What it DOES and DOES NOT mean
Forgiveness Does Mean That I:
Do not let what others or life has done to me control me, shut me down to new truth and ministry or become an excuse to sin. (I need to remember that knowing to do good and not doing it because I have been trampled on–is sin)
Forgiveness is a gift God enables me to give myself,, freeing me from the weight and damage of bitterness.
Forgiving others allows me to freely accept the forgiveness from God that I so desperately need. I no longer need bitterness to balance and ignore my own guilt.
I will be blessed in exact proportion to how enthusiastically I do my part, remembering that only God can forgive the offender but I have a part in responding to having been hurt. Luke 6:38
- I Thank God for his intentions in letting it happen and ask for grace and wisdom to have a godly response, turning the other’s sin into my opportunity for blessing. Ephesians 5:20 I am to give thanks always for everything!
- Work to not take it personal even though it feels very personal, it was actually against God not against me. I need to beg God to have mercy on them and take the role of Moses standing between the rebellious people and the God who wanted to obliterate them. Exodus 32:9-14, 31-33 David’s sin with Bathsheba and killing her husband was against God alone! Psalm 51:4 The prodigal son stole his father’s money and love and said, “Father I have sinned against Heaven and in front of you. Luke 15:14 God reminds Samuel who is taking it personal that the people want a king not a prophet. “Samuel, they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
- Remember that they are the victim of their sin and will surely pay unless they repent. I must pray for them that despitefully use me, “Father forgive them because they don’t really understand what they are doing.” I must pray this even when my inner chatter screams, “They do too know what they were doing and did it on purpose!” Luke 23:34 Then, for their sakes, I need to ask God to open their eyes and let them have light and turn from darkness and from the power of Satan unto God so that they may be forgiven. Acts 26:18
- God often uses trials to open their eyes and I need to not gloat, Proverbs 24:17-18 and to stand ready to minister to their need and share that I am in no position to judge since I am the chief of sinners. 2Corinthians 2:7 I am to comfort them so that they are more open to “better not bitter.”
- Bless them, find something good to tell them and others about them. No gossiping! Leviticus 9:17
- Ask God to show me ways to do them good so they will know that I am not their enemy and will be more open to self examination, repent to God and re-establish relationship with me. Romans 12:20
6.Humbly admit that I might be misunderstanding or exaggerating their wrong and minimizing my part. Matthew 18:15-17, Leviticus 19:17 “No stuffing it! No discussing it with everyone but the offender! Go to them one on one and check to see if I got it right, they might not have realized and might be willing to apologize. If that doesn‘t work, take a neutral person to hear both sides. If we still think they are wrong we may still have it wrong ourselves, so go to the church elders. If the other still won’t repent and the elders say I have a case–set limits as a church. ( Always set limits for the offender’s benefit, i.e. Turn them over to Satan to make their body miserable and save their soul. I Corinthians 5:5)( Jesus refers to confronting offenders as the most important example of “Love my neighbor as myself.) Leviticus 19:16-18
- Humbly ask the Holy Spirit to examine my heart and see if I am actually suffering from bad attitude and delivery even though I know that I am correct. Daniel purposed in his heart to do it God’s way not the boss’s way but then he appealed and saved his neck. (See my tool blog on the Appeal) Daniel 1:8
- I need to find healing for my own pain and let God bring good from evil and let grace even more abound by: 2Corinthians 1:4 let God comfort me and then comfort others by pointing to God. Working to prevent others from being hurt the same way.
9.Take a small and growing risk on relationship, if I see true repentance. (See my tool on godly apology) I am to forgive pressed down, heaped up and running over and when they slip–I have done so over and over–I am to get up and try to rebuild relationship again. Matthew 8:22/ Luke 6:38
- I need to see suffering in a new way. Suffering is inevitable to godly people, “All who live godly will suffer”. I am not to see fiery trials as unusual I Peter 4:12-14 For it is a gift to me to not only believe on Jesus Christ but also to suffer for his sake, Philuppians 1:29 filling up in my body what Jesus got himself into when he went to the cross knowing Colossians 1:24 that if I suffer with his I will also reign with him. 2 Timothy 2:12, and 3:12
DOES NOT MEAN:
- Not having scars: When we see Jesus in heaven he will be proudly wearing the scars he earned on the cross. John 20:27
- Having no feelings: Paul felt such intense sorrow over the sin of his people that he felt heavy and would have given his own soul to see them saved. Remember that hating sin is the basic virtue but not hating the sinner. I should carry a burden for the sinner. Proverbs 8:13
- Acting like nothing happened. Paul would not take Mark on another journey because he had not repented for his abandoning them on the previous. Later when Mark repented and changed, Paul found him a valuable co-worker.Acts 15:39, 2 Timothy 4:11
- Not setting limits/consequences: I Corinthians 5:5 Paul commands that the church turn the unrepentant sinner over to Satan himself so the Satan can plague his flesh in the hopes his soul will be saved. Matthew 18:17 In 2 Samuel 12:10-14 God spells out the consequences that came to David even after he repented. When the Israelites said they were sorry for not going into the promised land and that they would go now—God said “No, you will all die in the desert but I will feed, clothe and protect you and lead your children in.” Numbers 14:39-45. Above all we need to protect children and weak people from being hurt again.
- Taking unreasonable risks: We are not to “cast our pearls to pigs” and if people will not receive us we are to move on.
- Taking away their guilt before God. If they ask your forgiveness, do urge them to identify the inner reason that they did what they did and urge them to ask God for help with that.