Forgiveness Is Essential For Healthy Relationships
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
Nothing destroys a relationship faster than lack of forgiveness. If one person is holding onto a hurt or wrong, then it impacts the relationship on every level. Trust is impossible if there is unforgiveness.
In contrast, forgiveness can make a relationship even stronger. When you forgive someone for hurting you, it shows you care more about that person and your relationship than getting what you deserve. It shows that you recognize the person is more than just the wrong they did.
A relationship based on forgiveness and grace is much stronger than one based on being right and getting what you deserve.
Forgiveness Does Not Require That:
You forget We can forgive without forgetting the situation that caused the debt. For instance, if someone has physically abused you in the past, you can forgive them without putting yourself into a situation where they can continue to harm you. Forgiveness might lead us to seek reconciliation, but we are not required to put ourselves in danger. As Rose Sweet says, While God commands us to forgive others, he never told us to keep trusting those who violated our trust or even to like being around those who hurt us.³
You necessarily have a face-to-face meeting or restoration of relationship with the offender Aaron Sironi explains: Though we are called to forgive those who sin against us, and we must be ready and willing to do so , pursuing relational reconciliation is complex and not automatic. As a general rule, if the offender has not repented, has not acknowledged the sin, and does not ask for forgiveness , reconciliation is not warranted. The decision to reconcile is also impacted by the duration and severity of the sin involved.
Forgiveness Is Not A Feeling
If you are waiting until the feeling to forgive comes upon you, its unlikely to occur. Forgiveness is an act of obedience to God, stemming from gratitude for His grace. And God knows that revenge, anger and rage can destroy us spiritually, emotionally and physically. Christ paid too much for His beloved ones to have them be slaves to anything, particularly hatred. He wants His children free. And a person is never free when weighed down with bitterness. When the cold shackles of revenge are tightly clasped around our wrists, its impossible to lift our hands in praise to Him.
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Jesus Said We Must Forgive
In the introduction to his book, Total Forgiveness, R.T. Kendall tells of the time that he revealed to a friend from Romania, Josif, how badly he had been hurt by someone or by a group of people. He is purposefully vague about who it was.
Josifs response to R.T. was, You must totally forgive them. Until you totally forgive them you will be in chains. Release them, and you will be released.
R.T. says that until his friend responded this way, his unforgiving spirit had not bothered all that much. He felt that he had been terribly hurt and that those who had hurt him did not deserve to be let off the hook. He wrote that though he was a mature minister of the gospel of Christ, he simply felt he had a right to stay angry.
But his friends words challenged him and caused him to refocus on the teachings of Christ and on what quenches or grieves the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
It is that simple and clear. But behind that command is a wealth of compassion and wisdom. Jesus knows that if we can release people who have done us harm, we will be the strongest and most free among people.
Forgiveness Does Not Mean You Are To Make It Easy For The Offender To Hurt You Again
They may hurt you again. That is their decision. But you must set boundaries on your relationship with them. The fact that you establish rules to govern how and to what extent you interact with this person in the future does not mean you have failed to sincerely and truly forgive them. True love never aids and abets the sin of another. The offender may himself be offended that you set parameters on your friendship to prevent them from doing further harm. They may even say, How dare you? This just proves that you didnt mean it when you said you forgave me. Dont buy into their manipulation. Forgiveness does not mean you become a helpless and passive doormat for their continual sin.
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There Is A Princely Price For Forgiveness
We read the next phrase in this Lords Institution of the New Passover and we learn that His mission on earth is entirely concerned with forgiveness by the price of His own blood. For we read, Which is shed for many
Not one drop of Jesus blood is wasted on the Cross. Jesus died for the remission of the sins of man. Not all will believe. The doctrine of particular redemption, as the Baptist, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, put it, teaches us what we read in narrative in Acts.
Holding A Grudge As Control
So, your husband or your child did something that was really disappointing to you. They have apologized and hoped that the apology would make the situation better, but it hasnt. Thats because you have chosen not to forgive them so you can always have something over their head.
Its controlling. By throwing it constantly back at them, they feel guilty and always in debt to you. You can use it as manipulation to get what you want from them. As a result, they will try to win your trust or forgiveness by giving gifts and in other materialistic ways.
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When You Are Forgiven You Experience Joy When You Refuse To Confess Your Wrongdoing You Suffer
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night Your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to You and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, I will confess my rebellion to the LORD. And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
This passage shows both the benefits of forgiveness and the consequences of lack of forgiveness.
You have probably experienced a time when you felt weighed down by guilt or shame because of something you did wrong that you did not want to admit. The author of this Psalm, King David, talks about how trying to hide his sin from God had both spiritual and physical consequences in his life. This is a possibility for all of us because the guilt and shame can lead to stress and stress can impact your physical and mental health.
In contrast, confessing your sins to God and others and receiving forgiveness produces freedom and joy that can have positive effects on your whole life.
What Did Jesus Say About Forgiveness
There are a lot of opinions out there about forgiveness. Experts will tell you that you do not have to forgive. The media is rife with articles about not forgiving those who have hurt us, or that its cruel to tell people to forgive because it invalidates the abuse they experienced and the trauma they may be slowly working through.
I get it.
I kind of want to fist-pump the air to that except in my heart I know its not what I need for my soul
You see, Im dealing with tremendous hurt and facing this study about forgiveness has been a little daunting. Thinking about what the Lord is calling me to address with Him as I approach this next Online Bible Study, Forgiving What You Cant Forget with Lysa TerKeurst, feels like a ginormous no-but-thank-you-very-much right now. I literally just did all my laundry, emptied the dish washer, cleaned my bathroom, and organized my desk drawers to delay writing a little longer. Hashtag talktomelaterJesusimsuperbusy.
So, I needed to make myself sit down and ask why all my insides want to avoid this topic. What I came up with is the questions.
There are so many questions, especially in the Christian community, and you might be experiencing them, too! Here are a few that Lysa tackles in her study:
Lysa unpacks much of this in her Journey through what the Bible actually says about forgiveness final chapters and while we cant cover all of it here today, lets focus on what Jesus had to say about the topic.
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You Do Not Have To Clean Up Your Life Before You Seek Gods Forgiveness Seek Gods Forgiveness And He Will Help You Change Your Life
God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in Gods sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from Gods condemnation.
This is one of the most profound and wonderful truths in the Bible: God forgives people who are still sinners those who rebel against God and go their own way. Before anyone was able to prove themselves good enough or worthy which isnt possible in your own strength apart from Him God willingly came to earth in the person of Jesus to pay the price for sins so that you could have a relationship with Him. He did this because He loves you deeply.
God chose this act of love and forgiveness knowing that some people would still reject Him and go their own way. He chose to die for the sins of the whole world because He knew the world couldnt save itself.
As youve most likely experienced, its much easier to forgive when other people apologize, try to make things right or ask you for forgiveness. However, as we see above, thats not what God does or asks you to do. God leads by example. He reached out to a broken world full of broken people. He made the first move. He sacrificed His life for you, whether you ever choose to follow Him or not. He did this regardless of your response, and it cost Him dearly.
There Is A Supreme Power Of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a gracious act of God grounded in the Covenant of Grace, mediated by the Lord Jesus, fully God and fully Man, who lived a perfect life and shed His blood for sinners on the cross, and offered to any who would repent, believe and come to Christ through the proclamation of the Word of God.
But what is the power that opens ones heart, causes one to believe, receive forgiveness for sins and bring about reconciliation with God, and, thus, with others?
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Be Wise In Future Interactions
In general, if people wrong you, forgiving them opens the door to reconciliation. It puts the relationship back on a good path. However, forgiving doesnt mean being foolisheven if the other person says, Youre supposed to forgive and forget.
If you give someone money for food and he or she spends it on gambling, it probably would be foolish to give the same person more money.
If someone mistreats you in a significant way, you might not choose to spend a lot of time with him or her. If someone rapes you, after reporting the crime to law enforcement, you would not try to be friends with him or her.
Forgive, but also be shrewd .
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
What do you think?
7. Is it possible to forgive someone, yet still talk or take action? Explain your answer.
The Power Of Forgiveness In The Bible
One of the most moving scenes in the Bible for me is when Jacob returned home after years of hiding out with his relative Laban.
He was frightened about returning. His brother, Esau, had been furious when he left, even threatening to kill him for things he had done. So Jacob came back armed with gifts and sent them, with many of his people going before him to appease his brother.
However, when he encountered Esau, Esau showed no anger. Perhaps the years had softened him. He even asked Jacob, Why all the gifts? I have plenty. Keep them for yourself.
But what Jacob said to him moves my heart so. He said, I have brought the gifts to find favor with you. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.
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Our Forgiveness Of Others Must Also Be Conditional
Denominations often teach people to forgive others even whenthey have not repented or asked for forgiveness. This is denominational errorjust like teaching that alien sinners can be forgiven without meetingconditions. Remember, we forgive others just as God forgives us.
The gospel states conditions people must meet for us to forgive them.
Luke 17:3,4 If your brother sins against you, rebuke him and if he repents, forgive him.And if he sins against youseven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, Irepent, you shall forgive him. This is Jesus command, just as much as Mark 16:16.
When a brother sins against us, what do we do?Rebuke him . When do we forgive? When he repents andtells us he has repented.
Proverbs 28:13 He whocovers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them willhave mercy.
James 5:16 Confess yourtrespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Until the sinner repents, God continues to consider him tobe guilty. If I forgive before he repents, I am saying I hold him notguilty knowing God still holds him guilty!
The idea that we should forgive people who have not repentedis denominational and Calvinistic.
To forgive people before they meet the conditions is to do them adisservice!
James 5:19,20 Turn the sinner from his error and save a soul from death. We must rebuke sinnershoping they will repent and be saved.
There Is An Incalculable Cost To Unforgiveness
When Jesus fulfilled the Passover meal and restated the terms of salvation more clearlyHe is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world we are saved by His shed blood on the doorposts of our lives by His life lived and His death on the cross, we are freeeverything changed. And even more so much was made plain.
Unforgiveness is spiritually and physically unhealthy.
We need forgiveness to live spiritually balanced, hopeful lives. Since the pathologies of the soul often migrate to the body we can even assert that we need forgiveness for our very health. This is not merely preacher talk. If you prefer, then scientists have also observed the cost of unforgiveness. Consider only one of the many psychiatric researchers reports on the terrible costs of unforgiveness:
First, unforgiveness is often a core component of stress resulting from an interpersonal offense, and stress is associated with decreased mental health. Second, unforgiveness resulting from intrapersonal transgressions may increase levels of guilt, shame, and regret that in turn negatively impact ones mental health.
Forgiveness is necessary because of sin.
Jesus statement tells us a great deal about our condition.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us .
Forgiveness Sometimes Is A Process
In general, its best to forgive quickly. However, if someone seriously wounds youfor example, by raping you or physically assaulting youit may take you a while to make the decision to forgive. If that happens, dont feel guilty for not forgiving right away. God understands your emotions, and he will help you as you go through the healing process. As time goes by, there will come a time when you are ready to forgive.
Likewise, after you forgive someone, you may find yourself slipping back into unforgiveness. If that happens, dont condemn yourself or think you didnt forgive in the first place. Sometimes it takes time for severe emotional wounds to heal. Reaffirm your decision to forgive, and ask God to heal the pain in your heart.
Make it personal
4. Describe a time when you found yourself growing in your ability to forgive someone.
Is Forgive And Forget Biblical
Where does the phrase forgive and forget come from? Many people will tell you that it is from the Bible.
The Bible teaches us much about forgiveness, and all of it is the opposite of forgive and forget.
The best I can come up with is the phrase comes from Miguel de Cervantes in his 17th Century book Don Quixote. The proper quote is Let us forget and forgive injuries.
Forgiveness is in short supply in our country today, and this is just as true of Christians, as it is anyone else.
Jesus Christ has little patience for Christians that choose not to forgive. He reserves some of his harshest judgment for those who want to follow him, but want to hold on to their grudges at the same time.
In Matthew 6:14-15, For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Over the next month, I want to study forgiveness carefully. I want to start here because people say, forgive and forget, but it doesnt happen very often, and when we do forget, it is only after healing.
First, there are some sins we learn from so we arent hurt again in the same way.
Notice, Jesus didnt suggest we forgive others in Matthew 6:14-15, He required us to do so. Therefore, it is something we can choose to do even if we dont want to.
Is there someone you need to forgive?
Have you tried to forgive and forget for long enough?