We tell Him all about everything that is hurting. (it was during one of these times I realized I was bitter at my parents and did not even realize it) Pour all the hurts and anger and bitterness out to Him Clean house and expose every last bit of garbage we can find in our life and POUR it out until we are emotional drained. It would be best to do this when we are in our secret closet. (I can not imagine any of us doing this without needing tissue near by.) When we are emotionally drained, then we wait upon the Lord (Isa 40:31) As we wait, (it may help to have praise music softly in the background) we mediate upon God's Word. We ask God to give new meaning to old hurts during this time.
When we receive the new meaning to these hurts, Praise God for the new meaning. (Often the new meaning comes as satan's lies being exposed as lies. Lies such as his telling us we are no good and no one cares about us. I believed that for years and it was a bunch of lies.) JESUS cared enough about US about me and about YOU that He DIED for us. We can not get any more worthwhile then that.
When we received healing from these hurts, we need to APPLY 2nd Corinthians 1:3,4 and comfort others with the comfort God gives us during these times. God most often shows HIS love to us through other people and that is a blessing folks. One I do not take lightly. He has used many of you to show me He loves me and I trust that many of you have been shown that He loves you through me.
Because HE Lives I CAN face tomorrow!
This message is from the ministry of Shattered Men