LEARN ABOUT FORGIVENESS!
A most important lesson
To forgive others is an essential step to take because without forgiving others, the Bible says God will not forgive us.
Unforgiveness is a sure ticket many of the negative factors directly attributed to unforgiveness.
What is worse is that it leaves you in an unforgiven, bitter state. To be able to forgive begins with acknowledging forgiveness as the necessary step required in recovery. The significant focus of this lesson is to forgive others in order that God can forgive you.
1. Jeremiah 30:17: offers a promise: ‘For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,‘ says the LORD.
God wants to restore you in every aspect of your life, your health, and your emotions.
He wants to set you free more than you want to be free. A fundamental step in the process of personal restoration is to forgive those who have sinned against us.
We call this step ‘letting go of the past.’ Many of us have a misconception of exactly what forgiveness is.
We are told we should forgive and forget, but how can we erase painful memories of any kind?
We know that every detail of our life is permanently recorded in our memory and there are any number of triggers that can cause those memories to resurface.
Someone once said ‘the challenge is not to forgive and forget, but to be able to forgive while we still remember.
Many of us believe that forgiveness is accompanied by a ‘feeling’ of release.
This may not be so, especially right at first. Forgiveness is a personal choice that we make to obey God, regardless how we feel.
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Without forgiveness we run the risk of not being forgiven by God.
Read Matthew 6:14-15. If God has so graciously forgiven us, what are we responsible for doing? We are commanded, by our Lord, to forgive others who have wronged us. Sometimes this is a difficult thing, especially if the wound has been devastating to our lives.
But we MUST FORGIVE OTHERS, for our own emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. Forgive others of their offenses and release all anger and bitterness to the Lord. Again, this is a process. This is an act of your will not a ‘feeling.’ II Corinthians 5:7 tells us we are to ‘walk by faith, not by sight.’
CHOOSING TO FORGIVE IS AN ACT ‘OF THE SPIRIT’ in obedience to God’s perfect will which results in repentance, patience, gentleness, kindness, peace, temperance, love, encouragement, concern for others, and hope.
FORGIVENESS BRINGS YOU LIFE!
REFUSING TO FORGIVE IS AN ACT ‘OF THE FLESH’ in disobedience to God’s perfect will which results in self-pity, anger, resentment, bitterness, self-justification, rage, revenge, hatred, depression, discouragement, despondency, and despair.
UNFORGIVENESS DESTROYS YOUR LIFE
Read Hebrews 12:14-15: Bitter Root Judgements Too often we believe we have forgiven someone when in fact we hold on to deep-rooted judgements, criticisms, and bitterness against the individual.
Some of our anger and bitterness was formed as a child because of our parents. Unforgiveness and judging others is the same just as forgiveness and love are the same.
Unforgiveness is rooted in a self-focus instead of a focus on what is good, right, and pure. It says, ‘I deserve to be bitter and angry.’
However, it keeps you bound to a ‘victim’ mentality and keeps you from being an overcomer.
What does this principle of SOWING AND REAPING mean in my life? a. Read Galatians 6:7-8. What do these verses say to me? What we REAP we will SOW!
b. Read Luke 6:37-38. What do these verses mean to me? Highlight these verses in your Bible.
How does this principle of reciprocity apply to unforgiveness or roots of bitterness in your life?
Forgiveness is a CHOICE.
It’s a CHOICE I MAKE
It’s a CHOICE I MAKE TO OBEY GOD
Without forgiveness you set yourself up for many consequences whereas choosing to forgive as an act of your will to obey Christ Jesus, you set yourself up for blessings and healing.
What are common consequences associated with unforgiveness?
5. Insensitivity or over-sensitivity
Unforgiveness also contributes to:
1. Judgmental Spirit
2. Unforgiving Spirit
4. Separation from God
6. Criticism / Gossip
8. Controlling Spirit
9. Unable to be forgiven by God
10. Bitter Root judgementalism
Can you see that by holding bitterness, judgment and unforgiveness essentially keeps you trapped?
You have received both the offender and his/her offense into your heart and are holding onto it tightly!
This binds you like glue to your offender. In doing so, the enemy has you just where he wants you.
If you choose to do the unexpected – forgive your offender. You are free of him and what he has done to you.
You can be free of the past and its pain. Then you will be in a position to receive the full benefits of God’s blessings into your life.
Can you forgive those who have hurt you?
Earlier, you completed a page called WHO DO I BLAME. This page will be used as a prayer guide to begin releasing and forgiving those who have hurt you.
As you address those you hold unforgiveness toward, you should also identify any BITTER ROOT JUDGMENTS you hold toward others.
This is a necessary step that you MUST take in order for your healing to be complete. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be able to forgive your list of offenders.
What does God do with my sin?
Look up and read these next seven verses. Look for the answers after you have read the verses in your Bible.
Micah 7:19. What does God do with my own sin?
Psalm 103:1-10. What promises do I read in these verses?
Psalm 103:10-12. Where does God put my sin when He deals with it?
Isaiah 38: 17b. How does Isaiah say that God removed his sins?
Psalm 25:7. David is crying to God for mercy. In his prayer, he expresses something very important. He says that his sin is remembered NO MORE.
Isaiah 43:25. What does God say about Himself and my sin?
Hebrews 8:12. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Hebrews 10:17. “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Consider this: If God does not remember your sin and casts sin behind His back as far as the east is from the west, never to remember it again, what would be a logical step for you to take to make a prayer of forgiveness a meaningful and tangible experience?
What steps can I take to activate forgiveness in my life?
Use a group of small stones and a bag of some kind to hold the stones. Transfer each name listed on your offender’s list to an individual rock. Next, put the “named” rock into your “bitterness bag.” that your caregiver will provide. If you are not participating in a group just use or use a grocery sack. You may be thinking, however, “BUT I DON’T HAVE THE STRENGTH OR DESIRE TO FORGIVE THEM” You might say they don’t deserve to be forgiven. It is human to want to seek revenge, but you might want to read what God has to say about it.
What does God say here about vengeance?
VENGEANCE IS MINE-(NOT _YOURS!)_
If vengeance truly belongs to God, then what can you do enable you to forget about getting even or seeking revenge on those who have hurt you. If you can’t forgive someone, pray the following prayer:
“Dear Father God, I need your help to see my violator as you see them. Let me see them through the eyes of your mercy. In Jesus Name I pray.
Seven factors about what forgiveness is
a. Choosing to not dwell on the offense myself.
b. Releasing all claim on the debt owed me.
c. To be granted from the heart.
d. Giving my offender what he/she needs instead of what he/she deserves.
e. Acknowledging that I have suffered a loss or hurt without demanding revenge.
f. A continuous life-style; not a one-time action
g. Not a keeping of wrongdoing (* John 20:23, Matt. 6:14-15; 18:34-35)
The best way to complete this exercise is to go to a local body of water: pond, lake, ocean, stream.
Then stand with your back to the water. Take each stone out of the bag one at a time. ‘
Pray over it and don’t vent your anger, which would violate scripture, but model your action after that of God.
Cast it behind your back into the water symbolizing God casting your sin into the sea
Don’t let go of the rock until you can consciously make the choice to quit blaming the person.
This means that as an act of your will you choose to obey Jesus Christ.
Then when you cast it over your shoulder, you don’t see where it lands and you can’t go back and get it.
Too often we forgive and then retrieve it back.
That’s like throwing out our garbage and then chasing after it to retrieve it.
Finish this exercise as best you can.
The goal is to empty your bag of stones through specific forgiveness of each violator.
Once you have emptied your anger bag of every stone, think about how you feel.
When we forgive others, it lifts a major load off of ourselves because as we have forgiven others, it has cleared the way for God to forgive us.
Did you sense a release when you emptied your bag of stones?
Do you now have a less angry feeling about the person(s) that hurt you?
Is there one particular stone you could not throw away?
NEXT: Renouncing My Hidden Things of Shame!