FORGIVE AND BE FORGIVEN!
GOD'S GRACE AND MERCY FOR ALL OF US
A seventeen -year old girl appeared on television. She faced the man who, four years earlier, had beaten her beyond recognition and left her for dead. She underwent 17 surgeries before her face was restored to nearly normal.
Her words to him were, "I don't hate you. I hate what you did to me, and I have had to forgive you so I could go on with my life." By forgiving the man she herself was able to rebuild her life.
Tony Melendez was born in Nicaragua with a clubfoot and without arms. Today he performs at concerts, singing and playing his guitar with his toes.
"I remember Mother," says Tony, "she believed that God had created me with something wonderful in mind. When I grew discouraged, she said, "Trust God, Tony. He will take care of you."
By refusing to blame God for his problems, and by dedicating his remarkable talents to the Lord, Tony has become a glowing Christian. He is an inspiration to others.
For still another example, let us hear from Margaret. She had repeated dreams, which she called, "perverted and sickening sexual activities." Because she had has sexual relations with her three brothers, she felt dirty, worthless and abnormal. Nine years later when she was twenty-one, she found spiritual and emotional freedom when she met each one and they forgave each other.
THE NEED FOR FORGIVENESS
The need for forgiveness is one of the greatest needs of all. The lack of forgiveness results in quarrels, sickness, distress, mental illness, broken homes and war. Both the unforgiven and the unforgiving suffer these results.
Jesus spoke of forgiveness in startling ways:
When you are praying, and you remember that you are angry with another person about something, then forgive him. If you do this, hen your Father in heaven will also forgive you.
If your brother sins, tell him he is wrong. But If he is sorry and stops sinning, forgive him. If your brother sins against you seven times in one day, but he says that he is sorry each time, then forgive him.
You must tell people to change their hearts and lives. If they do this, their sins will be forgiven." "Father, forgive them. They don't know what they are doing.
FORGIVENESS HAS TOP PRIORITY
One day a paralyzed man was taken to Jesus to be healed. Jesus could see that he was paralyzed but Jesus could also see another, deeper need. Jesus treated this problem first. He said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." Later He said, "I tell you, stand up. Take your mat and go home."
To the amazement, of everyone, the man got up and went home, forgiven and healed.
The fascinating event suggests:
- Forgiveness is our greatest need.
- Jesus Christ can fully forgive sins.
- We can know we are forgiven.
- Forgiveness can also bring healing.
- No problem is too hard for Jesus to solve.
- We should lead our friends to Jesus.
TO BE FORGIVEN, WE MUST FORGIVE OTHERS
Jesus taught His disciples: "You should pray like this: "Forgive the sins we have done, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us."
Then He solidly linked forgiving others to being forgiven ourselves when He said," Yes, if you forgive others for the things they do wrong, then you heavenly Father in heaven will also forgive you for the things you do wrong. But if you don't forgive the wrongs of others then your Heavenly Father in heaven will not forgive you."
WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?
To forgive is to stop blaming people for their offenses and to cancel their debt toward us. It brings to mind the words like, "acquit, pardon and clear from blame."
Someone has said, "Forgiveness as a decision means choosing not to hold on to an emotional debt against another person. Forgiveness as a process means working through our inner reactions until what has been done to us no longer dominates. When we can think of the person who wronged us without feeling hurt and anger."
Forgiveness is essentially a choice, but one that needs to be made with all of our heart. We need to remind ourselves of it every time the subject comes up."
Forgiveness is one of the principles of the Kingdom.
" Do you long wistfully for Peace and Joy? Apply the principles of the kingdom, especially the principle of the kingdom, especially the principle of forgiveness."
Forgiveness and sickness
"I'm sick of you!" Was it you who said that? It may be true. Harboring hatred towards a person can make one sick. A psychiatrist said that most of his patients could be healed if they knew they were forgiven or if they would forgive others.
David Seemands, a respected Christian writer, explains that when we fail to forgive we begin to suffer from "hidden tormentors like, "sickness, guilt, mental disorders, chemical dependence, self destructive behavior and personal conflicts- just to name a few."
Jesus told the parable about forgiveness. The first man (a servant) owed the king a large sum of money, but the king forgave the debt. Later, the same servant went to collect from a man who owed him a large sum of money. Though the man begged for mercy the first servant put him imprison until the debt should be paid.
When the king heard about it, he put the first servant in prison TO BE TORMENTED. Jesus finished the story with these words: "The king did what my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
THE PROBLEM MULITPLIED
If we allow ill will to remain in our thoughts and emotions, here will come an additional factor. Enter the devil himself. A heart full of hatred and malice is exactly what he likes, it is his territory and he sets up shop." To evict him is no easy task.
"Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other, just as God forgave you in Christ."
WHAT IF I DON'T FEEL LIKE FORIVING?
That is very common, you are a part of the human race. Put your feeling aside; pay no attention to them. You can to this if you remember this important truth: "FORGIVENESS IS NOT AN EMOTION: IT'S ESSENTIALL A CHOICE."
Several years ago, someone whom I thought was my friend betrayed me. As a Christian I knew I must forgive him and I chose to do so. However, as the weeks went by I found myself remembering his offense and feeling the same way as I felt before I forgave him. I felt violent emotions and terrible guilt. Satan added to this by saying to me, " See you haven't forgiven him, or you wouldn't feel the way you do."
I answered, "Yes, I have forgiven him, and if I haven't, I do so now." That helped. Later I learned something about feeling or emotions. They come and go, that is, they are involuntary and we do not need to assume guilt fir them. However, if we let them control us, that is a different story. Then we are guilty.
HOW SHALL WE HANDLE FEELING?
- Acknowledge them. Identify them and own them.
- Don't use them as a measuring stick to determine your spiritual state.
- Reject thoughts of condemnation
- Submit emotions to God and determine to live by God's Word. God does not tell us we must feel a certain way, BUT, that we must act a certain, speak a certain way and think a certain way.
If we get our thinking in harmony with God's our feeling will line up sooner or later. That is what happened with me. Now I can think about the incident without feelings of anger and self-pity.
Let us often remind ourselves, FORGIVENESS IS NOT AN EMOTION; IT'S ESSENTIALLY A CHOICE.
WHAT ABOUT FORGIVING OURSELVES?
Have you said to yourself -
"I'm too ashamed of myself? I must punish myself by being miserable? I can't believe did that? My sins are too bad to be forgiven?"
Yes, there is no defense for us. True, the sins are bad. True, we don't deserve to be forgiven. Also true, and let us never forget it, JESUS DIED FOR SINNERS AND HE OFFERS TO FORGIVE US."
Let us start believing it! Once we have confessed our sins, Jesus Christ does not consider us guilty. Let us believe that.
Ruth Billman has written a book called Glimpses and she sells it for $10.00. Write to her at this address: Ruth Billman, 7507 Landau Curve, Bloomington, MN 55438-2366. Please include ten dollars, and she will mail you your copy. She will pay the postage if your mailing address is in the U.S.A.
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