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Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT) - “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
The issue of forgiveness is at the forefront of all that the Bible teaches.
The entire reason that Jesus came was so that the forgiveness of sins is possible.
Forgiveness, according to the Bible, is understood as God's promise not to count our sins against us. Biblical forgiveness requires repentance on our part (turning away from our old life of sin) and faith in Jesus Christ.
Forgiveness is defined - as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. To release someone from a debt that they owe you. To lay down anger and hatred and refuse to hold the wrong and hurt that someone caused you against them.
It is a difficult thing many times to forgive those that have wronged us. The truth is that many people have been hurt deeply by others. Many have had abusive parents or an abusive spouse.
People have had unspeakable and unthinkable things done to them and yet Jesus still calls us to forgive.
Matthew 5:44 - But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
This past month there was a story circulated on the internet about a pastor who had a heart attack and went to hell. He was shocked at how horrible everything was. But most of all he was angry at God that He was there.
Here is what happened. - "I rose up out of hell and God spoke to me. He said, 'You were secretly angry with people who harmed you and you hoped I would punish them. These are not your people. They are My people. I just want you to focus on the task I have given you.' "A man who cannot forgive is a man who forgot that He was forgiven,"
Forgiveness does not come easily or naturally to any of us. It is not supposed to.
Forgiveness is something that is to be chosen and it is to be learned.
Truly forgiving someone who has hurt, wronged, shamed or used us is a process that we work through with God.
It is a choice and a decision, but it is not a light or trivial thing and it is not supposed to be.
Forgiveness causes us to look at what someone has done to us and honestly and intelligently deal with the fact of how it has affected our life. You can’t effectively heal unless you address the places of woundedness.
It is remarkable how unforgiveness can turn an otherwise nice, kind and caring person into a bitter, angry and fearful individual.
Hebrews 12:15 (NIV) - See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
(AMP) - See to it that no one falls short of God’s grace; that no root of resentment springs up and causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
The word resentment comes from two Latin words that mean to “cut again and again”.
Every time we rehearse a hurt or injustice, or the devil brings up pain or we dwell on our anger and frustration about what was done to us, we are getting cut and reinjured all over again.
This is why the devil loves his tool of unforgiveness. It allows the hurt and pain to feel fresh and new all the time. –
Unforgiveness is not justice, it is torture. It is also murder because each time we feel the pain it reminds us of how we would like the person who hurt us to suffer.
This is why Jesus honestly reminds Peter that forgiveness is not a onetime event. Forgiveness is a process that we must work through until the hurt and pain no longer have an effect on us.
Matthew 18:21-22 - Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Our job is to forgive. It is Jesus’ job to do the healing in our lives.
So, every time we feel the hurt, pain and woundedness return we must make a conscious effort to forgive. For some of us, depending on our personality and the level of the hurt it may take a while. It may take 490 times a day for a little while until the work of forgiveness is complete.
Someone needs to hear this – forgiveness is not effortless. Just remember that the effort is not pointless, it will be rewarded.
This month as we celebrate the Resurrection let’s take time to remember how God has forgiven us. Let’s also take the time to forgive those that have hurt us. Let’s release them from their sin and place them into the hands of God. Take time to allow God to heal any areas of your life that have been affected by hurt. The Bible that “He who the Son set’s free is free indeed.
I believe this is going to be a powerful month of forgiveness, healing and redemption.
Remember You are dearly loved.
Pastor Marvin & Dawn