Forgiveness

Finding It Hard to Forgive?

And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
Matthew 6:12

How many times do we pray this portion of what is commonly called "The Lord's Prayer" and yet fail to consider what we're asking? It is a petition, a request of God to forgive us - in the same manner and proportion in which we forgive others. Are you okay with that? Are you comfortable with receiving God's forgiveness to the same extent that you give it to others?

"Surviving the Holidays with a Dysfunctional Family" Workshop

note: Members may discuss this workshop in the Message Boards HERE

Welcome to our Special Workshop tonight
"Surviving the Holidays with a Dysfunctional Family" Workshop

For many, the Christmas season is not a time of warm cozy feelings and precious memories. For some, it is a time of reliving the nightmares of childhood abuse and not wanting to return home for Christmas. It is a reminder of broken relationships and children in the custody of “the other parent.” It is a season of struggles to stay clean and sober and out of trouble when attending Christmas gatherings. How can we not only survive, but also thrive during the Christmas season?

Have You Forgiven Yourself?Premium Content

I remember the first time I forgave myself. It was about four years ago.

I had sinned greatly. Repented deeply. Did everything God called me to here. But I couldn't escape the torment. The weight of the sin was crushing me. I didn't know if I would survive. I didn't understand why.

I went to a dear Christian girlfriend to confess. She listened carefully, prayerfully, and said, "You haven't forgiven yourself."

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Why Am I Stuck In Unforgiveness?Premium Content

I have been on this journey of forgiveness for quite a few years now, and this week, God showed me forgiveness was not at completion. Not for lack of trying, for sure. But still I am shocked at the length and depth of the process.

I do know that some things that God requires us to forgive will be a longer deeper process than other things. If we have been hurt by someone close to us, like a spouse, parent, child, or dear friend, or if the pain has been repeated and protracted, or if the tragedy occurred when we were a child or adolescent, or if the trauma was particularly heinous or the loss very profound, the process of forgiveness will be longer and require more of us.

Like you, I have a number of people and incidences to forgive. I will focus on just one offender right now for simplicity.

I started years ago with the first step of forgiveness: release. Releasing the offender to God.

"Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19

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Do I need to forgive someone who is not repentant?Premium Content

Do I need to forgive someone even if it doesn’t seem that he is sorry?

Luke 17:3-4 answers that question this way:

"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."

Jesus said that without genuine repentance there is no forgiveness. One example of this principle is when he says:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation.2 Corinthians 7:10

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Forgetting and ForgivingPremium Content

Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee. Proverbs 20:22

Do not be in a hurry. Let anger cool down. Say nothing and do nothing to avenge yourself. You will be sure to act unwisely if you take up the club and fight your own battles; and, certainly, you will not show the spirit of the Lord Jesus. It is more noble to forgive and let the offense pass. To let an injury burn inside and to think about revenge is to keep old wounds open and to make new ones. It is better to forget and forgive.

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When You Want Revenge

1 Corinthians 13:6 RSV
[Love] does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

Ever want revenge against someone else? I think that one of the innate human emotions is the desire for one's persecutor to suffer as much as they have caused suffering (or more). I think that many of us, at one time or another, fantasied about that horrible person being humiliated or hurt like they humiliated or hurt us.

It's simple human nature.

But Paul tells us that we, as Christians, deny ourselves, deny our nature and choose love. We refuse to rejoice at wrong, even the suffering of our enemy, are rejoice in right. That we have a higher calling: to trust God in everything.

More Than a Feeling

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient and kind;

Paul has just concluded the introduction to this section with the words "...have not love, I gain nothing." In fact, he uses Jewish parallelism to make his point:

    If I speak . . . but have not love, I am just a sound.
    If I have . . . but have not love, I am nothing.
    If I give . . . but have not love, I gain nothing.

I think (and this is simply my own thoughts, not the Word of God) that Paul is trying to say this: Without love, the Christian simply... isn't a Christian. There is no Christian without love.

ForgivenessPremium Content

There is much to be said about forgiveness and the impact it has one each life. The Bible holds hundreds of examples of people who have experienced first-hand, being forgiven of wrongful deeds: King David, Peter the disciple when he denied knowing Jesus three times, the woman caught in adultery, Paul who murdered hundreds of Christians before his conversion, Cain who killed his brother Abel because Abel's sacrifice was accepted and Cain's was not are just some to name a few who experienced the forgiveness of God in their life first-hand.

The sole purpose behind the come of Jesus Christ as a human was that He died as an atonement for our sins. He hung on the cross in our place. By all rights, WE should be the ones hanging on the cross. After all, Jesus was WITHOUT ANY SIN, but we were born into sin, yet it was Jesus who died and it is us who live.

If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. 1 John 1:8.

For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Romans 3:23.

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Self-ForgivenessPremium Content

An alcoholic woman told me, "My dad was always drunk and in and out of prison." She sniffled and continued, "I hated him for that. Now I'm doing the same thing to my family." She leaned over my desk, sobbed and said, "I can't forgive myself."

A drug addict told me he couldn't forgive himself because his use left him with short-term memory loss and in financial ruin.

Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished." John 19:30 He never said it is finished except for alcoholics and other addicts.

Do you identify with them? What is at the root of this lack of self-forgiveness?

Maybe you've done something awful. You asked God for forgiveness and He forgave you (1 John 1:9). However, you think you need to punish yourself anyway. God doesn't need your help. Jesus paid the price in full for your forgiveness.

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