Live to Forgive
In this lesson we are going to go read what the bible says about forgiveness, how it has to do with a decision and not an emotion and how Forgiveness is Freedom.
We've all at one time in our life have experienced hurt, pain, heartache, anger; unfortunately, as imperfect humans, we will continue to be put in situations where:
1) we will experience hurt caused by others and
2) yet also be the ones to cause harm to others (unintentionally, unknowingly, and perhaps knowingly)
The Bible story of Joseph and his brothers found in Genesis 37, 42-45 is a great example of forgiveness.
21 - When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
22 - I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
23 - Yet I am always with you; you hold me by your right hand.
24 - You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 - Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 - My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Let’s reflect and walk through each verse.
Looking at verse 21 - What does a grieved heart and embittered spirit look like?
Reflection: When I was with a grieved heart and with an embittered spirit, I was senseless and ignorant. So being embittered does not help your intelligence either. When we are angry, resentful, bitter, under negative emotions, they take over us and we don't think straight. This makes us more vulnerable to look for things to validate that bitterness to ease the injustice felt.
Let's read verse 21 and 22, and now reread, "I was a brute beast before you"...
Reflection: I was that way to God. It's a bit of a confession, when something made me angry, I was senseless where I acted in an animalistic (anger/rage) primal way towards God. Not a spiritual way, not a way with right thinking or with Godly results.
Let's read verse 23.
Reflection: Even though I am resentful, bitter, stupid, ignorant, and I am treating God like a beast, which would be a very disrespectful way I am treating God. I am behaving towards God in all the wrong ways, I am not living up to my potential as I should be. I am not being a good follower of God, "Yet I am always with you, you hold me by your right hand." God in his great mercy still held my hand while I was miserable to be with.
Q. What makes people be unbitter?
A. You have to melt a bitter heart with returning it with Love. Jesus talks alot about love in the bible. You cant attack or confront a bitter person.
Lets read verse 24
Reflection: so not does God only hold my hand, God gives me good advice and receive me glory, even though my actions were unhonorable, God is not ashamed of me as he took me into his glory. He doesn't put judgement upon me, He doesn't condemn me, He continues to receive me which says a lot about God.
Lets read verse 25
Reflection: this is just talking more about how Great is our God, our Lord God is the only one. People desire God. God is the object of my heart's desire
Lets read verse 26
Reflection: I am human, I don't always live up to my best but God is my strength, so God builds me up
Notice in verse 21, "my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered" and now in the end verse 26 - "God is my strength of my heart." So the grieved bittered heart becomes a strong heart. God melts hearts. God changes hearts. We have a wonderful and amazing God.
These verses should remind us that if God can still hold our hand and guide us and take us into His glory even when we are at our worst with Him. We need to be the same way towards others who has caused us hurt, anger, resentment. We need to Live to Forgive like our God.
Strategy for Forgiveness
1. Write down the Pain/HURT that you are currently keeping harbored in your heart and mind, having trouble letting go and fold the paper.
2. Close your eyes and take 1 minute to Grieve and Process the Pain
3. Remember God's Forgiveness; how Jesus died on the cross, He already paid for those sins and for the sin of our anger/bitterness we may be holding onto.
1 John 2:1-2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. but if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
4. Release the Pain, release them from your punishment.
"Do not repay anyone evil for evil" - Romans 12:17
"Do not take revenge" -Romans 12:19
5. Keeping Forgiving, remember when we don't forgive, we are the one who suffers
When we forgive, we are tearing up the IOU's from somebody, remember God has his IOU's on you too.
Romans 3:23 says for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God therefore "it keeps no record of wrongs" - 1 Corinthians 13:5
"Do to others as you would have them do to you." - Luke 6:31
"Live in harmony with one another" - Romans 12:16
"live at peace with everyone" - Romans 12:18
"Do not judge, and you will be not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." - Luke 6:37
6. Pray Thanksgiving to Jesus for dying on the cross for us, covering our sins, for forgiving our sins when we've caused hurt/disappointment to God and those whom we may caused harm to, whether deliberately or unknowingly
7. Pray for the one who wronged you.
"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins"
- Matthew 6:14-15
"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
- Mark 11:25-26
"forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you" - Ephesians 4:32
8. Pray to invite the Holy Spirit to help us, fill us up, to allow us to push the anger/hurt/bitterness out of our heart, mind and lives and give it to the cross and put it back on Jesus as we choose Freedom, peace, love, and joy of forgiving myself and others.
but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay". says the Lord - Romans 12:19
Let's try to just "Let it Go and Let God" handle it. When you pray with resentment and unforgiveness in your heart; that can be a barrier to why some prayers go unanswered.
No Record of Wrongs
You know that person who injured your spirit, child? The one who said those hateful things and let you down? You know that individual against whom you held a grudge for too long? Consider letting the bitterness go today. Forgiveness is a choice. It may not come easy. You may pick up that resentment again tomorrow and have to try forgiveness again. But it is always a choice.
Just as the father ran to meet his prodigal son, reach out in forgiveness to the person who hurt you. Harboring hatred does nothing for you or for the other person. If your pride keeps you from forgiving, it is time to lay down your pride, child.
Love keeps no record of wrongs, even really bad ones. Even the wrongs that sting your very soul. When you let them go, you will find healing.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." LUKE 15:20
LETTING GO OF UNFORGIVENESS
Father, I know unforgiveness is a hindrance to answered prayer. And I realize I must forgive those who have wounded and betrayed me. Your Word tells me to bless and pray for those who mistreat me (see Luke 6:28). But my pain is so deep; please, God, give me Your strength to obey You. I refuse to listen when the enemy bombards my mind with memories of the hurts and betrayals I've experienced. So, Lord, as an act of my will - not my emotions -- I choose to forgive ___________ (insert name(s)). I also resist the desire to get even, leaving the judgment of this person's actions in Your hands. Jesus, thank You that through Your death and resurrection my sins are forgiven. Thank You for healing these wounds and setting me free by the power of Your blood. I receive Your loving pardon and the peace only You can give, wonderful Savior! Amen.
Bible verses are from NIV translation
Lesson prepared by Redeemed by the Cross
Psalm 73:21-26 Reflection can be found on YouTube by Lord of Grace Church, titled: Pricked in Heart - Psalm 73:21-26
No Record of Wrongs devotion is from the book titled, When Jesus Speaks to a Hurting Heart - Emily Biggers
Prayer: Letting Go of Unforgiveness is from the book titled, Warfare Prayers for Women - Quin Sherrer & Ruthanne Garlock