The Path, Power, and Freedom of Forgiveness
Relational Wholeness in the body of Christ is our non-negotiable goal
The most powerful force for emotional health and relational wholeness is the power of forgiveness
Forgiveness– Why it is crucial
1 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him,‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
We are tormented when we don’t forgive
The person that offended stays with us wherever we go
Our unforgiveness overflows to our other relationships
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes
Our inability to give forgiveness to others is a clear indication that we are not able to receive forgiveness ourselves. Receiving and giving forgiveness are inseparably linked
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Forgiveness means to release another from their legitimate debt – it is costly because the offended resolves the hurt by love and releases the offender without making them suffer.
Forgiveness frees both the forgiver and the forgiven
To live in unforgiveness is to live in chains.
Forgiveness– What it is and what it isn’t
Forgiveness is giving up my right to make you pay the debt you owe me, and turning that debt over to God to deal with as he sees fit. It means I am now free, and the offense no longer is an issue between us.
Forgiveness is not denial or minimizing the offense.
35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
Forgiveness from the heart means we connect fully with the pain. Without facing the pain, our forgiveness will be superficial. But having connected fully with the pain, we can choose to fully release the debt to God.
“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead,forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” -Lewis B. Smedes
Forgiveness is a choice of the will.
Many people are stuck, waiting for a certain feeling before they can forgive. Feelings often follow the choice to forgive, but the act of forgiveness is a choice independent from any particular feeling.
“We do have a choice. We can hold on to bitterness and resentment, or we can chose to cling to God’s peace. Resentment and peace cannot co-exist. They cannot live in the same house. Divorce the one from the other. Let go of hatred and you will be on your way toward forgiveness.” –Training manual, Oceanside Healing Center
Forgiveness is not saying I trust the offender. Forgiveness is freely given, trust is earned.
Forgiveness does not say there are no consequences to the offense.
Forgiveness – How to do it
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Realize and Feel there is an offense
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to clarify the offense
Identify the offense
Be real about the cost of the offense
Choose to forgive and be free
The sizeof the debt is irrelevant
This is a crisis of obedience -- God would not command us to do something He doesn’t enable us to do.
Be sincere with God about the offense
Verbally. “I forgive you for [what you did]…” Not just a generic “I forgive you.”
Release the person from owing you anything for the offense
Turn the debt over to God.
Ask God to forgive you for living in unforgiveness until now
Forgive yourself – one of the most difficult things to do
Begin to pray blessings for the offender
Be honest with God – do I have anything against Him for not “protecting me”?
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.