Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Can and Do You Forgive?

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 

Perhaps you consider yourself a forgiving person, but you are now facing someone whom you cannot forgive. Whenever you struggle to forgive, you need to revisit what you were like when God first forgave you. Ephesians 2 indicates you were a “foreigner” and a “child of wrath.” Yet God forgave your most grievous sin and rebellion against Him. While you were still rejecting God, Christ died for you (Rom. 5:8). This being so, how can you refuse to forgive those who sin against you? Forgiveness is not a spiritual gift, a skill, or an inherited trait. Forgiveness is a choice. Jesus looked down on those who had ruthlessly and mockingly nailed Him to a cross, yet He cried out: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). How, then, can we refuse to forgive those who have committed offenses against us? Jesus said that the measure in which we are forgiving is the same standard God will use in forgiving us. God's ways are very different from ours. God's forgiveness is not based on standards we determine, but on the standards He established in His Word. God allows for no exceptions when it comes to forgiveness. As we truly understand God's gracious forgiveness in our lives, we will naturally want to express this same forgiveness to others (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13). Before you ask God for His forgiveness, take a moment to examine the condition of your relationships. Would you want God to forgive you in the same way you are presently forgiving others? - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Oh what a touchy topic these days. 

Hearing responses like "I haven't done anything wrong!" When it's clear that something has happened.  Hearing anger and hatred as the undercurrent to an explanation. 

My dear reader, the hardest part of forgiveness is in the admitting that it's needed.  We look so hard at self justification in our anger at someone. 

I have been there in a very bad way.  Over a decade ago something happened that altered the course of my life.  A semi truck ran a red light.  In the weeks and months after that I struggled greatly with anger and forgiveness.  I admit that I had a rage problem towards all semi truck drivers.  But, God wouldn't have none of that. 

There eventually came a day when, as has often happened, God speaks a single sentence, and you stop right in your tracks.  Then every excuse, every reason, is obliterated.  Either forgive and let go or this isn't going to be pretty. 

Read in Deuteronomy near the end of the book.  There's both blessings and curses put before Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised land.  There are consequences to your behavior AND attitude.  

You can put on a face for everyone including yourself.  But consider this, God goes farther, He also looks at your intentions. 

I had come to a screeching halt.  Forgiveness had to come or it would eventually eat me alive.  I had to let go of my desire to be satisfied.  Things were going to happen in life that are beyond me. That are bigger than me.  That was just life.

What about you?  Getting angry, staying angry, is you drinking the poison that you want to affect the other person. 

Yes it is.  Nobody has the ability to handle that.  We deceive ourselves to think otherwise.  We lie to ourselves. 

Oops there is another piece of it.  Of what?  A piece of hindrance.  Huh?  Hindering what?  

Scripture says you put up things between you and God, hindering your prayers when you keep things in your hearts that don't belong there.  

Putting it in modern language, you are scattering Legos between you and God and neither of you wants to step on them.

God also says something else.  His commandment to us is to forgive.  

No amount of self justification allows us to not obey God.  It matters not what the reason we come up with.  If we desire peace that passes all understanding from Jesus then obedience had to lead the way. 

Being angry because of anything other than what angers God is not going to help you at all.  In fact Scripture says do not let the sun go down on your anger. Because in time you WILL give the devil an opportunity in messing up your life. 

I have heard it simply said.  Let go and let God.

My rage left as quickly as it came.  A deflated balloon.  Do you really realize the physical impact on your body from anger and hate?  Your facial muscles work over a hundred times harder than necessary.  Your body produces more adrenaline than it can tolerate.  Your stomach acid creation escalates.  You put your brain in a position to get a major headache. Your heart muscles are stressed.  Is it worth all that?  Is it?  Your own body testifies against your behavior!

My friend, who have you not forgiven?  God wouldn't have me writing this today if someone reading it didn't need to hear this.   Who are you not forgiving?

Jesus has EVERY reason in this world to not forgive YOU.  But He did. 

Don't go scaling the degree of offense to fit your definition of anger.  Jesus didn't provide a chart to go by in when you should or shouldn't start considering when to forgive.  He said to do it. Now.

So you didn't get your way.  Life didn't happen the way you wanted it to.  

You think Jesus really wanted to be beaten, scourged, nailed to a cross?  Read the Gospel accounts leading up to when it happened.  It was stressful to Him!  Yet He obeyed.  He cried out for the Father to forgive them. Paving the way and setting the standard for forgiveness. 

Lay hold of the peace you are seeking by letting go and forgiving. 

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