Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness’

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (John 17:16 )

Heaven

We live here, we walk here, we eat and drink here, but may we never call it home. The ground beneath our feet and sky above our heads are the scenery we enjoy momentarily, but they will pass away (Matthew 24:35). Our family is more than people with the same last name (Mark 3:35), as believers we are united by blood, literally the shed blood of Jesus the risen Savior. We, the family, walk as sojourners (1 Peter 2:11), as travelers, loving and serving the people around us, all the while remembering we will one day be home. A home that has been prepared for us (John 14:3), where we will live in ever increasing joy.

Our lips will never again say, “It was fun while it lasted”, as the smile fades from our face. In our home there is no sorrow, there is no disease, there is no end to joy (Revelation 21:4). In our home our treasure does not fail, there is no thief to steal, no moneybag to grow old (Luke 12:33). In your heart, and in your head, where is your treasure and your home? For “there will your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).

Where is your home?

God's forgivenessForgiving someone can be difficult. Why do we need to forgive others? How can we forgive a person? The Bible can provide us with answers, inspiration and direction.

Actually, forgiveness is not only about others, but also about our own spiritual growth. Love and forgiveness cannot be separated. If we choose to live out the love of God as the purpose of our life, then forgiving is an option that cannot be avoided.

 

#1 Because we are sinners we should forgive others

Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Colossians 3:13 NIV

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

 

#2 Be ready to forgive over and over again

Matthew 18: 21-22 NIV

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

 

#3 To avoid making others be overwhelmed

2 corinthians 2:5-8 NIV

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

 

#4 Love will lead to forgiving others

1 corinthians 13:4 – 6 NIV

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

 

#5 Priority when it comes to forgiving others

Matthew 5:23-24 NIV

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

 

#6 Forgive others rather than judge others

Luke 6:37 NIV

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

John 8:7 NIV

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

 

#7 A remarkable example of forgiveness

Acts 7:59-60 NIV

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

 

#8 Jesus is our Model

Luke 23:33-34 NIV

When they came to a place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

 

#9 Jesus’ command to us

Luke 17:3-4 NIV

So watch yourselves. “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.”

 

#10 How to treat enemies

On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Romans 12:20 NIV

 

I believe that your life must will be blessed through forgiving others. Would you like to choose to forgive for the benefit of others? Maybe your decision can bring an opportunity of redemption for others.

2ndGod is not only the God of second chances; He is the God of another chance. This is good news because most of us mess up the second chance fairly quickly. One of the amazing facets of God’s character is His incredible patience with us. Psalm 86:15 says it well: “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Micah 7:18 says, “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.”

The Bible is full of people who received second chances, and even third and fourth chances: Peter, Jonah, Mark, Samson, David, and others. All trophies of God’s grace.

Just as God is patient and forgiving, He wants His children to be patient with and forgiving of others. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). He gives us second chances, and we must give the same to others. Jesus gives a stern warning to those who refuse to forgive, saying that if we will not forgive others, God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:15; see also Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13; and Proverbs 19:11). If someone is truly repentant, then we are obligated to forgive (Matthew 18:21-22).

Forgiveness, however, is not the same thing as reconciliation. Many people struggle to find the balance between showing mercy and enabling a harmful person to continue harming. We should forgive everyone who wrongs us, just as Jesus forgives us. Forgiveness is between our heart and God’s, removing any barriers that unforgiveness brings. When someone continues to unrepentantly violate another person’s boundaries, a wise person learns to set firmer boundaries. If a man has repeatedly punched you in the face, you can forgive him; but you don’t stand within arm’s distance until he has proved over time that he has changed.

Giving someone a second chance means we give him another chance to earn our trust. But that does not mean we instantly forget what experience has taught us. Trust must be earned over time, and we are foolish if we give trust prematurely. We can have a loving and forgiving heart that also practices wise guardianship over our lives.

When we have wronged someone, we have no right to demand another chance. But we should work to earn another chance by continued demonstration of repentance and change.

Even God has a limit on forgiveness. In Romans 1:18-32, the apostle Paul warns us what happens when we continue to spurn God’s patience and reject His call to repentance. Three different times, the phrase “God turned them over” appears. When we insist on running our lives the way we want rather than the way God wants, He lets us. Eventually, when our hearts are hardened against Him, He lets us go. He turns us over to a reprobate mind, one that can no longer seek God. At that point, sin has become our god.

There may come a time in a human relationship when the same thing has occurred – when forgiveness has been offered and restoration made possible, but one party refuses to repent and rejects all efforts to reconcile. It may be time to end that relationship. Second chances are no longer working. Ending a relationship is a last resort, but sometimes it must be done (Matthew 18:17).

God does everything possible to draw us to repentance, offering forgiveness and second chances (2 Peter 3:9). But if we continue to reject Him, the offer is withdrawn and, at death, there are no more chances (Hebrews 9:27). God’s grace is our model. We can offer second chances to others until a healthy relationship is no longer possible.

eraseTo best answer this question, we’re going to look at two powerful passages of Scripture. The first is found in the book of Psalms: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). One of the most effective tricks Satan plays on Christians is to convince us that our sins aren’t really forgiven, despite the promise of God’s Word. If we’ve truly received Jesus as Savior by faith, and still have that uneasy feeling wondering whether or not there is true forgiveness, that may be coming from demonic influences. Demons hate it when people are delivered from their grasp, and they try to plant seeds of doubt in our minds about the reality of our salvation. In his vast arsenal of tricks, one of Satan’s biggest tools is to constantly remind us of our past transgressions, and he uses those to prove that God couldn’t possibly forgive or restore us. The devil’s attacks make it a real challenge for us to simply rest in the promises of God and trust His love.

But this psalm also tells us that God not only forgives our sins, but removes them completely from His presence. This is a profound thing! Without question, this is a difficult concept for humans to grasp, which is why it’s so easy for us to worry and wonder about forgiveness instead of just accepting it. The key lies in simply giving up our doubts and our feelings of guilt and resting in His promises of forgiveness.

Another passage is 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What an incredible promise! God forgives His children when they sin if only they come to Him and in an attitude of repentance and ask to be forgiven. God’s grace is so great that it can cleanse the sinner from his sin so that he becomes a child of God. Even when we stumble, we can be forgiven still.

In Matthew 18:21-22, we read, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” Peter was probably thinking that he was being generous. Rather than repay a person who had committed a sin against him with equal retribution, Peter suggested giving the brother some leeway, say, up to seven times. But the eighth time, forgiveness and grace would run out. But Christ challenged the rules of Peter’s suggested economy of grace by saying that forgiveness is infinite for those who are truly seeking it. This is only possible because of the infinite grace of God which is made possible through the shed blood of Christ on the cross. Because of Christ’s forgiving power, we can always be made clean after we sin if we humbly seek it.

At the same time, it must be noted that it is not biblical for a person to sin habitually and continually as a lifestyle and still be a believer (1 John 3:8-9). This is why Paul admonishes us to “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). As Christians, we do stumble, but we do not live a lifestyle of continual, unrepentant sin. All of us have weaknesses and can fall into sin, even if we don’t want to. Even the apostle Paul did what he didn’t want to do because of the sin at work in his body (Romans 7:15). Like Paul, the response of the believer is to hate the sin, repent of it and ask for divine grace to overcome it (Romans 7:24-25). Although we need not fall because of God’s sufficient grace, sometimes we do because we rely upon our insufficient strength. When our faith grows weak and, like Peter, we deny our Lord in word or in life, even then there is still a chance to repent and be forgiven of our sin.

Another one of Satan’s tricks is to get us to think that there is no hope, that there is no possibility that we can be forgiven, healed, and restored. He will try to get us to feel consumed and trapped by guilt so that we do not feel worthy of God’s forgiveness any longer. But since when were we ever worthy of God’s grace? God loved us, forgave us and chose us to be in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-6), not because of anything we did, but “in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12). We must always keep in mind that there is no place we can go that God’s grace cannot reach, and there is no depth to which we can sink that God is no longer able to pull us out. His grace is greater than all of our sin. Whether we are just starting to wander off course or we are already sinking and drowning in our sin, grace can be received.

Grace is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). When we sin, the Spirit will convict us of sin such that a godly sorrow will result (2 Corinthians 7:10-11). He will not condemn our souls as if there is no hope, for there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). The Spirit’s conviction within us is a movement of love and grace. Grace is not an excuse to sin (Romans 6:1-2), and it dare not be abused, meaning that sin must be called “sin,” and it cannot be treated as if it is harmless or inoffensive. Unrepentant believers need to be lovingly confronted and guided to freedom, and unbelievers need to be told that they need to repent. Yet let us also emphasize the remedy, for we have been given grace upon grace (John 1:16). Grace is how we live, how we are saved, how we are sanctified, and how we will be kept and glorified. Let us receive grace when we sin by repenting and confessing our sin to God. Why live a sinful life when Christ offers to make us whole and right in the eyes of God?

I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin
Psalm 32:5

Two things we are clearly meant to take away from this account: sin must be confessed and, when it is, sin will be forgiven.

The psalmist reports that he was brought to the place of acknowledging his sin. He was not trying to hide it, or justify it, or excuse it. He held nothing back during his confession; he admitted to God his every fault and failing.

As he freely admits his sin to the Lord, we should notice, the psalmist also freely acknowledges it as sin (not just a mistake or personality flaw). He confesses his transgressions to the Lord. They are his (no one else is to blame) and they are transgressions (willful offenses against the law of God).

Have you gone to the Lord in confession and owned up to your own willful disobedience and pride? Have you utterly opened your heart to him, acknowledging the wrongs you have done against his good and just law?

Then — but only then — will we have the same assurance in which the psalmist rejoices, that our sin is forgiven and every transgression pardoned. What a sweet, powerful thing is a clean conscience before our holy God!

Do not delay the repentance that God deserves or the forgiveness that you need.

One of the most painful things that can happen to a person is when they’ve made mistakes in the past, and it keeps getting brought up again and again. Usually the person that is bringing it up says something to the effect of, “I can forgive, but not forget.” I honestly believe that this is the worst case of theology one can believe in. I am so grateful that once we confess our sins, the Lord forgets them.

Heb 8:12
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Heb 10:17
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

So if God forgets them, why can’t others. It’s because when someone brings up the past, or reminds you of something you did wrong in the past, they are really just exacting a form of vengeance on you. So who wins? Nobody. The person bringing up past sins is not only sinless in their pasr (Romans 3:23, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God), but they remember and bring up your past, they are saying that their memory is in fact better than God, because He has told us He will remember no more.

But one of the ugliest parts of people reminding others of their sin is that they are not allowing the person who committed the sin to enjoy the forgiveness of God, because they now feel guilty or convicted all over again.

So in closing on this rather short and not so well written post, I want to remind everyone that we all are guilty of something ugly in our past. If you know of someone who has offended you, or done something you disagree with, then be Christlike and leave it where it belongs, in the past. Try to remind yourself that there is good in everybody and that the past is just a way to open up a wound that is trying to heal. Learn to forget. Learn to forgive and move forward. Just as you judge others, the Lord will judge you. (Matthew 7:2)

SinHow many times have you done something you know was wrong, but you justified it by just saying, “God will forgive me?” If you’re like most Christians, you’ve done it more than once, but most people will publicly deny it. So this morning we’re not going to ask for a public admition, we’re just going to take a look at why it’s so wrong, and he Bible says about it.

So what’s the problem with asking for forgiveness after you’ve committed an act you knew was wrong? The biggest issue with repetitive sin is that is shows that we have a lack of the Holy Spirit. If our walk with the Lord is the way it should be, then our desire to sin is either easier to resist, or it doesn’t happen as often. Now this doesn’t mean we’re beyond hope, it means that we need to ask Jesus to point out the areas in our lives that need spiritual attention. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to come into that black part of our heart that still craves the sinful nature, and to replace it with the healing and love of the Lord. When that part of our heart is replaced, it becomes easier to resist the sins that the flesh finds so enjoyable.

I’m sure there will be people who look at this blog and start thinking about people they know who are guilty of repetitive sin. To those people, I say to look into your own lives first. Romans 3:23 says that we have ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so we need to examine our own lives, because I can almost guarantee that all of us commit some sort of repetitive sin.That doesn’t make us beyond the point of no return, it means that we are all sinners, yet eligible for forgiveness because Jesus gave His life so that we could have a second chance.

This blog isn’t aimed at anyone but myself. I woke up this morning and the Lord laid it on my heart to discuss this issue that is so seldom talked about, but incredibly important in our Walk with the Lord. He laid it on my heart that I need to search my soul and Him to replace the dark spots I’m trying to hide, and replace it with His love. It’s a hard thing to do, but I encourages us all to give it a try… Let me know how it works out for you…:)

 

Hebrews 10:26-2726 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

1 John 3:6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.