Sunday, May 29, 2011

Forgiveness....WHAT other choice do we have??

Pastor Russ had a great message at church this morning about forgiveness.  It's very timely cause in a few days I need to be speaking a bit about forgiveness at the Faith Stories Seminar AWAKEN with Women's Journey of Faith (www.wjof.com).  So I gleaned much from the message this morning.  I will share some of those thoughts with you.

Forgiveness brings FREEDOM!  We may not always believe that....but it does!

Things that happen in our lives at times are unfair, hurtful, undeserving, full of betrayal, abusing and can be extremely painful. We often don't deserve what happens at times and we can become very offended. But what we feel and what we go through is legitimate....our story is legitimate, it is very very real, and it can really really hurt!  BUT, now what??  After being betrayed, being abused, being hurt or being offended....none of that can be changed - we can't change the past. SO, now what??

Are we going to choose to fix our attention on what or who has hurt us, on the pain, on the mess that it's caused, on all the why me's and poor me's?? OR are we going to fix our attention on God!  We can choose to focus on the offense...but why? WHAT good does it do? Focus on it so it can eat us alive, cause health problems, make us bitter, cause others to dislike us cause we're no fun to be around? Why would we want to do that to ourselves? OR we can allow God to take it, submit it all to Him and use our changed heart and attitude............and live in FREEDOM!  Why would we choose to continually live in the slavery of hate, living in that pitiful hurt and wallow in self rather than forgiving it all and living in Freedom? When we take that offense and submit it to God, ONLY and ONLY in THAT is there FREEDOM!  This choice to submit it to God or not, that choice changes where we spend our energy.

Oh my friends, don't you see? We can stay stuck in that offense or we can be free!  What sounds better to you? Do you want to have health issues? Do you want to be bitter and not better? Do you want to live a life stuck for years and years in bondage? Oh that would be no fun at all!  A life becomes so incredibly SAD when years are wasted in bondage and as a result there are health issues and spiritual issues to continually deal with...and so many of them turn into such major issues!

OR

We can choose NOT to hang onto that offense and use ALL that energy on serving and loving a God who loves us.  We can allow Him to take that hurtful past, all those bad horrible things, all those offenses - whether they are small or large.....my friend, GOD can take ALL of those things and bring good out of it.  Yes those offenses hurt, no they're not fair, yes it's hard.....but oh there is so much more freedom in letting God take care of it all. He can bring good out of it. We CAN be an encouragement to others....in spite of what has happened to us! Forgiveness brings such FREEDOM!

Our choice determines whether we'll walk healthy or with a limp all our life. If we just hunger for revenge and hold onto that grudge and continually remain offended by a person....THAT will hurt US! It's like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die!

If we call ourself a Christian, if we are a believer of Jesus Christ, if we say we love God......then we have NO CHOICE but to forgive! It is IMPOSSIBLE to love God will all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, with all our strength.... while holding onto an offense and keeping a grudge.  If we're followers of Jesus Christ, it has GOT to be in our nature to have a forgiving heart!


Here's the BIG reality!  Are you ready for this? We don't have a choice to not forgive cause if we don't forgive others, God will not forgive us!  OUCH!  But that's right!  Our choice to forgive others is directly connected to God forgiving us!  How can we ask God to forgive us of something when we refuse to forgive someone else? It just doesn't work that way. Mark 11:25 says "When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so your Father in heaven will forgive your sins too." Just read the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35.  Also, Mark 6:14-15 says "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."  Matthew 6:12 says "Forgive us our sins just as we've forgiven those who've sinned against us."   When Peter had asked Jesus if he needed to forgive his brother 7 times, Jesus' response was NO Peter!  YOU forgive your brother who has sinned against you 7 x 70 times...over and over again...continually forgiving on a daily basis.  The Bible is very clear on what we need to do when it comes to forgiveness.

But we know we can't do it on our own. We need the strength and wisdom of the Lord. Psalm 86:5 says "O Lord you are so good, so ready to forgive, so FULL OF UNFAILING LOVE for all who ask your aid." All we need to do is ask and He is there ready to help us...and He WILL help us to forgive others, we just need to be willing.

So my friend, what ya gonna do?

7 comments:

Natalie said...

Thanks Lisa for posting this, I just recently read another blog about this very thing, it was talking about Jesus on the cross when He asked His Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him. If He came to this world to die so that we can be forgiven then OF COURSE we need to forgive others! How can we expect to be forgiven when we turn around and won't forgive someone else. Sometimes we don't even realize that we are holding onto something but if we ask, God will reveal what's in our heart. Thanks again. :)

Kyla said...

Wow, I needed to read this. I have been so bitter towards so many people that this is an area in my life where God needs me to work on.

I had a sermon in church today that is based on the book Crazy Love and it was called "The profile of the Lukewarm Christian" We talked about how we as Christians at times tend to treat our faith like its a list of do's and dont's. This blog helped me see that I have an amazing God who died on the cross to forgive me so why is it so hard for me to forgive others?

I am thankful that I read this because I know that I needed to be reminded of this :)

Anonymous said...

What a good blog post on forgiveness - it's such an important topic Lisa. For SO many people, this is a very real issue in their lives but you'd never even know it by looking at them. When we don't forgive, it really affects our spiritual development in a HUGE way! It doesn't only affect the person, but also anyone around them, and the church as well. Oh how we need to be told this again and again.
Thank you!
Blessings on you as you minister to others!

Lisa's Pic's said...

As I was doing some reviewing on this topic from the book "The Bait of Satan" by John Bevere, I was reminded of more things. (by the way, this is a GREAT study and I highly recommend it. It totally deals with the spirit of offense and unforgiveness.

In Luke 17:1, Jesus tells us that we basically cannot go through this life without becoming offended and he continues on to say that we will be blessed if we don't take offense in Luke 7:23.

John Bevere also tells us (from scripture) that "Trials in this life will expose what is in our heart--whether the offense is toward God God or others. Tests either make us bitter toward God and your peers or stronger (better). If you pass the test, your roots will shoot down deeper, stabilizing you and your future. If you fail, you become offended, which can lead to defilement with bitterness."

I also learned from John's book and from scripture that "nothing good dwells in our flesh so the power to forgive someone who has hurt you is not going to come from you--it's going to come from the Holy Spirit living in you. Only by allowing the Lord to develop the fruit of His Love in our lives can we truly walk in forgiveness."

Proverbs 10:12 "hatred stirs up quarrels but love covers all offenses."
Putting on love and allowing it to operate in our lives will cause the offenses to just bounce off us and they won't dwell in our hearts and minds...we WILL be able to overlook it. 1 Peter 4:8 says "love covers a multitude of sins."

AMEN

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lisa. I needed this especially today. Although it's so very hard to forgive, it is definitely freeing.

Jayna said...

Ah Lisa - I highly doubt that anyone in the world can read such a powerful post as this and not feel conviction. We all have at least one person who comes to mind when we think of forgiving. But AMEN! I choose FREEDOM!

"Forgiveness is like setting a prisoner free - and then realizing that the prisoner was you."

Not sure who quoted that, but I like it!

Anonymous said...

I needed to read this! And I think I'll be buying that book too. Sometimes anger, resentment, vengence seems like the easy path but its not because it binds you deeper to the problem. Forgivenes is so emensely freeing and giving it go God brings peacefulness to our hearts. And sometimes we have to continually give it to God because we like to remind ourselves of the hurt and betrayal. God is the only way out of that. Thanks for posting Lisa :)