Forgive – Let It Go! (part 2)
November 12, 2023
Forgive – Let It Go! (part 2)
Three Steps in Forgiving Others
We are living in a really tense time. Emotions are raw. People are on edge.
This time just prior to Jesus’ return is a relationship stressor!
In the middle of all of this, we have the command to love and forgive.
Romans 12:18 (NKJV)
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Dedicated, consecrated, sincere Christians should be the most mentally and emotionally balanced people in society.
You’re not living in the past, or in the future. You learn to accept where you are at face value.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (TPT)
But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce and difficult for the people of God. 2 People will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly. 3 They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander. Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and right. 4 With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God. 5 They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality they want nothing to do with God’s power. Stay away from people like these!
Matthew 5:43-48 (TPT)
Your ancestors have also been taught ‘Love your neighbors and hate the one who hates you.’ 44 However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them. 45 For that will reveal your identity as children of your heavenly Father. He is kind to all by bringing the sunrise to warm and rainfall to refresh whether a person does what is good or evil. 46 What reward do you deserve if you only love the loveable? Don’t even the tax collectors do that? 47 How are you any different from others if you limit your kindness only to your friends? Don’t even the ungodly do that? 48 Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like him.
The flesh wants to hold a grudge, and many are yielding to the flesh these days!
We have the command to love and forgive!
1 Corinthians 13:5 (AMP)
It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
John 13:34-35 (NKJV)
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Romans 12:18 NKJV
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
There will never be a time in your life that you will NOT have to exercise forgiveness towards someone!
Mark 11:25-26 (AMPC)
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:31 (PHILLIPS)
Let there be no more resentment, no more anger or temper, no more violent self-assertiveness, no more slander and no more malicious remarks, Be kind to each other, be understanding. Be as ready to forgive others as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.
Colossians 3:12-14 (NLT)
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Colossians 3:12-14 (MSG)
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Last time I covered 3 things that unforgiveness does to a person:
1. Hinders my relationship with Jesus.
2. Produces bitter root judgments and expectations.
3. Affects physical health.
TODAY – 3 Steps in Forgiving Others
Forgiveness is a Choice, Not a Feeling!
Colossians 3:13 (AMPC)
Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].
Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Key points about forgiving:
We forgive the same way the Lord has forgiven us. So, what does God do when He forgives your sin?
Forgiveness is a decision followed by action that eventually affects emotions.
The initial act to forgive someone usually contains no emotion.
When God forgives, He does 3 things.
1. I will not bring the event up to you again.
1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
2. I will not bring up the event to others.
Micah 7:18-19 (NKJV)
Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. 19 He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
3. I will completely forget it myself.
Hebrews 10:17 (NKJV)
Then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Isaiah 43:25- NKJV
I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.
3 Things we must do to truly forgive:
1. Not bring the event up in conversation to the person again.
If you continue to bring the event you are forgiving up in conversation, you simply have not yet forgiven!
2. Not talk about it with others.
If you mention to others the event you have forgiven then you have not yet really forgiven!
3. Choose to replace the thought of it with prayer for the offender each time it comes to mind.
Ephesians 1:15-23 (NKJV)
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Ephesians 3:14-19 (NKJV)
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Colossians 1:9-11 (NKJV)
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
For the non-Christian:
1. For God to draw the person to Himself
John 6:44 (NKJV)
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
2. Command Satan to remove the mind blinders:
2 Corinthians 4:4 (NKJV)
Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
3. For God to send “laborers,” people to share the gospel with them.
Matthew 9:38 (NKJV)
Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
3 Elements to True Forgiveness
1. The initial act
2. Daily follow through with replacing thoughts about the incident with prayer.
3. The actual release of offensive emotions.
Think of a Train – Engine – Cars – Caboose
Practical consideration in forgiving.
If we choose not to forgive, a root of bitterness could spoil relationships.
Bitter Root Judgments:
Produce anger and resentment at what someone has done to you, with an undertone that they owe you something because of what they did.
Because of this, you expect the same thing that happened in one relationship to happen in another. Causes a sour attitude towards the offender and eventually spills over into other relationships.
Bitter Root Expectations:
You look for others to do to you what the offender has done, or you expect the offender to repeat the offense over and over.
Exaggerated responses often indicate emotional/mental struggles that may stem from unforgiveness!
I have had to deal with forgiving people who have hurt me in my past to kill some roots:
My 1st girlfriend ran away and got married to someone else!
People that were not honest with promises made to me.
People that rejected me as a child – produced a fear reaction when challenging opinions disagreed with my own.
Itemize your forgiveness.
Don’t forgive by saying – I forgive everyone who has ever done anything wrong to me.
Make a list of all close relationships that you’ve had in your life.
Make a list of one-sentence statements of things you need to forgive each person for doing.
Remember that every relationship leaves a mark on my life.
The degree that the relationship affects me is determined by 1) its depth and 2) its intensity (how frequently I interact with the person).
Take one person at a time and ask the Lord to show you any unresolved issues in your mind towards the person.
As Christians we often think we forgive others when we really don’t go back and deal with the detailed thoughts about a relationship that have left a “print” on us.
Make any judgments you have towards a person into one-sentence statements. Include the event that occurred, and also how it made you feel.
Confess to the Lord what you have judged the person for, and how what they did made you feel. Ask Him to forgive you for judging the person. Then tell the Lord that you forgive the person and that you release the judgments that you have against them by faith.
For deeply emotional issues, you may need another person with you to help you and to identify with you as a human that has been wronged by another.
- Is there any person in your life that you are angry at, or that you just do not want to have anything to do with?
- Are you willing to forgive as an action of will and obedience to God, and afterwards allow the feelings of unforgiveness to change over time?
- Have you itemized your forgiveness of others, or have you just said, well, God says forgive, so I just right now forgive everyone that has ever done me wrong?
- After you forgive, do you replace the thoughts of what the person did with prayer for them?