Ein wesentlicher Punkt jeglichen Heilungsprozesses ist zum einen die Vergebung. Es ist hierfür nicht wichtig, ob der andere bereut. Ich muss ihm nur jegliche Schuld erlassen und die Angelegenheit Gott übergeben. Das wird mich von einer ungeheueren Last befreien.
Unsere Vergangenheit und die Menschen, denen wir im Leben begegnet sind und die entscheidenden Einfluss daruaf hatten, mögen - vor allem in der Kindheit - entscheidend zur Entwicklung unserer Neigungen beigetragen haben. Das können wir nun nicht mehr ändern. Was wir aber ändern können, ist, ihnen zu vergeben und uns nicht mehr als Opfer zu fühlen (selbst wenn wir welche waren). Jesus ist für uns am Kreuz gestorben, damit wir FREI sein können! Wir sind keine Opfer mehr - wir sind geliebte Kinder Gottes!
Wenn irgend möglich und sinnvoll (Einzelfallentscheidung) sollten wir auch versuchen, die Angelegenheit mit den Betroffenen zu klären. Sei es nun mit Menschen, von denen wir denken, sie hätten uns verletzt (etwa Familienangehörige) oder Menschen, die wir durch unser Verhalten selbst verletzt haben. Wir sollten zu ihnen hingehen, ihnen sagen, wie sehr uns an der Beziehung zu ihnen liegt, dass wir ihnen vergeben (bzw. um Vergebung bitten) und uns durchaus des Schmerzes bewusst sind, den wir ihnen vielleicht selbst zugefügt haben. Gott hat uns vielleicht vergeben - bis wir uns aber selbst vergeben können, was wir geliebten Menschen angetan haben, das kann noch eine ganze Weile dauern.
All das läuft auf ein Ziel hinaus: wir müssen uns von unserer Vergangenheit befreien! Wir sind nicht Sklaven oder Produkt irgendwelcher Umstände. Wir sind Kinder Gottes - und als solche sollen wir unsere Brüder und Schwestern lieben wie Gott uns liebt - und ihnen vergeben wie Gott uns vergibt.
"Poverty of spirit is the capacity to say, 'I was wrong' - and mean it. That simple sentence may be the most difficult one you'll ever speak on a consistant, daily basis. Saying it quickly and sincerely is the essence of the sort of spirit which Jesus calls "poor".
From HA Online
Forgive And Be Free Mathew 18:21-35
There is a story about a fellow in the army who suffered a nasty deep gash in his leg. After the doctor had a good look at the wound, he pulled out a pan of warm water & a soft brush & began to cleanse the wound with the water, soap and the nylon brush. The cleansing of the wound was very painful.
And the soldier looked at the doctor & asked, "can't you just stitch it up without cleaning it?" The doctor replied by saying that it was necessary to clean the wound in order for it to be healed
properly. He continued to say that if it were not cleaned up, the healing process would be slow and also would be prone to becoming infected. The wound he said needs to be cleaned so that the wound would heal from the inside out.
Many of us have deep wounds that we have been carrying around for a long time. These wounds also need to be cleansed from the inside out. These wounds are so well hidden that no else can see them.
What I am talking about is the wound of "unforgiveness." We receive this nasty wound when we choose to not forgive others who have hurt us in one way or another. Un-forgiveness stems from memories that still hurt. These memories come back everyone in once a while and they still hurt. The pain that you suffer comes from memories of being ridiculed, of physical or sexual abuse, harassment, etc.
The problem here is that many of us have buried these hurts deep down within and have never told anyone about it. You think about it often and it festers inside like an open gash that has never been allowed to heal properly.
The question is, do you want to be healed? Or do you want to continue on for the rest of your life always being angry with someone who has hurt you.
Do you want to continue on for the rest of your life in pain?
There is a way to be healed from the inside out. We need to let Doctor Jesus take the Holy Ghost brush, using the water and soap of His Word & blood to cleanse those hidden wounds that have become infected.
There are two universal truths about life.
1) It is almost safe to say that everybody has a hidden wound, of
some sort, even though they may be masking it well, it is still there
2) The second truth is that emotional scars take a lot longer to
heal than physical wounds.
Ask any Vietnam Vet. Many have come home with missing arms and legs.
But, try to talk to them about the horrors of war, which they have witnessed.
They will tell you that they have terrible dreams for many years, which haunt them day and night.
Such is the deep, deep wound of not forgiving others. If allowed, it will scar you for life.
Please allow me to give you 8 characteristics of an unforgiving person. See for yourself if any or all of these characteristics fits you. If any, or all sounds like you, it could be that you have been
wounded and are in need of healing.
Bitterness by the way is a character trait of un-forgiveness.
Here are the 8 characteristics of an unforgiving person.
1) A bitter person cares very little for the person he is bitter
2) He is very touchy.
3) Can be ungrateful.
4) Gives empty flattery & harsh criticism.
5) Holds grudges.
6) He displays stubbornness or a sulky attitude.
7) He will help no one or complains sometimes when asked to help.
8) Experiences mood swings, high and low.
What does it feel like when you do not forgive another whom has hurt or offended you? You may feel intimidated by their presence. You may feel a sickness in your stomach whenever you think of them. You may wince at the mere mention of their name.You may feel a sudden welt of anger swell at the sight of them.
You figure after a time that the pain will go away, like the adage " Time is a good healer." But in fact, the pain is still there and some times gets worse.
Why is this? Because you have not forgiven them from the heart.
God calls on us to forgive, or He will not forgive you your sins.
Some of the ways in which we deal with a hidden hurt is to:
Grumble, complain & gossip.
Another way is to mull over the situation over & over & over again allowing the pain to get worse & worse.
Another way is to bury the pain, pretend it does not exist.
By doing this you have built up for yourself a defensive position,
a stronghold in which by mental & emotional means you feel protected from the one, whom have hurt you,
Or from others like them.
You say things to yourself like:
I'll never get involved with that person again. (or)
He let me down real bad. I'll never do business with him again.
The problem with building up for yourself a defensive stronghold is that it becomes your very own prison, in which you have locked yourself within, and the key is just on the other side of the wall, just slightly out of reach.
Another maybe more common way of dealing with offense is to get even.
You hurt me, I'll hurt you. That's the American way after all, is it not?
That's like what Elvis Presley said in a movie I watched many years ago.
He said: "Do unto others as they would have done unto you, except do it first.
The only problem with these options when dealing with hurt is that one gets bitter on the inside, rather than getting better, & getting healed. The poison of bitterness festers like an opened wound and never really heals properly, and spreads like cancer. Rather than getting better, the unforgiving person gets worse and more and more bitter.
Heb. 12:14 & 15 tells us to "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." (King James Version)
One of the main causes of bitterness is insecurity within our lives where the seeds of offence are allowed to take root, and bear poisonous fruit.The results of allowing the root of bitterness, sown by the seed of un-forgiveness is mental, emotional & physical sickness and following that is afflictions of many kinds.
God has a cure, a way to dig out the roots and provide us with internal security, that we not be offended again. Let us see if we cannot understand a few principles of forgiveness.
Chapter 5-7 of Matthew has been rightly called the "Manifesto of the Kingdom", where Jesus spells out what life is like for the citizens in the Kingdom of God. Within this Manifesto is contained what is commonly referred to as "The Lord's Prayer."
Let us read together the Lord's Prayer. Matt. 6:9-15
In verse 12 we have the word debt, or debts. The sense behind this word is to "that which is legally due." And likewise in the word " debtor" we have the sense of one that has not yet made amends to one whom has injured another in one manner or another. Jesus makes it quite clear in these verses, that, if we do not forgive, then God will also not forgive us.
Elsewhere in scripture & a little later in the chronological life of Jesus one of the disciples approaches Jesus & asks Him to "teach us to pray." (Luke 11:1 King James Version).
If you read Luke 11:4 you read: "And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil." (King James Version)
The word sin here translated from the Greek word " hamartia", has the sense of "Failing to reach the mark." God likewise sets up for us a standard by which we all miss the mark. When we miss this mark, it is called sin.
We to, inwardly set standards of how we feel others should treat us.
When others fail to reach that mark, we have the sense that we are owed something for being offended against, or to re-phrase it, we are sinned against. And according to Jesus, sin needs to be dealt with. John writes in 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (King James Version)
Do you see the problem here? There is an implication in these verses that if we do not forgive those who have offended us (whom are indebted to us), we still have sin in our heart, because the Lord has not forgiven us, for not forgiving others. And if we still have sin in our heart, there is no cleansing.
In Luke 6:35-37 Jesus again gives us more practical teaching about how to handle "Offense." He says: "But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven." (King James Version)
The Greek word " apoluo" (ap-ol-oo'-o) used here for forgive in verse 37 literally means to "free fully". Other words used are " to relieve, release, dismiss, let die, pardon, let go, loose, put or send away, set at liberty.
The context then is to not just forgive, but to release them of the debt owed you.
Now, lets read the next verse. Luke 6:38 "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." (King James Version)
Many have mistakenly thought that this verse is talking about money, which perhaps may fit.
But taken in context with the above verses of forgiving the thought becomes complete. In essence Jesus is saying that if you want to be forgiven, you yourself must forgive. If you want to be released you to must release those whom have hurt you and those whom have mistreated you. In the same measure that you forgive, God will likewise forgive you.
There are very many Christians walking about with un-forgiveness in their heart and cannot understand why their spiritual life has become so stale and why they do not seem to be growing spiritually.
Perhaps you are one of those people here tonight. Perhaps you do not even realize that you have been walking around for years without ever having forgiven someone whom has offended you. It might be a good idea to pray right now, this very moment & ask the Holy Spirit to point out to you where your heart truly is at.
And if you find that you are in need of forgiving someone, why not pray now asking God first of all to forgive you, then go out this evening and forgive the one who has offended you.
THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT Matthew 18:21- 35
In Matthew 18 Jesus tells a parable to explain what he had just told Peter about forgiveness. This parable is about settling accounts.
When others have hurt us we want to settle accounts by doing onto them what they have done to us.
Let us read verses 21 & 22 first Was Jesus saying that we should only forgive one 490 times, then on the 491st time smack them? No, he was saying that there is no limit to the number of times that we should forgive others who have done us wrong. Nor is He saying that we need to keep on forgiving the same person for the same offense over and over again. If you keep forgiving someone for the same offense, then you never really forgave him or her to begin with.
Does God keep account of sins? Again 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (King James Version)
Does God keep a record of all the times you have committed the same sins? Does He sit up there on His throne and say there's so & so, smoking again. I had better write that down and add it to the long list I already have. Boy, I tell you, if He kept a record of all our sins, we would sure be in some real trouble. No, God is not like that. Once we are forgiven, we are eternally forgiven. We are released; we are set free from the penalty of sins when confessed.
Likewise as we shall see in the following parable, forgiveness keeps no record, no account. True forgiveness forgives each time just as if it was the first time.
Let us read the parable of the unforgiving servant Matthew 18:23-35
Let me point out 5 things in regard to this parable.
1) The king knew fair well that the servant couldn't pay back what he owed. The parable is teaching a truth about our relationship with God& with others. We are in fact the servants who owed the king the ten thousand talents. And like the servant in the parable, we are unable to pay what we owe as a result of our sin. We as Christians call out to God for forgiveness and for mercy.
2) The king had compassion on this fellow and forgave him the debt. To truly forgive this man the debt owed, he had to totally release the man completely from the debt owed. If the king had merely just forgiven the servant, he would still owe the outstanding debt. And therefore the king would be able, at any time to say, come on pay up. For this man to experience true forgiveness he had to be released completely from the debt.
3) From the text we can likely surmise correctly, that the forgiven servant had already been owed money to him by the second servant of our story. Likewise, there were people whom had offended you before you became a Christian, whom you think, still have an outstanding debt to you. Have you forgiven them? Or do you still hold them to that debt you feel owed by them? Do you still harbor un-forgiveness over them?
4) It can be inferred from this parable also, that the king would have expected the forgiven servant to have mercy upon any whom owed him money. Was he merciful towards his servant? No! Did he forgive & release this second servant from the debt owed him? No! Again, are you still holding onto un-forgiveness to someone who has owed you since before you were born again? Or are you going to settle accounts here and now and release them of the debt you feel owed from them?
5) Lastly, the unforgiving servant was handed over to the torturers to extract every penny that was owed to the king. Jesus likewise promises that God the Father will likewise hold us to accounts if we do not forgive others from the heart.
SO HOW DO YOU SETTLE ACCOUNTS?
HOW DO YOU GET HEALED FROM DEEP WOUNDS?
The 1rst order of business is to do business with God.
You need to pray & ask the Holy Spirit to open up your heart & mind, to point out to you, areas of your life where you have been hurt and not truly forgiven. You need to ask God to allow you to become connected to that hurt that you have buried deep inside. This is the only way in fact in which you will be able to truly forgive from the heart, if you can identify the source of that hurt.
This must not be merely just an intellectual exercise. Because if you have forgiven only on a mental level, but leave the emotional level unchanged. Then all you have succeeded in doing is to satisfy yourself that you have done the right thing. But the pain in your heart remains, and you will not be healed.
Pride perhaps has been the reason why you haven't been able to forgive. If this is the case, then you will have to pray and repent of the sin of pride as well.
The next thing that you need to do is to make an invoice.
Write down on a piece of paper all the people whom have hurt you.
Write down exactly what it is that they have done to hurt you. Don't generalize, be specific. For example, don't write dad was a pain in my backside. Instead write the real issues like, never encouraged me when I did well at school, or kept getting on my case about my long hair, or kept telling my friends that I wet my bed when I was ten.
What this does is to help you identify and admit to yourself that these people owe you a debt for hurting you.
3rdly we need to count the cost of Forgiving, releasing them of this debt.
You need to realize that they can never pay back what you feel owed to you.
The king in the parable knew that the servant could never pay him back the debt owed to him. Likewise, we sinners could never pay back the debt we owe God. Could you or I ever pay back the debt that God paid for our ransom when He died on that cross so many years ago. Is there anything that you can do to pay for the nail scarred hands, the whiplashes, the thorny crown, the beard pulled out of his face.
We sing in Sunday school in the morning sometimes with the wee kids a song called "He Paid A Debt" The words go like this:
He paid a debt He did not owe
I owed a debt I could not pay
I needed someone to wash my sins away
And now I sing a brand new song
Amazing grace all day long
Christ Jesus paid a debt
That I could never pay!
He paid a debt at Calvary
He cleansed my soul & set me free
I'm so glad that all my sins are washed away!
(He Paid a Debt by G.McSpadden)
I ask you again. Can we pay the debt that we owe? How much has God forgiven you?
If you were to stop and think of what it cost God to forgive you of each and every sin, the cost of forgiving others would seem insignificant by comparison. Counting the cost also means to no longer have an emotional weapon against the person whom has hurt us. And at the same time you have to realize that you will once again become vulnerable to being hurt again, because your emotions will once again be made whole, and not seared.
Fourthly, have mercy upon them.
When you pray to God, let it be known to Him if you have felt you needed to revenge others for what they have done to you.
Unfortunately that is our natural, fleshly, sinful nature to want to make others feel the same pain and emotion that you felt when they hurt you. Determine in your heart, that if the opportunity presented itself, that you could walk up to them and show them mercy for what they have done to you.
Can you imagine what it would feel like if you looked at the person in the eye who killed you wife or kid and you could say in your heart, I forgive you?
Can you imagine the sense of relief they would have if you showed them mercy even if you had the power to do unto them what they did to you?
That's what God has done to us. He has shown us mercy by not holding us to the debt we owe Him for our sins.
Fifth. Forgive & Release those whom have hurt you.
To forgive someone is to release them from the debt they owe you.
When you forgive those that have hurt you, you set a prisoner free.
That prisoner is you.
Now, why do I say that? Resentment & bitterness hurts you, more than it hurts the other person. Job 5:2 spells it out well. It says "For wrath kills a foolish man,.." (New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
Too many Christians are walking about saying that they cannot forgive a person that has hurt them. The result of that is that they do not have the joy in their life that they should be enjoying
because they are holding on to a grudge, refusing to let it go and allowing God to bring a healing into their lives. Hanging onto a grudge cannot change anything. No matter how much bitterness you have, you will never change what has happened. It won't change the past, nor will it help the present or the future.
The more you hang onto a grudge the more miserable you feel. While you are spending all your energy stewing up inside, the person you are upset with is walking about likely unaware of your anger and is enjoying themselves.
Resentment never hurts the other person. It only hurts you.
Research has shown that resentment has tremendous consequences. It can cause physical, emotional & spiritual consequences. We have all heard someone say about another: "he gives me a pain in the neck." It is quite true indeed. Bitterness can make you physically ill.
Here is an illustration.
A guy walks into the doctor's office and asks for some pills for his colitis.
The doctor replies by saying," Who are you colliding with now." S.I. McMillan wrote in a book called "None of These Diseases" "It's not what you have been eating, it's what is eating you." There are physical effects to bitterness.
Likewise there is an emotional effect as well. Depression is a result of bitterness Depression is the result of a depletion of emotional energy. Nothing depletes emotional energy faster than
resentment & bitterness.
So you must decide for yourself what you want to do. Do you want to get better, or do you want to get even?
Bitterness has a spiritual consequence as well.
In Mark 11:25 Jesus tells us: And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (New International Version, ©2011)
& verse 26 "But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." (King James Version)
This is important to remember. Because God the Father forgives you as much as you forgive others.
A fellow approached John Wesley one time and said: "I could never forgive that person! Never! Wesley's reply was this: "Then I hope you never sin." If you refuse to forgive, you are burning the very bridge you've got to cross in order to get to heaven.
Forgiveness you see is not optional. It is a command. To forgive is to walk the Christian life. If we are unable to forgive, we neither will able to be forgiven. Because God has forgiven us, we to must learn to forgive others.
Bitterness you see just doesn't work. It is a waste of time & energy. It does not hurt the other person, but makes you physically, emotionally & spiritually sick. So learn to release so that you can be free from the poisonous grip of bitterness.
Here are a few more key verses to help you get over bitterness in your life and to move forward and be healed.
Romans 12:19: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (King James Version)
Revenge belongs to God. Let Him settle the score.
Eph. 4:26 "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath." (King James Version)
When you hang on to bitterness it eats you up and turns into hate.
If you have aught against another it is better to try to resolve it before going to bed at night where you are likely to just spend half the night stewing on it.
It is far better to go at once and make peace with your brother or sister. Eph. 4:32: "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (King James Version)
How often has Christ forgiven you? Remember when He was on the cross. What did He say? He said," Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Christ forgave them freely without waiting to be asked. He took the initiative, likewise so should you? We need to forgive others as often as need be, without waiting for them to ask for it, whether they want to or not,
whether they accept it or not.
Your job is to forgive and get over the resentment so that you can be healed and enjoy life. You'll never stop hurting until you forgive others who have hurt you. That's the key. That's what sets you free.
Let me point out what forgiveness is not. It is not pretending that nothing happened. Wishing that it didn't happen. Ignoring the hurt. Forgetting it.
That's a cop out. You say I forgive you. That releases them and it releases you. Forgiveness is not demanding that they change before you will forgive them. The Bible says you are to forgive as readily as God forgave us in Christ Jesus.
So how should we forgive? We should forgive the exact same way God forgives us. God forgives freely, instantly, completely, & continually. We are to learn to be Christ like. To be Christ like is to be forgiving.
Luke 6; 27,28 gives us this further command.
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." (King James Version)
There are many more verses we could look at on the need to forgive. The key again is to forgive & release those who have hurt you and rest on Jesus the great physician who will take the Holy Ghost brush, using the water & soap of His Word & blood to cleanse those hidden wounds that have become infected. Let Him wash you freely with His blood and make you whole again.
Oh yes, one more thing. Remember that invoice. Rip it up and burn it and forget it.
God has set you free.
Are You Ready to Forgive?
Are you ready to forgive?
The importance of forgiveness in biblical counseling
(and in everybodys life)
Table of Contents
2. Something bad happens
3. First effects: the damage done and the way out of this: forgiving
4. How do you do it then, forgiving? What does it mean?
5. Forgiving your partner
6. Results of forgiveness
7. What can go wrong?
8. If there is forgiveness, there must have been guilt or sin
10. Confess your sins
11. How can you ever forgive really bad sins?
12. Conclusion resist the devil, face temptation!
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the Lord of the servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his Lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. St. Matthew 18:23-35 (KJV)
Brothers and sisters, I am talking about forgiveness. I want to make you understand the importance of forgiving. If you dont forgive, you sin. You choose the wrong way. The first consequences: You start to find excuses if you do wrong and you try to draw as much attention as possible. Then you will seek domination, influence, power, also revenge for those who did you wrong. You might not even notice your true motivation as you are hiding it from yourself, from others and from God.
Here a quick check-up to find out if you have wrong goals, if your motivation is wrong and dominated by selfishness, ambition, anger and revenge:
Have you ever tried to find excuses if youre feeling trapped?
Are you sometimes playing the blame game?
Are you afraid that others might notice where you are not so perfect?
Do you hate to justify?
Do you love to be seen, to play an important role, to be the centre of attention and hide that behind religious phrases?
How much ambition and selfishness is inside of you when you preach or talk in front of others?
Do you sometimes take others responsibilities to make a good impression?
Do you love to be seen?
Do you always want to be right?
Do you always have to be there to control everything?
Have you ever thought of committing suicide or hurting yourself in order to punish someone?
Have you ever used sex or no sex as an instrument to punish someone?
Have you ever used your child as an instrument against your partner?
Have you ever prayed against someone or had that wish in your heart that something really bad happens to him?
Do you have problems in forgetting when youve been hurt? Do you always come up with the same ole stories?
Go inside! Check yourself! Read the bible and pray the Holy Spirit will make you see your true motivation and get back on track again! Dont break your relationship with God by rebelling against Him, missing His goals or trying to be like Him!
Sometimes its so easy to see someone elses sin. In Matthew 7:5 (KJV) we read: Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the moth out of thy brothers eye.
So lets focus on that thing called forgiveness and see why it is so important and how it should be done.
2. Something bad happens
You must not think I am unhappy. What is happiness and unhappiness? It depends so little on the circumstances; it depends really only on that which happens inside a person. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Lutheran Pastor, Theologian, and opponent of Nazism)
I am sure everyone of you can relate to those feelings: Somebody did wrong to you. Really wrong. And you think: well, now God will let the hammer fall on him.
But it doesnt happen. That guy might even live a good life, have lots of money, a big apartment and a hot girlfriend while you still suffer. Aint that crying injustice? Where is God when you need him most? You get more and more angry everyday, you start to pray against that guy and you hope something really bad is going to happen to him.
But it doesnt! Youre getting nightmares, you start getting embittered and full of hatred against the whole world. Whats wrong here?
Or you might have had a bad childhood. Parents who didnt pay attention to you, growing up without love, without someone who takes you in his arms and tells you its gonna be alright while you were coming home crying. Maybe your parents even beat you up, your daddy was a drunkard or they divorced. Maybe you were even abused as a child.
For the rest of your life you might feel like a victim. Whenever something bad happens to you or you fail in something, your bad childhood is to blame for it. What is wrong in here?
Lets take a look at St. Luke 6:37: Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shalt be forgiven. (KJV).
What? But they hurt me! How can you ever forgive that? Aint there justice in this world? Aint there any hope of ever getting out of this nightmare?
Yes, there is. You might have been hurt lately, but there is hope. Hope in Jesus! He will remove your burdens, he will give your heart peace again. Just let loose, forgive and let God be the judge.
Matthew 11:28-29 (KJV) tells us: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Jesus also promises: I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5 KJV).
Dont let Satan steal one more moment of the joy that God has set before you! Dont let him control you life! Dont let your present behavior reflect bad experiences of your past!
3. First effects: the damage done and the way out of this: forgiving
Reality thinking is not Why me? Reality thinking is Now what? (Robert H. Schuller).
This is the first important thing to realize: The way we handle those bad experiences will have influence on our state of health, our emotions, our mind and our hearts.
Once your heart gets really hurt and you are not able to deal with it in a biblical manner, you will get embittered or loose your self-esteem. Nightmares will begin to haunt you. Our not being able to forgive will also break our fellowship with God and make our prayers powerless.
Well, how do you forgive then? Have you ever said things like: I forgive you, but I will never be able to forget it, even if I live to see a hundred years. Is that forgiving?
Maybe you think God will understand that you cant forget or even forgive, as what has happened to you is so bad He simply HAS to understand that!
Maybe you think the guy who did that to you might think what he has done is alright because you just forgave him. Will the crime even be accepted this way?
Well, God will NOT understand that and forgiving does NOT approve of the offense!
It might be very tempting to feel like a victim, drown in self-pity or even feel you are so right but like that youre making the problem much bigger and it will haunt you for good. Self-pity equals selfishness. And selfishness will destroy you and opens your heart for the devil!
It might be very tempting not to forgive and maybe you even give in to that and keep that self-pity, anger, hatred, grudge and lust for vengeance in your heart. To give in to sin.
David Seamands tells us in his book Freedom from the Performance trap: Sometimes God seeks us by letting us go. Letting us go our own way and allowing us to suffer inevitable consequences of that way in the hope that our suffering will bring us back to Him.
So in the end there is no alternative than to follow the Lord. To forgive. Amen?
How about the Lord himself? Is there any sin God would never forgive? Lets take a look on St. Matthew 12:31-32: Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (KJV).
Remember also that as long as someone does not believe in the Lord, he cannot be forgiven!
4. How do you do it then, forgiving? What does it mean?
Turn your hurts inside out and turn the problem into a project, the enemy into a friend, the hurt into a halo, the scar into a star. (Robert H. Schuller)
Forgiveness is foremost an act of Gods grace to forget forever and not hold penitent Christians accountable for sins that they confess (I John 1:7-10). To a lesser degree, forgiveness is the gracious human act of not holding wrong acts against a person. Forgiveness, then, has both divine and human dimensions. In the divine relationship, it is, first of all, the gracious act of God by which believers, who come in obedience to G His plan of salvation, are put into a right relationship to God and, thereby, transferred from spiritual death to spiritual life through the sacrificial offering of the blood of Jesus Christ. It is also, in this divine demonstration, the ongoing gift of God without which we as the once-saved would be lost. In terms of a human dimension, forgiveness is that act and attitude toward those penitent ones (Luke 17:3) who have wronged us which restores relationships and fellowship. A biblical example or how God forgives (and we should forgive one another) is set forth in Luke 15:11-32. (David A. Amos on www.church-of-christ.org).
He explains Gods plan of salvation like that: God gave us two laws of pardon that result in His forgiveness! One is for the alien sinner (one who has never known Christ). The first law of pardon is: (1) Hearing the Gospel John 6:44-45; Romans 10:17; (2) Believing in Christ John 8:24, Mark 16:16; (3) Repent of sins Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30; (4) Confessing Christ Romans 10:9-10; be baptized (immersed in water) Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38. After doing these things, God will add one to His church (Acts 2:47). He must then be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10). The second law of pardon is only for Christians who have fallen away from Christ in sin. It is set forth in Acts 8:22, Repent and pray God.
Lets start with the steps of forgiveness:
First: seek forgiveness yourself. Where have you hurt others?
Lets focus on three of the hardest things to say: I am sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.
Or as Elton John said it: Sorry seems to be the hardest word.
Jesus told us: Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24 NIV).
Second: Forgive everyone who has hurt you.
That may be really hard, but its possible. But forgiving does NOT mean you can let everybody walk over you. Proverb says: a prudent man sees danger and rakes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. (Proverbs 22:3 NIV).
So if somebody really hurts you bad or stresses you out or gets on your nerves: get away from him!
Dick Innes said in his book You cant fly with a broken wing (on www.actscom.com/store): Nowhere does it say that we are to allow toxic people to dump their poison on us.
So separate from them and forgive.
Another important point: you dont have to like everybody. Thats impossible. But you have to love them.
What? Love?? Yeah, and sometimes its a tough love. You do most of it for others. You cant trust everybody to be loving and kind or at least not be mean and cruel.
Even Jesus didnt trust everybody as we read in John: But Jesus didnt trust them, for he knew mankind to the core. No one needed to tell him how changeable human nature is. John 2:24-25 (TLB).
In McMillens book None of These Diseases we hear: If selfish people try to take advantage of you, cross them off your list, but dont try to get even. When you try to get even, you hurt yourself more than you hurt the other fellow.
You also have to free yourself from the past. Dont let yourself be imprisoned by the past. Dont yield to anothers control by not forgiving.
Also dont drown in self-pity. You might have had a hard childhood but dont use that as an excuse for everything bad you are doing now. Youve grown up. Stop feeling and behaving like a victim. Take control over your life. Dont play somebody elses game like act and response, outrage and revenge, tit for tat.
Forgiving is especially important in relationship or family affairs. If you dont forgive there, you build up a wall of resentment and you get strangers. Forgive and you can get friends again and restore love feelings between you. At least you can say you did your thing to improve the situation. Also dont forget you are a role model for your children or for somebody elses children.
Make also sure your forgiveness is genuine and comes from the heart. Dont let it get down to be something that is done because of religious or sentimental reasons as its the right thing to do. If it is not genuine, resentment will come back again with a vengeance. Ever watched a couple fighting and one of them comes up with something that happened years ago? Well, obviously it hasnt been forgiven then. Let go! Forgive and leave the past behind!
You should be aware, however, that forgiveness is a process. It doesnt happen with a snap of your fingers. What do you have to do to get through it? First, you got to admit what happened. Dont deny the facts. Dont tell yourself this is just a nightmare that will be over tomorrow. Admit that youve been hurt. The truth will set you free then.
Then, of course, you have to confront the person who did that to you with the situation. Maybe someone that you love hurt you go ahead and confront him! Dont nurse your anger! That does NOT mean you should attack the other guy or play the blame game. So rather use sentences like I feel angry and sad about what you did to me than You did this although you knew what you would destroy!. Rather use I-sentences than You-sentences. Be really honest and tell them how you feel. You got to get rid of those bad feelings. Dont start to hurt the other guy, but speak the truth in love as Ephesians 4:15 tells us. If its not appropriate to address the other person in words you might also write your feelings down. Write a letter to that person and tear it up! If you want to send it never send the first draft. When it comes to feelings, when you really have to sort them out, youll probably need more drafts.
Notice also that forgiveness does NOT ignore justice. Remember Pope John Paul forgiving his would-be assassin? In spite of that, this man stayed in prison. If you want somebody else to forgive you, you also have to make a just restitution. Its not enough to say youre sorry for having stolen his car, you also got to give it back.
Lets skip to another topic: While its easy to forgive someone who says hes sorry, its kind of supernatural to forgive a guy who wouldnt even admit he wronged you or just doesnt care. Or maybe he even hurt you on purpose. What are you going to do now?
Some would tell you now forgiveness is not possible if the other part doesnt admit he was wrong, says hes sorry and makes good for it. This is wrong!! Dont let anybody contaminate you with that! It is easy to love those who love you but it is way harder to love those who hurt you or even hate you! But that is exactly what a Christian should do! Show the grace to forgive, maybe this will pave the way for the other persons return!
So forgiveness is always a choice you can take.
Also notice that forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things. While you should always forgive, sometimes reconciliation is not possible. Why? Because for reconciliation it takes a mutual desire to do that and a response of the other part.
If they dont see they have done something wrong and ask for forgiveness, there is no way for reconciliation.
But you should also know that reconciliation is not needed for your healing. Only forgiveness on your part is. Neither do you have to forget. But dont use that as a bad excuse like in I can forgive you, but I cant forget what you have done that means nothing else than you cant forgive either.
So resolve and let go of the resentment you have towards someone who did you wrong. If you dont, the grudge will stay for good. You might even say you forgive, but when it doesnt reach your heart you just push those negative feelings back. Be sure, however, that they will return! They will harm your health, deaden your joy and affect present or future relationships.
So how long will it take to resolve those bad feelings? Well, till theyre gone, till you stopped crying or being angry. Ever heard the saying: Time heals all wounds? Forget it! If you dont work on your recovery, you remain stuck in your bad emotions. This process of recovery will take time. At the end comes the healing.
Also resolve those problems before you start a new relationship. Dont carry that ole bag with you.
Lets come to subject four: Forgiveness from God. Complete healing doesnt take just to forgive everyone who wronged you you also need to experience Gods forgiveness. If we confess or sins to him, he will grant us complete pardon.
So forgiveness frees the one who forgives and the one who has been forgiven and accepted that forgiveness.
Lets go back to the parable of the beginning. Forgiveness has two sides: what it really means to forgive and what this forgiving will do for you and those whom you forgive. And last but not least your willingness to forgive affects your fellowship in prayer with the Father.
First, forgiveness is not just an emotional thing. You simply say you are not holding any claims against the debtor anymore. Like the bank where you took up a credit and that tells you now: forget about it, youre at zero again.
Later on, we might want to go back to it and feel the anger and the wish for vengeance come back. But no way! Forgiven is forgiven! We will need the Holy Spirits assistance then to recall that very moment we forgave our debtor!
So, whenever Satan tries to tempt you to forget about your forgiveness and give that guy that did wrong to you a hard time, hold your chin up, face him and say: NO! I chose to forgive and I refuse to go back on my decision!
Also pray to the Lord! Pray constantly and ask the Lord for guidance. James 5:16 says: The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results (TLB). Amen!
Forgiveness does in no way mean you approve of bad things! Nor is forgiveness the same as reconciliation or restitution! Sure, that would be great, but its not the same! But remember one thing: forgiveness DOES pave the way for reconciliation or restitution!
So if you ever want to have peace in your heart and end this bitterness on the inside: FORGIVE!
But you better be sure you forgive because you love the Lord. Never ever think youre better than the other person! The Phillippians tells us in 2:1-3 not to do anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility should we consider others better than ourselves.
What does forgiveness mean for us and the other guy involved?
First, that guy cant use you as a bad excuse no more. He cant say: Well, I would like to change, my life could be so much different, but he simply wont forgive me!
Remember one thing: if you do not forgive, the case is in your courtroom. If you do forgive, you give it over to God! So dont try to make yourself higher than God himself!
What if someone terribly wrongs me? St. Matthew tells us in 18:15-19 to go and show that guy his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you got him back on track. If he doesnt, go and get some witnesses to testimony to try it again. The plan, of course, is restoration, reconciliation and healing.
Have you ever asked yourself why people who did so much wrong still seem to prosper? Well, thats exactly why: you didnt forgive. You were afraid to because you thought God might not punish him like he should be punished. Now its eating you up.
If you forgive, however, you say: Dear heavenly Father, I give this person over to you. Treat him like I would want to be treated in his case. I have no claims anymore. I set him free.
In Romans 12:19-21 (KJV) we read: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Also make sure your heart is into it when you forgive. One of my favurites, 1 Corinthians 13 verse 1-13 we read about love, the most important thing in everything you do. Even if you say things in the right way, if you do good and have a strong faith it serves you nothing if you dont have love.
Love the key word of Christianity.
Nothing but love.
Your hurt may still be alive tomorrow but it will be changed. Your hurt will change because your attitude and your perception are changing. (Robert H. Schuller)
5. Forgiving your partner
Lets talk about forgiveness and partnership now. Forgiveness is the key to a successful partnership. It sure is not easy and will take some time, especially if your partner really hurt you. Forgiveness also means to quit some of those old habits. Its the first step to change something for the better, to reach out your hand for reconciliation, to show some trust and meaning it. You have to overcome bitterness and anger, you got to stop paying back in kind in order to have a long-term great relationship!
Maybe you even have to change your attitude, your way of thinking and acting. But most of all you have to learn to forgive with your heart not just with your words.
And please: if you refuse to forgive, dont try to make it sound good by finding all kinds of excuses.
An excuse is a reason stuffed with a lie!
There aint no excuse for sin. And not to forgive is a sin!
Lets not forget one thing: If something bad happened, two persons were involved and two persons are to blame. Even if someone commits adultery, in most cases it wasnt for no reason. It might have been some sort of revenge or madness or disillusionment whatever. That doesnt make the sin better, but it does mean forgiveness is a mutual task.
And again: forgiveness has to be done completely without any ifs and buts and without arrogance and vanity that makes you think you are something better.
You might think now: how am I gonna do it? He did so much wrong to me, he treated me so badly how can I ever manage to get along with him?
Jesus taught us to live one day at a time. So focus on today. Tomorrow is another day.
6. Results of forgiveness
If you dont forgive, you still believe the other guy deserves to be punished hard. You want to somehow balance the scales.
But if you do forgive, youre released from that debt. Youre free. As Romans 13:8 says: From now on, you owe that guy nothing but love!
If you forgive, you also fully rely on the Lord who meets all of your needs! Someone who cant forgive still somehow feels the other guy holds the keys to his happiness, joy and success. You still want something from that guy. Something that God above cannot provide.
Read Collossians: But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Or my personal favourite: Psalm 23 (KJV):
The Lord is my Shepard; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Wow! Aint that great! You dont need that bad guy to pay you for anything in the world: you got the Lord! Amen!
Forgiveness will also allow you to minister and fellowship again. If you dont forgive and stay angry and embittered, God will take you out of the whole thing for some time. Church people wont call you anymore, they might even avoid you. Youre sort of useless. Dr. Tom Elliff once said: Why should He exalt someone whose life is a direct contradiction to what He wants others to see in Himself His love and forgiveness?
Like the unforgiving guy in our parable from the beginning: he was thrown into prison and thus rendered useless and ineffective.
Forgiveness relieves us from torment. It delivers us from those who do us wrong. If you dont forgive, your agony will stay for good. Like the guy in the parable was given over to the torturers.
Remember: If you dont forgive, you are the one who suffers most from your bitterness.
Forgive and you will be released from that torture.
In psalm 66:18 (KJV) we read: If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.
Your prayer will remain without power if you refuse to forgive. That refusal is a sin youre in no way better than the other guy then!
So what can I do other than to forgive to heal my wounds? Remember we pray that the Lord may give us our daily bread and thats nothing else than the Word of God. Read it everyday and rejoice in it! Once you lay it aside you get vulnerable for Satans plans!
So: forgive and get to know the restorative power of forgiveness! Refuse to forgive and you will have living hell!
Robert Jefress once cited a national survey by the George Barna Group in which four out of 10 Americans said they were currently having difficulties forgiving someone who had wronged them. As many of those people were Christians as non-Christians, he said.
Forgiveness is not the prefered choice of most Christians. If becoming a Christian were the only requirement for being a forgiver, then our churches would be filled with loving and forgiving people. Despite worldly standards Christians must forgive on the basis of grace, not justice. Forgiveness is not earned; it is granted. (Baptist news; www.sbc.net).
And on he goes: When you demand that your offender do something before you forgive him or her, you are binding yourself to that person.
Forgiveness will free you.
7. What can go wrong?
Some think repentance of the other guy is a condition for my forgiveness. This is wrong. Also forgiveness does not free the bad guy from possible consequences. But leave that up to the Lord!
Also, dont confuse forgiveness with reconciliation or forgetting. We already spoke about that.
If you say: I will forgive you because Jesus tells us to, but I cant trust you anymore, you simply say you neither trust nor forgive that person.
Or: I forgive your adultery, but we cant have sex for the next months it means nothing else than you didnt fully forgive.
Or: I forgive you, but I dont think you will change - you are not really serious and dont really believe in Gods forgiveness. You do forgive, but you think you are something better, because your morals or spirituality are better. That is hypocrite!
So: stop forgiving with buts!
Remember: if you nurse the grudge, anger and resentment too long in your heart, it will cause sickness and disease.
Somebody once said: Failing to forgive is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
Failing to forgive will have bad effects on your emotional, spiritual and physical state of health.
Examples: Ulcerative colitis, toxic goiters, high blood pressure (Dr. McMillen).
Jesus said: And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25 NIV).
Please dont give in to anger, hatred, lust for vengeance, violence and so on, even if temptation to do so might be there. But that will lead to nothing good. Never ever.
Dont throw away tomorrow!
8. If there is forgiveness, there must have been guilt or sin
If there is such a thing as forgiveness, there must have been guilt, too.
Lets go back in time.
In the Old Testament guilt equalled breaking the bond with God. Guilt or sin that meant disrespecting a duty. A duty as the ten commandments that God gave us. If through idolatry, adultery or whatever this bond was broken, you had to sacrifice something to restore it.
In the course of a year there was a lot of sinning, so the high priest took those sins from the people, put them on a scape goat and chased it into the desert.
Good ole times, right?
The New Testament changed a lot: Jesus showed us that no man can be delivered from his sin on his own. This can only be done if God forgives us. How do you get to this point? You got to fully acknowledge and repent your sins.
Jesus died on the cross for us to be free. He didnt have any sins of his own, he died for OUR sins. Whatever human beings have done or will do is now forgiven if you reach out and take Jesus hand.
Imagine that: you are forgiven! Not just 50 % of your debts, but everything bad youve ever done! Dont you think you could be just a little thankful for that? Dont you think you should show a little effort and try to be like Jesus? You are forgiven a hundred per cent so how can you even think of not forgiving someone who did wrong to you?
If you sin, you go astray. Youre leaving the way that God told you to go. You revolt against Him and destroy human community. You try to be God and you act like the lost son in the parable. Youre not thankful that Jesus died for you you even spit on him.
Sin will lead to death. Sin is always guilt. Jesus, however, can give you life eternal life!
While sin is a biblical expression, guilt is more often used in psychology, so dont get confused.
Lets go back to the start: someone sinned against you. Its your duty as a Christian now to forgive. FULLY forgive without any buts and ifs.
Forgiveness requires a triple reconciliation: with God, with the offender that did you wrong and with yourself. Forgiveness paves the way for reconciliation but it is NOT the same!
Forgiveness sometimes is a long, slow and painful process. You have been hurt and the wound goes deep down inside. But not to forgive will be the dagger in your heart that makes this wound even bigger and bigger.
Also reconciliation might be a very long and painful process. But there is simply no alternative! If you dont forgive and make way for reconciliation, the Lord will give you over to the torturers like in the parable. You will suffer immensely. You become desperate, depressed, sad, angry, suicidal, neurotic, physically or mentally ill or even dangerous to society.
Jesus often mentioned sickness and sin in one sentence. That does NOT mean every disease has been caused by sin. But the original cause of disease has been sin so far it is true. When Eve gave Adam the apple and he took it, paradise was lost for us and diseases started. Without Adam and Eves first breaking Gods rule there would be no disease.
And not to forgive is a sin, so we will have to face the consequences.
Remember, however, that you have to face illness and other problems in your life because of the fallen state of our world (Adam and Eve), not just because you sinned and get punished for that. The children in the third-world-countries have not sinned, yet they starve.
If you go and see a psychologist these days, he will tell you go ahead and do whatever you want to do as long as its legal and you dont hurt anyone.
If youre a Christian, things are not as easy as that. The bible is number one its Gods word and we have to live according to it.
So whenever something is AGAINST the bible, its wrong. You can call it science or whatever then. It is wrong.
And not to forgive sure is as wrong as can be. A lot of psychological problems are due to an inner conflict that has not been solved yet. Like someone did you wrong and you cant forget or forgive.
You can go and get some of those pills to make you high for a couple of hours and forget about things for a while.
Or you go and settle things in Jesus way: forgive the offender, even if this is really hard to do. For a Christian, this is the ONLY way to find peace on the inside again.
Peace in Jesus. Amen!
So stop listening to feelings, emotions, inner voices, your head or just a street-smart guy - listen to Gods word.
The object of life is not personal happiness, but following Jesus!
10. Confess your sins
Another important thing to do: confess your own sins to others. In James 5:16 we read: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Confessing your sins will make you clean inside out!
If you want to forgive, you have to also ask yourself: am I to blame, too, for whatever someone did to me? Maybe he would have never done it if I hadnt done something wrong, too!
Sometimes you might also think of your own sins. Maybe you have done some real bad sins and you cant get over it. Its eating you up. You know the Lord has forgiven you, but you simply cant forgive yourself. Does that sound familiar to you? If you think like that, youre placing yourself ON TOP OF GOD! You want to be more just, more righteous than He is! Have you ever seen things this way?
If you cant forgive yourself, youre subject to manipulation by others and incredible tortures in your heart. Life is an agony. Wherever something bad happens to you, you think you deserved it. And you are even looking for punishments by others or by yourself. If you cant forgive yourself or others, you will drown in self-pity. But remember one thing: self-pity is always selfish!
You want to draw attention and you focus way too much on yourself instead of following Jesus. You are looking for personal happiness that you will never find, as it doesnt exist. Thats rather a by-product of living a life according to the bible. Follow Jesus and He will give you joy thats a lot more than just being happy!
11. How can you ever forgive really bad sins?
Maybe you think now: What nonsense! How can you ever forgive if someone did incredible things to you?
When Jesus was crucified, he prayed: Father, forgive them (Luke 23:34).
Stephen pleaded Lord, do not hold this sin against them (Acts 7:60) as the stones battered his body.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer asked for forgiveness for the German nation, while actively resisting Hitler. He paid the highest price you can pay: he died for his conviction.
One thing is for sure: biblical forgiveness aint easy! The costs for that are high! Biblical forgiveness also is not something that works by itself. Only God can forgive sins. Eternal forgiveness is available only from God, because sin is against God alone. Jesus, too, had the power to forgive sins. He even paid with His own life to free us from our sins! He took all of our sins upon Himself and atoned for it with His blood.
The reason why we can forgive is Jesus delegation of authority. Were Christians and we got the key to forgive. So use that key!
We cannot forgive sins by our own power, but we can forgive the sins or others. Like that we can show them the eternal forgiveness they can reach through Jesus Christ. We even HAVE to do that! As the Lords Prayer says: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Because of His grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others!
Nobody says its going to be easy to forgive. While it seems like everything is forgiven, the next day it will hurt even more. The sadness, anger, hatred, jealousy, depression and lust for vengeance will return.
The road might be very long. Long and full of hurtful moments. But we must walk that road and we dont need to walk it all alone. Jesus is always by our side. Also remember that all of us have to walk that road. It might be easier for some of us, but for sure we all have to walk it all the way through.
John Powell describes in Happiness is an inside job Jesus, the Good Shepard: I have to keep remembering that he is looking for us lost sheep and rejoicing when he finds us ( ) He takes me into his arms and sobs in relief, Youre home. You know, thats all Ive ever wanted. Youre home.
12. Conclusion resist the devil, face temptation!
Psalm 130:3-4 tells us: If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
And on in Psalm 32:1: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
And if you want God to forgive your sins, you sure have to forgive everybody who did wrong to you, too!
But what if that guy keeps on doing it? Theres got to be a stop, right?
No!! In Mathew 18:21-22 we read: Then came Peter to him and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but Until seventy times seven.
So there is no stop in forgiving. Forgiveness is crucial for your relationship with God, with the people you are living with and with yourself, as you will never find peace on the inside if you dont let loose and forgive!
We all know how hard it is sometimes to forgive. Youve been hurt bad and even if you forgive today, temptation will come back tomorrow and tell you: what the heck! I wish something really bad happens to that guy!
And maybe the devil even gives you a chance to pay back in kind.
James 4:7 knows that situation and tells us: Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. AMEN!
Were all vulnerable and we should be aware of that. God wants us never to get cocky, arrogant or overconfident that will certainly lead to nothing good. Jeremiah said The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV). So were pretty good at fooling ourselves. Under the right circumstances, we all are capable of any sin. So never think you are beyond temptation! Never let down your guard!
Every temptation is also a chance, an opportunity to do good and forgive.
Dont put the blame on the circumstances. Temptation always starts in your mind. Jesus said: For from within, out of a persons heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, slander, pride and foolishness. All these things come from within (Mark 7:21-23 NLT).
So its not only the act of being obedient to God that counts, its also whats in your heart. There is the origin of sin and also the origin of ding good.
And if you got to forgive again, do so! St. Luke tells us in 17:3-4 (KJV): Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Forgiveness will heal your broken relationship with the Lord, with the guys you are living with and with yourself. It takes away the nightmares, the fears and depressions, the anger, the vengeance and the hatred. And it paves the way for reconciliation.
Maybe you think those Christians really live a weird life. No pleasures, no fighting back, no sex, no punching somebody who did you wrong.
C.H. Spurgeons wrote in his book Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit XXXVII (1891): Well Jack, said one who met a man who had recently became a Christian, I hear you have given up all your pleasures. No, said Jack, the fact lies the other way. I have just found all my pleasures, and I have only given up my follies.
Forgiveness will let the sun shine in your heart again. And in your life as you open your heart for Jesus and for your own forgiveness as you can read in the Acts 11:43: To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
If you break your bond with Jesus, however, by not forgiving, you will be given over to the torturers and harvest the fruit of the flesh as the Galatians names them in 6:19-21: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like whereas the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.
So if youre depressed, full of anger, bitterness and hatred against the whole world, maybe you should take a look into your heart: is there somebody who did wrong to you and whom you have not forgiven yet?
Ephesians 4:31-32 (KJV) says: 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 Christs sake hath forgiven you. And it demands in 5:22-23 (KJV): That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
Sin leads to depression, hate, sexual immorality, despair, greed, anger and violence.
So, dont get mad at God because bad things have been done to you. Dont scream at Him: Why did you let it happen?. Its not His fault if youre both empty and sad now its your own fault! Do as He told you forgive, and you will see the light again!
If you forgive, youll find your true identity in Jesus again. He will set you free of those wrong feelings that are simply not you. He will give you back life again! Amen!
James says in 4:12: Who art thou that judgest another and Romans tells us in 14:13: Let us not therefore judge one another anymore.
But what do you do when temptation comes up again? When you feel the anger and the hatred come back? Dont feel ashamed just for being tempted. Like that you will never overcome temptation. Consider temptation something good. If you would already do as Satan wants you, he would not have to tempt you. Temptation is not a sign of weakness, it means Satan hates you. Paul advises in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT): When youre tempted, remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience.
Face temptation and the devil will flee from you!
The bible never tells us to resist temptation but resist the devil. Dont forget even Jesus was tempted, but He never sinned! So only when you give in to temptation it becomes a sin.
Martin Luther said: You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.
Recognize your pattern of temptation, be prepared for it and also ask for Gods help! Call on me in times of trouble. I will rescue you, and you will honor me says the Lord in Psalm 50:15 (GWT).
Focus your attention on something else, talk about it with a Christian brother or sister. Remember youre vulnerable but you have the power to resist the devil.
God wont give you more than you can take.
1 John 2:9-11 (KJV) tells us: He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness blinded his eyes.
Lets focus on that: You dont forgive and youll live in darkness. So dont come complaining about that torments youre going through while you still have anger and hatred against your brother in your heart! You are giving in to the devil, you destroy yourself, you break the relationship with your brother and finally you break the bond with God!
Whereas if you forgive, youll walk in the light, be at peace with yourself and your brother and rejoice in the love for the Lord! Amen!
Think of why you might be angry at someone. Because he took something that belongs to you? Or someone? Because he hurt you? Or is it simply envy and greed that tortures you? Lust for vengeance?
Read 1 John 2:15-17 (KJV): Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Amen!
Lets put it in simple words:
Nobody said its gonna be easy. It sure hurts bad to forgive somebody who did you wrong. Feels kinda weird, right? Even hurts! But there aint no other way. Its either God or Satan theres nothing in-between.
And if everybody tells you youre out of your mind to forgive someone who did this to you: Never mind! Forgive! You gonna be with Jesus someday, so that should be worth it, right? Dont forget Jesus died for you, too!
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
He died for YOUR sins although He didnt even have any sins of His own! And you dare not to forgive somebody that doesnt even get close to that?
Jesus says in St John 8:7 (KJV): He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (John 11:25)
Munich, Germany, December 2004: Robert Gollwitzer
Lewis, Robert: Raising a Modern-Day Knight. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1997.
Lewis, Robert: Real Family Values. Sisters, Oregon. Multnomah Publishers Inc., 1995.
Dallas, Joe: A Strong Delusion. Confronting the Gay Christian Movement. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1996.
Homepages of the southern Baptists (www.sbc.net), the Church of Christ (www.church-of-christ.org), www.actscom.com, www.genesiscounseling.org
Material of the Christian program Homosexuals Anonymous, of Exodus and other programs related to that
Reinhold Ruthe: Seelsorge wie macht man das?. Gießen. Brunnen Verlag. 1993
Lawrence J. Crabb: Die Last des anderen. Basel. Brunnen Verlag. 1984
Robert H. Schuller: Turning Hurts into Halos. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1999
The Self Righteous Prodigal
So let’s read the entire chapter again for the first time, with an open mind, and see what the Lord may have to say to you today.
As we read the opening verses of this chapter, we see that many publicans and sinners have come to hear Jesus speak. Also present in this crowd were Pharisees and Saducees. Luke 15:1-2
The Pharisees were self righteous teachers of the religeous community, whom mostly gained their positions by bribery and big money. They were wealthy and they loved to Lord it over the common people, looking down their noses at them with disdain. The common people to them were the dregs of society.
The tax collectors, and the sinners to Jesus were represented as lost sheep who were in need of a Savior. To the average Israeli, the tax collectors were the most hated of all, for they worked for the Romans who were the oppressors. The tax collectors were corrupt, taking from the people more taxes than they should have. They were for that matter stealing from their own.
To the Pharisees the common people, including the tax collectors were considered religiously unclean.
Jesus in the eyes of all was considered to be a "Good Man." Yet in the mind of the Pharisees, Jesus was also unclean because He hung out with the tax collectors, and the sinners, and the common people, so therefore He was guilty by association.
We too are often just as guilty as the Pharisees. We too often stay far away from the dregs of society. Anyone seen to be near them is considered to be unclean, unrighteous. We would rather if we could associate with the elite of society, with those who hold power and money. If we are seen with these types of folks, we think that we are a "Somebody."
In the culture of the day, to share a meal with somebody was to accept and approve of them. So when the Pharisees saw Jesus hanging out with these unclean, unrighteous persons, in their mind, He also was like them, and therefore could not be a "Good Man." Their prejudice is no different than many of us today. Look at yourself closely. Are you also a prejudicial Pharisee?
Jesus, as we know was not shy to confront these self righteous Pharisees. One of His favourite ways to confront them was by way of parables. And so Jesus tells these folks several parables, aimed straight as an arrow to their hearts to make them see what kind of men they really were and to make them see that they did not know God and His ways at all. Each of these parables is a reflection mirroring these Pharisees showing them not only their self righteousness, but also a window looking at and reflecting God the Father.
These Pharisees thought that they knew God very well, but Jesus was going to show them that they did not know Him at all. They did not understand the awesome love of that the Father has for the lost and how His heart breaks when one goes astray.
Through these three parables in chapter 15, we learn that it is God Himself who initiates His love towards us in that. While we are still yet sinners, Christ Jesus died for us. Rom. 8 It is He whom searches out for us, while we are yet still lost sinners, desiring us to draw close to Him.
The point of these three parables is not so much about a lost shepherd, nor a lost coin, nor a lost son, but about a searching, loving Father who searches to seek and to save they which are lost. Luke 19:10; Matt. 18:11
Now lets read Luke 15:11-24 about a Wayward Son and a searching Father.
We have all at one time or another searched desperately for something which is lost, like a wife’s ring, a lost child, car keys etc. If one loses a child at a carnival, the pain that a father or mother would feel would be comparable to the hurt and pain our Father in heaven must feel when one of us becomes lost, becomes a prodigal running away from Him. Who else but a parent could feel the anguish of a lost child like our Father? We read how Jesus wept over Jerusalem as they continually turned away from Him, Matt. 23:37.That is how much He loves us.
The young prodigal son we being very self-centered when he asked his father for his inheritance. To hear such a request as this from a son whom he loved, was like hearing that your son was wishing you to be dead. The father likely tried to talk some sense into his sons head, and he also likely knew exactly what the boy would do with all this money. Eventually the father relented to the sons request and let him go. We today would refer to this as tough love. Sometimes a parent has to to let a son or daughter go their own way so that they can learn the error of their ways on their own, the hard way.
And so we read how the boy gathered up his inheritance and belongs and left for a far off country living a harlotous life boozing it up and throwing his money around like a big shot until it all ran out. And we learn that a famine came upon the country and he became hungry. He sought out a way to get food and money, but the best offered to him was working with pigs and eating the same scraps they got. This would have been terribly degrading, especially to a Jew. During a time of famine pigs would have been of more value than people, so all the people turned their backs on him and gave him nothing.
Had the story ended here, the Pharisees would have said that he got just what he deserved. Fortunately, our Father is not like that. He wishes us to repent and coming running back to Him.
With his stomach grumbling, ragged and filthy, the son we read comes to his senses and realizes what a fool he had been. He realizes that he not only sinned against his own earthly father, but also again the Father in heaven. Unfortunately we often need to fall into the pig pen, to hit rock bottom before we come to our senses, repent and turn back to God.
We can know for sure the boy was sincere in how he felt because he did not desire to return to his father as a son, but as a meager hired servant. Do we not also feel that at times we are unworthy of the Father when we have sinned?
Thankfully our God's love for us is so great that He will not leave us in the dumps.
In true humiliation, the prodigal son returns home, hungry, likely smelling like the pigs, dirty, degraded with his head bowed rehearsing what he would say to his father.
Many an earthly father would perhaps look up to their approaching prodigal son with disgust. But our Father who is represented in this parable as the boy’s father does not do that. Our Father in heaven does not shut us out, does not turn His back on us while we still draw breath. He awaits for us patiently, wooing us, searching for us, looking for us daily awaiting for us to repent, come to our senses and return to Him.
So it is, as in the story, the father does not just stand there on the door step when he sees the boy coming. But he runs with outstretched arms eager to hug us and welcome us home, even before the son has expressed his repentance. Our Father needs not wait to hear from our lips to know that we have repented. He already knows our heart. And yes, just as in the story, there is a party. Like wise when one on earth repents and comes to the Father, there is great joy in heaven.
In Middle East culture, older men do not run, nor do we ever see the elite run with emotion in our culture today. But this father runs to his son and immediately after embracing the boy he calls for a party. Bring out the best calf, a robe and sandals, "my son which was lost is found he says."
The father in this story brought out his best to honour his repentant, prodigal son. Our Father also gave His best when He gave His Son for us when were also lost. The son was once again recognized as a heir to the father's estate as we are to our Father in heaven.
The father was not treating his son so well because he deserved it, but because he loved him so much. He went out of his way showing grace and mercy upon the once wayward son.
God our Father likewise does not dispose grace and mercy upon us because we deserve it or because of anything we have done. He gives because He loves us so much. John 3:16
This is a God who runs and embraces, who accepts the filthy prodigal sons when they run and turn back to Him. This is a God who calls for a party in heaven, who cries out; "Welcome, welcome home!" (see Luke 15:7)
This is a God the Pharisees did not know and understand. That is why the story does not end here, but continues on to the end of the chapter. This ending part is the real key to this story.
Allow me suggest that the prodigal son represents the tax collectors and the sinners around Jesus. These folks know that they are lost and in need of a Savior. They are willing at least to come and sit at his feet and to listen to His teachings. And the angry elder son represents the hard nosed, know it all, non seeking Pharisees.
At first look the elder son looks like the respectable son, who is hard working, always obeying his father. He seemingly was doing the right thing. But may I suggest that his relationship with his father was likely strained. His righteousness was masked by the law, doing right outwardly, but perhaps inwardly rebelling against the father. The Pharisees also appear to have a form of godliness, but Jesus chastised them another time calling them blind guides, white sepulchers. Read Matt. 23:1-36; Luke 11:39-44. Jesus unmasked their self righteousness, those who thought they knew the Father and were doing His work. But, they were far, far from the Lord.
The elder son, upon hearing the celebration was angered and his thoughts towards his brother, rather than being joyful at his return, was anger and jealous. He was so angry that he refused to go to the party even after his father had pleaded with him to come and join the party and enjoy.
His rebelliousness would have been an insult to his father. This is like a teen picking a fight with a parent. It was terribly disrespectful. It was his duty to go and join in the celebration with his father. He chose to not even have fellowship with his father because the father had thrown a party for the one whom had lived with pigs, partied it up, losing all his money.
The Pharisees likewise chose to not have fellowship with Jesus, because Jesus fellowshipped with the dregs of society. They like the elder son chose to stay outside of the Fathers house. When one refuses to accept what the Father offers, what He accepts, it reveals ones true heart relationship to God.
Still the father pleads to the elder son, because he likewise loves his elder son as much as he loves the younger son. But for all his pleading, it was to no avail.
The elder brother contempt for his father showed clearly the true nature of his heart, just as the Pharisees had contempt for Jesus. Their hearts were far from God. Though the elder son worked hard for his father, he did not share his father’s heart. When he says: "This son of yours" (Luk 15: 30 New International Version ©2011), he clearly shows he neither loved his brother, nor his father.
His final statements show how self serving he really was, how self-righteous he truly was. He was not joyful of being the recipient of his fathers love. In reality, he like the Pharisees was far further from the Father than was the prodigal son.
Never-the-less, this father portrays the love of our Father God, despite the elders disrespectful outburst. He continues to plead to the elder son to come and join in and share the joy that the father has for him, for us. He is a gracious, merciful Father who perseveres, who holds out hope, pleading for us to come close to Him, despite our failures, despite our sins.
When our Father sees a repentant sinner returning, He cannot of Himself cancel the party, cancel His love for us who are all prodigals.
Jesus was showing these self righteous Pharisees His deity and God's grace. That after all is the true theme of this story.
This is yet one other part of this story which is still missing. from this story, we never really learn if the elder son ever repented. Did he enter or did he not? The end of the story leaves us ah ging. Likely as not he did not enter the joy of the Lord.
This is the sin of the Pharisees. As long as they do not enter into and accept the grace of the Father, they are left on the outside. Our Father offers us grace and mercy and eternal life. If we do not enter in, and accept His offer of the forgiveness of our sins and salvation, we will not enter in to His joy and rest.
If we cannot see the need for grace for others, how will we ever see the need for grace and mercy for ourselves. To do so is to forfiet fellowship with the Father. The Pharisees likewise remain outside as long as they have contempt for the least of these.
Whether you are in a far country and have fallen to the the bottom, to the very dregs of the barrel, or if you are standing on the outside, the Father is still calling, "Come on In, Come home."
How we relate to others, reveals how we relate to God. He aches and cries for you every day to come. Will you not come on in and enjoy His blessings, enjoy the rest He has prepared for you?
I am reminded of the hymn "Just As I am" Please come just as you are and enter the party and homecoming He has preparing for you. Will you?
As we grew up we suffered daily at the hands of those around us. Some
of us were bullied by our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters,
neighbours, children in our street, children in school, uncles,
aunties, you name it. Many of us experienced so many traumas,
physically and emotionally that we wonder how we ever survived our
childhood and adolescence. We were tortured, ridiculed, mocked, spat
upon, dehumanized, raped, molested, teased, humiliated and made to
feel that we are the scum of the earth. And we believed it.
Unknowingly these people who made our lives a living hell inflicted
wounds on us that may still not have healed.
Because of the constant hostility of those around us towards us, we
began to accept the belief that we were worthless. We began to loose
confidence in ourselves and people in general. Our tormentors whether
knowing or unknowingly, imprinted on our minds and hearts that we are
not worthy of receiving any love. We considered the outside world as
a very hostile place. Our trust in people diminished each and every
time an attack was launched on us. Our world became smaller and
smaller. For some of us it became so small that we never even dared
to venture beyond the four walls of our rooms. We were mortified of
the outside world. Those of us who had the added burden of being
effeminate, had a permanent banner of ridicule hanging over our
heads, always drawing attention from those around us. When they began
to notice the unpleasant responses of the people towards their
behaviour, they began to loathe themselves and tried repeatedly to
act more manly. Many times they failed miserably. They began to fear
being in public places and interacting with other boys. Too scared of
the laughs that would usually follow once their effeminate behaviour
How we despised who were. We began to hate ourselves because of our
continual failure to live up to the standards of those around us.
When we tried to fit in, our attempts were blown apart and we
immediately withdrew again into ourselves. With each blow, the deeper
and deeper we went into ourselves.
For those of us who were unfortunate to have abusive parents or
siblings, the torment continued inside the house. Some of our dads
slapped us around to such a degree that our faces and bodies were
always swollen from their beatings. Some of our moms did nothing
really to make us feel better afterwards. However most of our mothers
automatically became too overprotective over us and kept us from the
outside world and our abusive fathers. We grasped on to their
affection with our dear lives because they were the only people in
the world that showed us love. Some had grandmothers or aunties or
even sisters who took them under their wings. Many of us felt safe
around them and found comfort and a moments peace within their female
world. The females in our lives became our heroines. They became
larger than life.
Much of the emotional and physical trauma we experienced occurred
before the age of five. Interestingly enough, most psychologists
agree that a child becomes gender conscious around the age of 3-6.
According to a researcher named J C Condry, in the book Gender
Identity and Social competence. Sex Roles, children start to
distinguish between 'man' and 'woman' at this age, and view
themselves as a member of one category, and regard themselves as
either 'boy' or 'girl'.
One must also understand that gender role identity development is an
ongoing process and continues right up to puberty. However, because
many of us we felt continually threatened by the masculine world, we
began to identify ourselves with the female world. Gender role
identity must also not be confused with sexuality or gender identity
(physical biology, J.S.Dacey, Adolescents today, 1979). Although the
one leads to other and influence one another, they are nevertheless
separate. Gender role identity is the person's own perception of
which he/she is gender wise. One can also draw the conclusion from
Dacey's and Condry's work that if a child continuously feels
threatened by the parent of his own gender, or members of his own
gender, and if it occurs during the crucial age of 3-6, he may just
subconsciously choose to identify with the members of the opposite
sex .When one considers this, its not difficult why many of us became
homosexual, transsexual, bi-sexual, etc. Because we experienced the
masculine world as hostile and female world as comforting and safe,
we believed the lie that we were female and not male even though our
biology indicated differently. Interestingly enough also, when one
studies Condry's three phases of gender role identity formation, you
notice that during the second phase (gender role orientation), the
child gives increasing attention to "members of his own gender, with
a strong focus on learning the roles of that gender". It occurs
mainly by observation and by exploring and exercising the gender role
by means of play activities. When one considers this, and if the
child chose to identify with the opposite sex, it becomes clear why
most of us felt extremely uncomfortable playing with boys or our dads
or doing things that was expected of boys. Instead many of us felt
right at home playing house with our sisters and female friends and
being in the company of our moms. Because the first phase of our
development started off wrong, we "orientated" incorrectly as well.
Instead of modelling ourselves after our dad's and male siblings, we
modelled ourselves after the females we identified with.
Because this is not common knowledge, our dad's and other males
around us, obviously did not responded friendly towards us, thus
worsening the problem. We began to drift further away from any. The
possibility of adapting a masculine gender role began to decrease all
more and more until we became detrimentally ostracised from men.
During adolescence another change also occures. According to a
researcher named F D Alsaker, during sexual maturation there also
occurs a shift towards members of the opposite sex. In pre-
adolescent years there was a stronger tendency towards same-sex peer
relationships. I believe this is why most of us experienced our first
homosexual encounters during puberty or became sexually
attracted /interested in men. The fact that we were moving away from
our perceived female 'peers' towards members of whom we considered
the 'opposite' sex was normal human psycho-sexual development in
itself. However what made this normal development phase in our case
abnormal was that the persons we considered to be our opposites were
in actual fact our biological equals. But because we held an
incorrect view of our own gender role, we began to seek out
relationships that were in our perception "heterosexual". Our
accepted gender role was female, they were male. I believe that is
why homosexual feelings feel so normal to us and why we had this urge
to develop homosexual relationships. To us it was 'heterosexual' but
in reality it was homosexual. Men are our peers, not opposites.
This brings me to what I really wanted to talk to you about. Pain. I
mentioned all the things above to help you understand that you have
been through a lot. Many of us have been to hell and back through the
trauma that occurred in our lives. I mention this not to inspire you
to self pity nor am I on a crusade to instil feelings of hatred
towards those who have wronged you. No. I'm telling you all this to
let you know that you have suffered a lot during your life. You were
abused, maltreated and scorned. The problems you have today with your
sexuality and gender identity is not because you are freak of nature
or some kind of half- monster. No, a lot of terrible things led to
where you may find yourself today. If there are psychological damage
or emotional problems, begin to understand that you did not choose to
have obsessive compulsive disorders, same sex attractions, severe
insecurities, multiple phobias, personality disorders or even
psychosis. You need to show mercy on yourself. If there is anyone who
deserves mercy and compassion it is you.
Just consider the terrible child abuses we hear of daily in the news.
Children are exploited and terrorised in ever possible way. It is
only until recently that Satanic Ritual abuse has come under the
spotlight. Children are put through the most terrible of tortures at
the hands of brutal men and women. Now imagine you had to spend a day
with one of these children. What will your immediate response be?
You'd feel enormous pity for them. You would just feel like picking
one of them up and hugging them and telling them them that's going to
be ok, that it's not their fault. Why don't you do that to yourself
also? Your natural response to any traumatised child will be to offer
support and love. You need to do that to yourself as well. So when
you think of the little boy you once were, don't ever call him "that
little weakling', 'coward' or 'sissy'. He couldn't help what was
happening to him. He endured much torture for many years but yet
still made something of himself. More than that, he was made holy a
later in his life by a Man who washed him clean and purified him from
all defilement with Godly Blood.
So when you still struggle with emotional or psychological issues,
remember you've been through a lot. You cannot undo years of abuse
just at click of a finger. It doesn't work like that. Give yourself
time to heal. Give yourself time to recover from homosexuality. Don't
push yourself too much. If you do anything be gentle with yourself.
When you still battle with pornography don't hate yourself because of
the addiction you have. Hate the sin not yourself. Remember this was
the method you have adopted to help you cope with the horrible
circumstances with your life. It has become a habit. The software is
running. Unlike man made pc's, you can't get rid of it with just one
click of a button. Instant sanctification is as unbiblicalas the
So this is what I want to leave with you. Take care of yourselves.
Nurture yourself as you would a traumatised child. Speak words of
encouragement to yourself. Don't chastise yourself over your faults
and shortcomings. Start being a friend to yourself. You've been
through a lot already. We sometimes forget this.
This is enough for today.
It is my prayer that the God of Israel, pour His new wine and healing
oil on your wounds.
The Importance of Forgiveness
So called friends never leave you if they are a true friends. I received a card years ago when I worked in the carnival from the FAT LADY. Do you know why she gave me the card? Because I was a true friend to her, when most others steered away from her because of her size. Do you know what the card said? A Fiend is a friend to a friend indeed, when a friend is a friend to a friend in need. That is the true description of what a friend is. I would wager to say, and I think statistics also claim the same, that most people though they may have a crowd of people they may chum with, but when it comes down to the crunch, most people may have only one, maybe two real true friends. So do not worry that you may not have any true friends. You do have One Really True Friend that you can always count on no matter what. No matter your failures no matter anything you may do, say or not say. That friend is Jesus. He is but a breath away at any time day or night.
You can forgive those whom have hurt you in prayer. You do not necessarily to to tell them to their face, though that would be good. But God knows in your heart if you are sincere when you do. And He is the only one that really matters.
That is a hard task to forgive God for what you think He may have done to you. God thankfully is a God of compassion and love. No matter what we may think or say to him, He will never reject us. He accepts us as we are. It is because He loves us so much, that Jesus died on the cross for us and rose again. We do not deserve His forgiveness. We do not deserve the wonderful gift of eternal life He offers us. But He does, because His love for us is far beyond what we can imagine. His love for us is as huge as His forgiveness of our sins. It says in scripture that when He forgives us our sins, He also forgets them. He separates us from our sins as far as the east is from the west.That is an infinite line going in either direction which can never meet. That is how much He loves us. That is how much His forgiveness of our sins is. God would certainly never tell one to abandon you if He put one in front of you.
Now again as I said before, take that scrap of paper you wrote or imagined in your mind of those whom have hurt you. And like God has done, take it, burn it up, forget about it forever. It is finished. God has forgiven you, you too now must forgive others.
An Attitude of Gratitude
Have you noticed these past many years, that the newest generation, I call the "Me" generation, seems to be a "thankless generation." I am not painting all as thankless, but there does seem to be a prevalence of this kind of attitude. Just watch wherever you go for a few days and see if this is not so. Many from the bygone days are also thankless. It always annoys me when you do a good deed for someone, and they can't be bothered to say thank you.
Perhaps the reason for this attitude is because God has been taken out of the schools, courts etc It's a wonder than "In God We Trust." has not yet been removed from American money.
Well, I suppose that would explain why there are so many thankless people out there. After all, if God is no longer welcome in our countries, the natural tendency to have a good attitude also went out the door with God. We need not look too far to see that the morals that came with the first settlers to these shores , has by and large been abandoned. Crime in the streets has risen greatly since WW II. So I guess we can't expect the people of the land to be very thankful.
Jesus was one day invited to come and dine with a certain Pharisee named Simon. Little did he know that Jesus was going to teach him a lesson about being thankful, about having a good attitude towards others who are gracious to you, of having a loving, forgiving heart.
I would dare to say, that our attitude towards being thankful or not is an indicator also of of relationship and attitude to God. Is He not after all the author of good attitudes? And did Jesus Himself not set the example.
For example at what is commonly called the "Last Supper," when He shared the cup of wine and bread He gave thanks. John 6:11
Scripture commands us to give thanks, to be thankful. Ps. 50:14. And the Apostle Paul said we should likewise give thanks for all things. Phil. 4:6 It is good to give thanks to the Lord. Ps. 92:1 And we are to give thanks to and through Christ Jesus. 1 Tim. 1:12; Rom. 1:8; Col. 3:17.We are to give thanks always for all things. Eph. 5:20; 1 Thess. 5:18
Luke 7:36-50 tells the story of Simon, a Pharisee, who for whatever reason invites Jesus to dine with him. This was still early in the Lord's ministry on earth. The Pharisees had already begun to discredit Jesus for various reasons. The chief reason most likely that Jesus claimed to be deity, yet He did many things in the Pharisaical mind set which they deemed to be a fraud.
At some point during the meal a woman arrives, and she begins to pour a jar of alabaster oil upon the feet of Jesus and to wash His feet with the oil and her tears and then proceeds to dry His feet with her hair. This woman is inferred in this story to be a woman of the street, a prostitute. Simon looked upon this woman and was aghast that Jesus allowed this woman, a known street walker to wash His feet. His thinking was; "if this man was really a prophet, a man of God, then he would know what type of woman she was, and he would have told her to get away from him." After all, what has a sinner such as her got to do with a man of God?
You got to love the way Jesus handles this situation. If ever there was a greater diplomat, it was Jesus. Jesus turns to Simon, the Pharisee, and tells him a parable about two men who owed their master large sums of money. One owed 500 denarii and the other 50 denarii. To understand how much money this was, you need to know that a denarii was the equivalent of a man’s daily wage. So therefore the one man owned the equivalent of about 500 days wages, while the other owned about 50 days wages.
Both men were at the end of their ropes. In a sense both men were equal as to their financial status, as neither could pay their debt. Likewise we are all sinners and none of us are able to pay the debt owed for our sins. We are all at the same level of indebtedness as far as our sins are concerned. In this sense, one sin is no greater than another. A thief is no greater a sinner than a hooker.
Jesus by rights could have been thoroughly incensed at Simon's lack of etiquette in his hospitality towards Jesus. To understand what is meant here, it is best to go back in time to the Middle East at the time of Jesus and learn a little bit of their custom and culture. When a guest, especially an important guest enters your home, it would be proper etiquette to kiss your guest on the cheeks, and to wash his feet of the sand and dust off his sandalled feet. Luke 7:44-46 It would be like you or I entering into an others home after a long journey and to be not offered something to eat or drink, or a place to rest.
Simon's misbehavior was an insult to his guest. It may have been done on purpose, we do not know for sure.
Next we must understand why this woman and others were also there within the same walls. We can safely gleam this to be true as we read verse 49.
When we go to a party, we feel somewhat discomforted if others appear who had not been invited. However, again, going back in time, it was normal for the needy to come and stand aside of the guest table and then to come and take any leftovers when permitted. Other curious onlookers were also allowed to come and observe the goings on. That is why it was quite normal for this uninvited woman to be present.
However it seemed like Simon the host, of this little get together was somewhat surprised to see this woman there, or so it would appear. As far we know this may well have been a set up to entrap Jesus as the Pharisees have done before. John 8:2-11 where we read of the woman caught in adultery.
Simon's action towards the woman is what brought Jesus to tell the parable of the moneylender. Simon actually should have been put to rest immediately, as to the deity of Jesus. Why, because we read; "Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it,” (the woman present washing the feet of Jesus), he said to himself, “if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner." Luke 7:39 (King James Version)
Do you see the point? Simon thought this in his mind. He did not say it aloud. Jesus as we know is God, and He is capable of knowing our thoughts. “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee" Job 42:2 (King James Version) That is why Jesus told Simon this parable. Jesus wanted Simon to know that he to was no less a sinner than this woman. He also wanted Simon to know that God has the prerogative to love any and all sinners. He was also showing Simon that; to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47 b King James Version), and the converse is also true, that to whom much is forgiven, the same loveth much.
This woman however knew that she was a sinner and therefore she came to Jesus to wash His feet as and act of repentance, whereas Simon thought himself to be too good a person and not at all in need of repentance, nor in need of a Savior, nor of forgiveness, as he was in his own mind but a little sinner as compared to the woman.
The woman in Simon's eyes was a great sinner, a member of the dregs of society, unclean, unrighteous. What made it even worse in Simon's eyes was that according to Jewish Laws (Talmud) a woman can be divorced for simply unbinding her hair (letting it down) in the presence of other men. And here she is wiping the feet of Jesus with her own hair. Unbelievable, he would have thought.
Simon was shocked by the fact that Jesus did not try to discourage this woman from washing His feet. This woman is a sinner after all. How could He allow this gross sinner to do this, if indeed He is a prophet, a man of God?
Not only did Simon have contempt for this woman, he also had contempt for Jesus. How dare he, Jesus touch such a sinner, even to let her come near Him. Simon again, being so self righteous looked down at this woman thinking himself much better than her. Surely, he thought to himself, my sins, if I even have any, are not nearly as bad as this untouchable woman.
Of course he knew who, and what kind of woman she was, and He also knew Simon and what kind of man he was. Nothing is hidden from God.
This story exposes the attitudes of both the woman and of Simon. One loved God, the other did not. One was forgiven much and therefore loved much, while the other was forgiven little and loved little and saw no need of forgiveness.
Jesus tells us that the moneylender forgave both the men of their debts, with no strings attached.
Jesus says; "he frankly forgave them both." (Luke 7:42 King James Version). Jesus here uses the Greek word "Chariszoma", which means to give freely, to give cheerfully. He, the money lender actually took upon himself both their debts. This was a great act of grace. Likewise when Jesus died on the cross for us, He freely forgave us all our debts sins. He paid and took upon Himself the penalty of our sins. Rom. 6:23
Jesus ends the parable by asking Simon; “which of them will love him most?" (Luke 7:42 King James Version) Simon responds correctly when he says that the one he owed the most would love the money lender the most.
What we need to learn and know about forgiving grace is that, forgiveness comes before love. In other words until an act of forgiveness is carried out, there is no recipient to love because of being forgiven. Love is the result of forgiveness. If I have done you a wrong, and you have forgiven me of that wrong, I would be most grateful and I would emotionally feel indebted to you. How else can we explain the grace extended by the likes of Corrie ten Boom, or the people who forgave the shooter at the Mennonite school. Who will love him more?
This woman showed her love and gratitude to Jesus because He freely forgave her of her sins. To love someone and to act with an attitude of gratitude shows that this person has the love of the Father in them.
This woman showed her gratitude to Jesus by going all out, pouring her love for him with her tears, with the oil, and then by drying His feet with her hair. Simon on the contrary showed his disrespectful, unforgiving heart by not kissing Jesus, by not washing His feet, by not having a forgiving heart for this woman.
Simon's lack of proper etiquette was not the important thing here. However, it was Simon's spiritual condition which was the most important thing. Simon had an unforgiving, ungracious attitude to people in general and to God. It was well demonstrated towards this woman.
This woman's thankful attitude prompted Jesus to say to this woman; "Thy sins are forgiven" (Luke 7:48 King James Version) because she loved much. Simon loved little. Her love proved her genuine acceptance of being forgiven.
I am reminded of the story in Luke 17:12-19 of the 10 lepers. Jesus showed compassion upon these men and graciously healed all ten of them.Yet, later on we read that only one returned and expressed how thankful he was by shouting and giving glory to God. Again here is a mirror of our own world today. So few are thankful for even the basic necessities of life which God's provides freely. Only a handful of people by comparison show and express how grateful they are to all that the Lord has provided. Few seem to be grateful even to their fellow man for any and all things. The world is full of evil these days. “And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love." Ps. 109:5 (King James Version) It is said that; "he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death." Prov. 8:36 (King James Version) Jesus describes the condition of the world in the last days when He said, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Matt 24:12 (King James Version) In others words, many shall there be in these last days who will be unrighteous, be uncaring, unloving, unforgiving of their love for God and of their fellow man.
This verse helps to support the theory that those who are sinful, think of themselves to be above their fellow man, they care not for the love of others or of the things of God, for they love not, therefore, they are unforgiving. The love of God is not in them. Forgiveness has its birth from the Lord.
Each one of us has to look at oneself in the mirror and do a self examination, to see if we have a forgiving heart, a thankful heart and the love of God in us. A lack of gratitude shows a lack of love and thus a lack of forgiveness and therefore a lack of love for their fellow man and for God. Simon did not love God because he did not know God. Therefore Simon also had an unforgiving, unloving, thankless heart. And you!
It is sad that Simon could not find it within his heart to forgive and have compassion for this woman. Jesus however declared to her; "Thy sins are forgiven." (Luke 7:48 King James Version) This is a once and for all action by Jesus that cannot be undone by Him The Son of God is our great forgiver. He alone can forgive absolutely.
Why is it that Jesus can forgive sins? It is because He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. It is His blood which atones, forgives us of our sins. Jesus took upon Himself our sins debts, for “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins." Eph. 1:7 (King Jams Version) The cost of His forgiveness was great. It cost Him His blood, His life, crucifixion and the separation from His Father for a time. Review for yourself the Passion either in the movie or in scripture and see for yourself what He endured to be able to forgive you of your sins. Matt. 26:45-27:50; Mark 14:43-16:37; Luke 22:47-23:46; John 18:1-19:37
This woman and our sins our forgiven freely, for us based upon the work of Christ on the cross, by way of our faith, by believing and accepting the free gift of salvation. It is a free gift. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." (Eph 2:8 King James Version) By faith, Jesus told the woman and us that we are saved. Luke 7:50
To the Pharisee and the unforgiving this is outrageous. "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 1 Cor. 1:25 (King James Version)
" But the natural man [Parisees, UN-thankful, unforgiving], receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14 (King James Version) "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ." 1 Cor. 2:16 "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." 1 Cor. 3:19 (Both King James Version)
There are no conditions, no strings attached for us to be saved. Only trust in what He did on the cross brings salvation. When one buys you a gift, it is usually a free gift to you. You need not do anything at all to receive it, other than to reach out with an open hand and accept it. If there is a price of any sort, any strings attached, the gift is not free at all. It reminds me of TV infomercials that say if you send so much money for shipping and handling, you get the offer for free. How can it be for free if you had to spend money on it to get it?
Jesus is not like these infomercials. There is no fee for shipping and handling. He brings salvation to you for free. He brings it to you Himself and lays it in your outstretched hands, if you will but accept it. This woan at Jesus' feet did just that, she opened up herself and accepted the free gift of salvation. Thus Jesus was able to say to her; "Thy sins are forgiven." Luke 7:48 (King James Version) When you receive a gift, it is only polite to say "thank you." When God has forgiven us our sins, it would only be proper to say "Thank you!"
Upon forgiving this lady Jesus added one more loving gracious phrase. He said; "go in peace." Luke 7:50 (King James Version) What was this peace? It was peace with God and peace within herself. What else but such a soul lifting free gift from God could ever bring such peace to one heart? Thank you Lord !
This parable should cause us all to do a self examination and see if we have a heart of gratitude and love for Jesus and for our fellow man, the evidence of forgiveness in our hearts.
To love not is to not forgive. If you are unable to forgive, check the source. Perhaps you love not. Perhaps you do not know the Lord. Therefore you are unable to forgive, unable to receive the free gift, unable to be thankful.
If this is the case for you, read again the Book of John and the Passion passages in the Bible. Look and see what Jesus has done for you. Stand at the bottom of the cross and see what it cost Him to forgive you of your sins.(His stripes, the scourging, his beard pulled, his back whipped to the bone)
Then when that is done, accept His free gift, be thankful that He has forgiven you. Show your love for Him by pouring the alabaster jar of oil upon His feet. Allow your tears to flow in love for Him. Dry his feet with an attitude of gratitude.
Stop being a Pharisee.
Forgive your enemy.
Love your neighbor.
And lastly say; "Thank you!"
Here is a song of the Love one has for Christ when one has been forgiven.
In Christ Alone
In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength my song.
This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are still, when strikings cease.
My comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone who took on flesh, fullness of God in helpless babe.
The gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid, here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground, His body lay. Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth, in glorious day, up from the grave He arose again.
And as He stands in victory, since curse has lost it's grip on me.
For I am His, and He is mine. Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No gift of love, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry, to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand.
Till He returns, or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand.
One cannot help but have an attitude of gratitude
When we see what He has done for us,
When we look and see how far to the cross He has come,
From heaven above to shed His blood on Calvary,
To pay sins debt for you and me,
Oh for the love of such a Savior as He,
To offer freely a love so divine,
So rich, so free,
If I but trust in His love for me,
To reach out and grasp His forgiving Love
That I may shout from now till eternity,
Thank you Lord !
THANK YOU LORD FOR SAVING MY SOUL.
THANK YOU LORD FOR HE MAKING WHOLE
THANK YOU LORD FOR GIVING TO ME
THY GREAT SALVATION SO RICH AND FREE
THANK YOU LORD.
Lyrics copyright 2001 Kingsway/Thankyou Music
For song story click here: http://www.crosswalk.com/church/worship/song-story-in-christ-alone-1275127.html
If we can but................... remember that it is .............. because of Him.................that....... it is all about Him, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer, Our King...
what depths of joy,.... what depths of gracious love... what depths of thankfulness... what depths of worship.............
I bow my knee in Humble Adoration .................before my King.. My God..My Lord...My Savior...I Give All...To Him. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I Adore you...Son Of God.....
My Lord...My God...My Savior.........Jesus Christ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!