Tuesday, November 27, 2012

the Heart of Forgiveness

I know I didn't use the proper grammatical techniques in writing the title of this post. It was intentional. It is very easy to point out the faults in others. It is just as easy to justify not extending grace to someone that has offended you .

In this life there are going to be offenses; some larger than others. Some offenses are easier to forgive than others. However we must not "find a way to deal with it" but actually get to a place of Forgiveness.

Forgiveness is such a big word for our small hearts. The word forgive is found 56 times in the KJV scriptures. That is at least one per week with 4 to spare. Would you not agree that is an indicator of its importance?

The ability to forgive is not found exclusively within ourselves. It is found in Christ and our identity in him and him in us. We aren't able to comprehend with our own minds how the love of God when allowed to permeate through us can be so effective. It may be said that some are just born with the gift of mercy while others continue to struggle with extending it. (These are the people that tend to be able to love the most unlovable and forgive easily.) True Forgiveness is usually wrapped in grace and mercy which can only be found in unconditional love, the kind of love that can only flow from God.

Forgiveness cost. It cost God his one and only Son.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16 (KJV)
For you and I it may cost us our pride. The need to be in control must be released to the power of love, God's Love.

1 Corinthians 13 is the LOVE chapter. It with clarity tells us what unconditional love looks like.
"Love never gives up. Love care more for others that for self...doesn't keep score of the sin of others...takes pleasure in the flowering truth, put with anything, trust God always. Always looks for the best , never looks back but keeps moving forward."(Msg)

Forgiveness makes us vulnerable; therefore pride cannot take part in it. It makes us vulnerable to actually feeling the pain of the trespasses of others. It also makes us vulnerable to truly see, receive and care for the trespasser as they really are. I makes us susceptible to accepting them as imperfect humans as we ourselves are. It takes away our "right" to hold them in the prison we have created for them. Instead it provides the perfect opportunity to love them and extend to them the same mercy and grace that was freely extended towards you and I so many times before. Remember Matthew 18: 21-35?

But you say "How?"
The scripture says because,"I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."Philippians 4:13(KJV)

Forgiveness is easy when you are able to offer it wrapped in unconditional love (God's Love). The more you give it the greater the reward.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is  very large word.
Mentioned 56 times in scripture and expressed as something we should continually practice.
It was asked of Jesus in Matt 18:21 how many times should one forgive the same person...his response was,"I say not up to seven times, but seventy times seven." In other words not when you and I  think it is enough. No, for you have not even entered into extending grace towards your offender. He goes on to give us further insight with the man whose debt was forgiven but he himself didn't forgive his debtors.
God expects us to extend the same grace (unearned favor). In this case it's forgiveness.
When we choose not to exercise forgiveness, it becomes  an unnoticed distraction. It's weight can be burdensome. It can even be a source of illness. It's reward is bondage, not only the offender but you as well. Do you realize to stand in unforgiveness is to stand as an offender?
God knew that  this would be a challenge for us that's why the conditions to not forgive are so firm. He tells us several times over than without exercising forgiveness, forgiveness will not be extended towards you (His forgiveness) Matt.18:35. He will not even hear you (receive you request) until you do, Mark 11:25.
God in his great love for us came incarnated to die for our sins (the sins of the world) that we might be forgiven, how do we not extend it to others. It usually doesn't cost you your natural life. It may cost you your pride! But you gain freedom in exchange!