RSS Feed

Tag Archives: relationship

The Gift of Forgiveness

Posted on

I forgive you. Few words carry such an enormous impact upon both the speaker and the listener. It’s been my observation that forgiveness can break the chains that bind us to our past like few other things can. We all know we should forgive those who have wronged us, yet coming to a place of truly forgiving another can be fearful, difficult, or at times confusing.  Some find themselves in a place where they are unsure if they have forgiven or not. Still others ask, “Why should I forgive, I’m the one who was hurt?”

FORGIVENESS

SETS US FREE

FROM OUR OWN

PRISON CELL.

“What forgiveness is not”

Let me begin by sharing what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is NOT justifying, excusing, understanding or explaining away someone’s behavior. It is NOT denying angry feelings, forgetting about it, pretending it didn’t happen. Forgiveness does NOT require the cooperation, request or knowledge of the other person and is NOT the same as reconciliation, nor does it require reconciliation, as in cases of abuse or violence, etc. Forgive and forget is a myth. You are not capable of self-induced amnesia. We need to forgive and be willing to forget.

“What is forgiveness?”

I think the best way to understand forgiveness is to ask the One who invented it. Scripture is filled with awesome revelation of God’s incredible “transaction” with mankind. He took the sins of the world and placed then on Christ. He took Christ’s righteousness and offered it to all who would receive. Such an incredible offer, total forgiveness as well as Christ’s very life and righteousness made available to us. We first had to realize our “need,” then we entered into (receiving, appropriated) the work God had already prepared for us.

“Releasing a Debt”

This is forgiveness, a transaction whereby the debt of one is released by the willful act of another. This release is not earned or bargained for. It’s a gift only to be received. This is precisely the definitions of the two words used in the original language of the Bible that are translated “forgive.” One means, to release a debt, the other means to give a gift of grace (an unearned gift). It’s important to note that God did His forgiveness work before we asked Him to. This teaches an important lesson on our forgiveness of others. Forgiveness only takes one, reconciliation takes two.

“Doesn’t sound fair”

If we are the one who was hurt, then why should we release the other person from a debt that they haven’t paid? This doesn’t sound fair to me. Besides the obvious fact that forgiveness is a scriptural command, I find consolation in the scripture that reminds me that God forgives for His own sake. (Isa. 43:25) We are then one’s who benefit from forgiving others. Forgiveness sets us free from our own prison cell. The sad fact is, I can’t undo the past. As much as I might wish it were different, debts (hurts by others) of the past are debts that can never be paid. In areas where I’ve been wronged or hurt I only have two options, carry that hurt with bitterness or release the hurt through forgiveness. If you’re thinking that it doesn’t seem fair, you’re right, it’s not. In reality the harm done to us by others was in fact paid for by Jesus on the cross, and the cross wasn’t fair. From God’s perspective the cross is where unpaid debt of others is finally accounted for. From our limited perspective, it’s hard to see how the account is settled.

“FORGIVE AND

FORGET IS A MYTH.

YOU ARE NOT

CAPABLE OF SELF-

INDUCED AMNESIA.”

 “…AS YOU HAVE

BEEN FORGIVEN” Scripture tells us to “forgive as God has forgiven us” (Eph.4:32) To briefly list how God has forgiven us would include the following. God had a focal point (the cross). He charged the debt, poured out His wrath and made a transaction. Based on that transaction, He forgave and accepted us. He then took the chance we would fail again.

“How do I forgive?”

Our forgiveness of others include all these points. Just as  God had a focal point, you may find helpful to picture this person sitting in an empty chair or prayerfully giving the hurt to Jesus, after all “He bore our griefs and sorrows.” It is not required  the other person be present. This is your decision, you’re deciding what you will do with your life.

* Acknowledge the hurt (ie. charge the debt) verbally.

* Acknowledge how it made you feel. This means you need to “feel what you feel.”

* Verbally release the person from the debt they owe you. (saying in effect, “I release the debt,” “You don’t owe me any more,” “You are forgiven.”)   Forgiveness is a transaction based on will, not a feeling.                                 

 * Accepting the person just as they are (Ro.15:7)  I am entrusting this person into God’s hands. God is now responsible for changing this person. This person is not freed from the consequences of his actions. God is in charge of letting people experience the consequences of their actions, we are not called to be enablers or rescuers.

“WE ONLY HAVE TWO

OPTIONS, CARRY THE

HURT IN BITTERNESS

OR RELEASE THE HURT

THROUGH FORGIVENESS.”

Most of us have people who have hurt us deeply and need to forgive. This list usually includes ourselves. Failure to forgive ourselves is holding onto what God has released. This is one of the enemy’s traps.

“Picket fences or Prison walls?”

When hurt, most people develop rigid protective walls. Unless we are willing to cautiously lower these walls of protection, reconciliation becomes impossible. They become prison walls rather than picket fences that serve to define healthy personal boundaries. There is always the risk of being hurt again. This will mean trusting God with the future.

“Residual feelings”

The fact that passing thoughts and lingering hurt feelings may still occur proves two things. The devil is alive and well, and we still retain the memory of the hurt even after forgiveness. As we focus on the reality of our transaction, emotions slowly follow. We literally change the significance of a hurtful memory when we change its meaning. No longer a victim, we are an overcomer.

“Decision or Process?”

Is forgiveness a decision or a process? It’s both. Allow me to illustrate, almost seventeen years ago Carol and I walked into a church as single people. We said a few words, and the pastor (my father) said a few words. When we walked out we were married people. It became true because we made it true. It started with a decision, yet the implications of that wonderful decision are discovered in a lifelong process. This principle applies to forgiveness. It too begins with a decision, but it’s clearly a process of walking out our decision on a daily basis. Keeping our accounts at zero is an ongoing process.

“Reconciliation?”

 Many people ask questions like, “What if the other person isn’t sorry for what they did, or what if he never asks to be forgiven?” These questions are more about the issue of reconciliation than forgiveness. Remember, forgiveness takes one, reconciliation takes two working toward a common goal. Scripture implies that we will not be able to reconcile with everyone. (Rom. 12:18), however reconciliations is the natural goal in mind in most cases. We are responsible for our own willingness to reconcile, but not for others. I like to use the illustration that reconciliation is like two people on opposite sides of a large river and you only have enough lumber to build the bridge half-way across. The point being, if the other person doesn’t want their half of the bridge, you won’t get across. True reconciliation won’t take place. At best what you will have is an “arrangement” not a relationship with the other person. Arrangements are where two Peoples interactions with each other are governed by unspoken but clearly understood terms of rules.

“Forgiveness takes

one, reconciliation

takes two… what

you have is an

“arrangement”

not a relationship…”

“You are a forgiven person”

While forgiveness seems awkward at first, we soon discover that it is completely consistent with the new nature (2Pet.1:4) we received at salvation. In other words, we discover the truth that all believers are in fact forgiving people by virtue of God’s process of changing our hearts. Any time our daily walk becomes consistent with our new nature (Christ in us) we are on the path to freedom. Let’s walk in His freedom.

Written by James Eubanks – Grace Ministries, Inc. – Angels by Grace Publication-May 1998

http://www.elahministries.com   http://www.facebook.com/elahministries

http://www.suespen2paper.com   http://www.cybersupportgroup.org

elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.

Advertisements

Will faith carry you?

Posted on

513-1-awesomepoweroffaith2_t

We have all faced times of trouble, of sorrow, of events that have tested our faith to the limits. So how do we rise above those down times, those times when God and His Son and Holy Spirit seem to be off somewhere in the distance that we feel we cannot reach?

Scripture says that faith comes through hearing. (Ro. 10:17) To me that doesn’t always mean through a preacher behind the pulpit. It can be through others who have walked similar paths as we have. It can be through reading the scriptures in the Bible, music, or that small still voice that comes from deep within us.

As Christians we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He is with us constantly. There is never a second that we are alone and He will not remain silent as long as we tap into the Source. We build our faith by praying and listening. By crying out to God Almighty and believing that He hears us and cares.

Being in an abusive environment can destroy hope and faith. We hope things will get better and they don’t. At times they only get worse. How is faith to grow when it seems nothing we do has any impact on our circumstances? It’s a tough life and without hope we seem to disappear into a sea of pain and hopelessness. But hope is there because we have a loving and merciful Savior.

We have a Savior that bore our pain when He was nailed unmercifully to a cross. He looked out over humanity and love swelled in His heart as He said, “It is finished.”  (John 19:30) There’s our hope! We have a Savior that took our sins with each dying breath he took.

Somewhere along the line of life we have heard of God. He says no one has an excuse not to believe. (Ro.1:20) His Majesty is all around us. The blue of the sky, the trees that sway in a wind that we can not see yet can feel. The first cry of a new born baby. Every breath we take is ordained by God. His presence is everywhere. We just have to believe and have faith that God is on our side.

We should never allow circumstances, what people have done to hurt us, the hurt we feel, or past sin to stand between us and our loving, compassionate, caring, and merciful God. Our relationship with Him is the most important relationship we will ever have in this life time. Have faith. He loves you.

 

http://www.elahministries.com   http://www.facebook.com/elahministries

http://www.suespen2paper.com   http://www.cybersupportgroup.org

elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.

The roller coaster of healing – A Letter to Jesus

imagesCAZD7MBF

Dear Jesus:

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know why I haven’t wanted to talk to you most of the time during these past few weeks. I don’t feel close, yet I know you’re with me. I don’t want to open your Word or even go to church. “Why?” keeps popping into my mind. Yet I don’t really care why.

I know I’m getting tired of feeling like this. I can’t work, I can’t do the hobbies I enjoy. I can’t serve you as I have in the past or as I should. It’s you that does these things through me, I know that, But I don’t even want to pray, Lord! If I don’t care why, then why am I writing this? If this experience is to show me I can’t do anything without you, I already know that. I want to scream, “So what’s going on?” but I don’t want the answer, either.

I’m messed up, Lord. I’m at a place I don’t remember even being before I became a Christian. Any yes, it’s very obvious that I’m operating out of the flesh. Part of me is screaming, “So what! I am human!” I feel like I’m mad at you and I don’t know why. This feels like the time you used my healing to show others the pain we feel from abuse. Remember that? I was really hurting and you allowed me to go through that in front of others. Boy, was I a real mess then! And I didn’t like that any more than I like this.

I don’t see what the lesson is here. Are you using this experience as a lesson to someone else? Me? I want to shout, “Where’s the lesson!?” But I’m not sure I want to hear the answer. Choices? Consequences? You’ve led me to those type verses the few times I’ve opened your Word this past few weeks. I did read them before I slammed the Bible closed.  Is that what all of this is about? Are you showing me I do have choices? That the “lost” feeling that seems to permeate me now, comes from those choices?

Lord, there’s anger, frustration, agitation. All sorts of negative feelings swirling around inside me. Why? Where does it come from? I care – I don’t. I want – I don’t want. I even feel, “So what?” It’s all inside of me.

I guess it’s up to me now, right? I can ask for your understanding. Ask you, “Why?” Part of me doesn’t want to know, doesn’t care. That doesn’t make sense, either.  I know this relationship is team work. You and me have to work together to accomplish whatever we endeavor. This part of the team doesn’t seem to care any more, yet I do.

Instead of me waiting on the Lord, I think, you Christ, are waiting on me. Waiting until I want your help, want you as an intricate part of my life again. Which, by the way, I never understood anyway. I never deserved you in the first place. So where’d you go? How come you left?

Lord, I know you haven’t left. I have. And I don’t know how to get back, or, if I want to. I gave you my life. You’re my Shepherd. Come find this lost lamb, ’cause I’m scared.

The answer was given in John 1:48-51.

~~~~~

Name withheld by request – Angels by Grace April 1998

 

If you have any confidential comments/questions feel free to e-mail me at: elah501c@bellsouth.net

http://www.elahministries.com

http://www.suespen2paper.com

http://www.facebook.com/elahministries

Blessings to you.