How Do You Truly Forgive?
Ephesians 4:29-32, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
I. Pray --- You Will Need All The Strength You Can Absorb From God In Order To Love And Forgive.
A. You don't forgive by Merely Saying you do.
B. Forgiveness is a Choice.
C. Prayer --- Pray for God to Bless him.
(( Then put feet to your prayers ... allow God to use you to bless him ...))
D. Compassion --- Do Something Good for him --- Without Expecting Gratitude or anything in return.
Mat 5:44, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, [bless them] that curse you, do [good] to [them] that hate you, and pray for [them] which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"
II. Go To The Offender In Private For A "One-On-One" Meeting.
A. Matthew 18:15, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother."
B. A sign of Spiritual Maturity is Not Avoiding conflict, but being able to Face It Without Losing Our Self-Control.
C. However, keep in mind, Telling Someone That You Forgive Them May:
1. Come across as being Judgmental and acting Superior.
2. Be an act of "Spiritual Pride".
III. Be Prepared To Listen --- You May Also Need To Ask For Forgiveness.
A. There are very few situations where the other person is Totally Wrong --- and you Totally Innocent.
1. It is Not Fair to expect the offender to do all the repenting or changing.
2. If we Ignore Our Wrongs --- offering forgiveness can become an Act of Judgment or an Exercise In Superiority.
3. For us to Refuse to lovingly confront Until the other person changes is to Ignore Our Part in the problem.
B. You see, many times The Cause of Our Conflict Lies Deeper than the problem we're discussing at the moment.
1. Attacking the Wrong Problem never resolves the real one.
2. Each of us have a list of: --- Emotionally Safe, acceptable problems --- and of Dangerous, unacceptable ones.
3. Every time one of these dangerous, unacceptable problems begins to appear --- we will be tempted to substitute a more acceptable one with which to struggle --- Change The Subject.
C. We Won't Solve our problems if we Won't Admit they exist - -- or if we view conflicts as Personal Attacks.
D. However, no matter how hard you may try to be reconciled --- you have No Guarantee of Success:
1. Then, you must Wait And Pray,
2. Assure them of your Continued Love and forgiveness,
3. Make it clear you are Not Condoning their offense in any way --- but you love them ...
4. Loving and Forgiving the sinner does Not mean that you Love or even Tolerate Sin!
Leviticus 19:17, "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD."
E. Remember, You Are Not Responsible For The Actions of Others --- only your own actions --- or reactions.
F. Remember, also, God gives us just the right Parents, Mates, Children, and Associates to Develop the Christian graces we need.
G. David --- II Samuel 16:5, "And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name [was] Shimei, ----- he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men [were] on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou [art taken] in thy mischief, because thou [art] a bloody man. Then said Abishai ----- unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. And the king said, What have I to do with you, ----- so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, ..... let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust."
IV. You Must Understand The Other Person.
A. We are sometimes so Concerned About Our Own Hurts --- we fail to consider the other person.
(( Have a little understanding ))
B. There Is A Reason Behind Every Action: --- Behavior Has Its Roots In The Past ...
1. They might have been: Abused as a child ...
2. Their wife (husband) Neglects them --- even walked out on them for someone else ...
3. They have been Betrayed in a business deal --- lost a lot of money ...
4. Life has offered him one Raw Deal after another.
5. He might have been raised in a very Fundamental, Critical, And Demeaning Home Life.
C. Church Trouble is usually a results of ----- Family Trouble at home .....
And They Take It Out On You ...
D. To Know All is to Forgive All ...
(( Never Criticize Another Indian Until You Walk A Mile In His Moccasins. ))
E. Understanding is Not Unconditional Acceptance.
F. You may Not Be Comfortable around him because of his attitude and his actions ...
G. You Need To Choose Your Close Friends Careful.
1. Proverbs 18:24, "A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly:" --- (R.V.) "He that maketh many friends, doeth it to his own destruction."
2. Philippians 1:9, "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and [in] all judgment;"
3. Proverbs 20:19, "He that goeth about [as] a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not (do not associate) with him that flattereth with his lips."
4. I Corinthians 5:11, "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."
5. I Corinthians 15:33, "Be not deceived: evil communication (fellowship) corrupt good manners. (morals)."
H. Repentance on their part may be required for Fellowship --- but it's up to you to forgive --- Whether they repent or not.
1. Immediate fellowship may Not Be Possible --- you don't want to become like them .....
2. Amos 3:3, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"
I. However, you can Still Forgive Him --- and Love Him in the Lord.
II Thessalonians 3:6-7, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;"
V. 11, "For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies."
V. 14-15, "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet COUNT [HIM] NOT AS AN ENEMY, but admonish [him] as a brother."
V. You Must Love & Value That Person As God Does.
A. The Highest Unit of Value in the universe is a Human Soul.
Mark 8:36, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
B. He is a man For Whom Christ Died.
1. No one For Whom Christ Died can be, to me, An Enemy --- an Object of Hate or Scorn.
2. He has the possibility of becoming A Saint.
3. No one can be Considered Worthless when Christ --- God Himself --- died for him.
4. No one (However Irresponsible) is too low to be an Object of God's Love.
C. God wants to love that person Through You --- Are you willing to be an Instrument of God's Love?
D. You must see the other person As Precious --- regardless of the wrong done or the injury felt.
1. Galatians 6:1, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
2. II Corinthians 2:7, "So that contrariwise ye [ought] rather to forgive [him], and comfort [him], lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm [your] love toward him."
E. Ralf Luther, writes: "To love one's enemy does not mean to love the mire in which the pearl lies, but to Love The Pearl That Lies In The Mire."
1. We do Not Condone the offense nor does he over look the wrong done.
2. What was done is separate from Who has done it.
3. Hate the sin --- love the sinner.
(( I.C.P.C. --- Alanta, Ga. ))
F. Your Forgiveness And Love May Be His Only Link To God --- How Can You Withhold It?
G. Prayer --- Pray for God to bless him.
H. Compassion --- Do something good for him Without Expecting Gratitude or anything in return.
I John 3:14, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death."
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