Thursday, September 9, 2010

I forgive you, I forgive you not

Welcome back to a good bible study!

Today we begin chapter eight of The Love Revolution Devotional Workbook and Field Journal, by Joyce Meyer. Let's begin with prayer:

Lord, thank you for this time we are spending sharing time in Your Word. We ask You to make a difference in our lives through this study. Help us to keep the way clear for Your Holy Spirit to work in us, and through us, daily. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Joyce Meyer says, "If I am angry at anybody, I will take it out on everybody." Ouch. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Sometimes we have habits that really block the flow of God's love through us.

Have you ever said, "Well, I'll forgive but I won't forget!?"Jesus doesn't want people to just say they forgive, because they know it is expected, and act all big about it. Those are just words. Neither does forgiveness mean you allow someone to repeat their mistreatment of you.

It means you accept that this person made a mistake, or that they don't know any better, or that this is a person who really needs to be prayed for. Then shake it off and move on. That's what God told the apostles when he instructed them in how to deal with people who rejected their message. Read Matthew 10:14.

"And whoever will not _______ you or hear your ______, when you depart from that house or city, ______ off the _____ from your feet." NKJV

God said, you don't need to worry about those people who mistreat you because of My Word, I will deal with them. Shake it off and don't let it stop you from your purpose, don't let it ruin your day.

The problem is that if we don't feel worthy of forgiveness ourselves, we will have a hard time letting things go and forgiving others. And if we cannot receive God's love, we certainly can't comprehend having an attitude of love towards someone who has hurt us. We want to see them get their comeuppance first, then we will think about forgiving, right?

Believe it or not, God knows how badly you have been hurt, and He will deal with it as He sees fit and in His timing. In the meantime, He desires mercy, not a "sacrifical" forgiveness that is not genuine.

 Read Matthew 9:13

So, how do you forgive when you are still hurting? Simple (not easy, simple): you tell God on 'em.

Tell Him how badly you are hurt, that's right, tell God all about it. Get it all out. Then pray for God to help them see their error, offer them up to God to help, and choose to let God deal with them. Set yourself free by acknowledging your pain and anger, then decide to see them as ignorant, misguided folk that need God's love to change. Forgive.

Look, make no mistake that this might not be a person to enter into a deep friendship with right now, but there is a difference between being aware, and being unforgiving. Choose to let God have this problem and just praise Jesus that you have learned your lesson on this person until they get the Holy Ghost themselves!

Isn't that better than nursing that wound and drinking that emotional poison the rest of your life while your offender walks around oblivious?

God doesn't hesitate to forgive us. Hebrews 10:16-17 shares how God shows us mercy. It says that once we open our hearts to God and believe His forgiveness is necessary, we not only receive it, but He helps us know how to live better. He says " . . . I will put my Laws into their __________, and in their ________ I will write them," 'then He adds,' 'Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."

Here is a test: if you have forgiven, over time, you get to a point where you hardly even recall the offense. If every time the matter comes up you get angry all over again, you haven't forgiven.

People can't change if we keep reminding them of their failings. Now, I don't mean give complete trust again to someone who has cheated on you,  or stolen, etc. I do mean change your boundaries, be clear as to how their offense affected you, and decide whether they understand it or not so you can redefine your relationship, or have more peace in wishing them well and letting it go.

The important thing is to give this offense to God and be set free. It's not easy. But it's necessary for true freedom and joy.

Let's pray:

Lord, sometimes we can't see past our anger to even think about forgiveness. In those times, help us to call on You to take our pain on Your shoulders. Lord, you know. You see what has happened. When You were on the cross, you said, "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing." Help me to remind myself that if this person really knew better, felt the pain I am feeling, there is no way they could treat me this way. Help me to forgive so that I can be free from this poison of hate. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Love, Karen

Photo by Pavel Losevsky, courtesy of

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