If you missed Sunday, February 18th, at Grace – I hope you’ll go to http://www.gf.church/messages and listen to THIS IS US – Part 3 – THIS IS LIFE which deals with forgiveness. The message was based on a story told by Jesus in Matthew 18 which is included at the end of this blog.
The following includes some things related to forgiveness. Remember, these are very simplistic while forgiveness is not.
Some of you may need the help of a Christian Counselor to get past the hurt you’re experiencing in order to forgive the wrongs you’ve experienced. If you live in the Wise County area, we support and recommend Wise County Christian Counseling in Decatur, Texas; Beverly Ross and her team are great. Jimmy McLeod is a private practice Pastoral Counselor who does counseling at Grace Fellowship on most Wednesday afternoons and has his private practice in Roanoke, Texas. I also use and recommend Dr. Ed Laymance at Impact Counseling and Guidance Center in Arlington, Texas.
Remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be consequences for someone’s actions. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation will take place. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you act like nothing happened. Forgiveness doesn’t mean trust is automatically restored. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you stay in an abusive or dangerous situation; get some help!
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 NLT
What do you do when you are the one needing forgiveness?
Ask God to forgive you and to help you as you open up to the person(s) you hurt. Ask anyone you’ve offended to forgive you. Don’t add excuses to your actions. Don’t play the blame game and blame others for your mistakes. Admit what you did that was wrong – clearly and specifically. Make restitution if necessary. If you broke or destroyed something, fix or replace it. If you damaged someone’s reputation, do your part to admit this and to help restore their reputation. You’re not responsible for their response, you’re responsible for your obedience to God.
What if the person you need to forgive has died?
Have an imaginary conversation with them, go over the details in this conversation and confess that you have forgiven them and canceled any debt you have against them. Another option is to write them a letter with the details of the offense and why it hurt you, then write DEBT CANCELED on it and SHRED IT or DESTROY IT.
There are dozens of resources that can help you. Here are a few that may help:
ENEMIES OF THE HEART by Andy Stanley
THE STEPS TO FREEDOM IN CHRIST by Neil Anderson
FORGIVE AND FORGET by Lewis B. Smedes
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when my fellow believer sins against me, how many times must I forgive him? Should I forgive him as many as seven times?”22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive him more than seven times. You must forgive him even if he wrongs you seventy times seven.
23 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who decided to collect the money his servants owed him. 24 When the king began to collect his money, a servant who owed him several million dollars was brought to him. 25 But the servant did not have enough money to pay his master, the king. So the master ordered that everything the servant owned should be sold, even the servant’s wife and children. Then the money would be used to pay the king what the servant owed.
26 “But the servant fell on his knees and begged, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything I owe.’ 27 The master felt sorry for his servant and told him he did not have to pay it back. Then he let the servant go free.
28 “Later, that same servant found another servant who owed him a few dollars. The servant grabbed him around the neck and said, ‘Pay me the money you owe me!’ 29 “The other servant fell on his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything I owe.’
30 “But the first servant refused to be patient. He threw the other servant into prison until he could pay everything he owed. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were very sorry. So they went and told their master all that had happened.
32 “Then the master called his servant in and said, ‘You evil servant! Because you begged me to forget what you owed, I told you that you did not have to pay anything. 33 You should have showed mercy to that other servant, just as I showed mercy to you.’ 34 The master was very angry and put the servant in prison to be punished until he could pay everything he owed. 35 “This king did what my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”