View Full Version : Forgiveness
11-02-2007, 07:47 PM
I thought there was a thread on forgiveness, but I couldn't find it. Anyway, there are some nuggets in this article:
Such a Worm as I
I am very thankful for spiritual mentors like Elisabeth Elliot, who has had a tremendous influence on my life. One of the things I appreciate is that she never waters down the message of dying to one’s self, of giving up all rights in deference to Jesus Christ and His will. One of the hardest lessons I have learned is this dying to self. It is a daily process, because I am constantly confronted with the choice of whether or not to hold on to hurts, harbor bitterness, feel resentful, demand my own way, fret, worry, complain, the list could go on and on. Dying to self means giving up how I think things ought to be. Dying to self means being content in whatever circumstances I find myself, and being confident that "all things work together for good." (Romans 8:28 )
Elisabeth Elliot gives the Biblical example of dying to self in dealing with hurt feelings:
1. Give and receive grace.
"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (Colossians 3:12-14)
2. Acknowledge the wrong. Make sure your judgement is based on the Word.
3. Lay down all rights. Forgiveness is the unconditional laying down of the self. (1 Corinthians 6) This includes the desire for vindication, pleasure at the other person’s humiliation, keeping accounts of evil, the right to an apology, and bringing every thought under obedience to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5).
4. What to do for the one who has wronged you:
• If he asks for forgiveness, forgive.
• If he doesn’t, forgive in a private transaction with God.
• Pray for him.
• Confess (anger, hatred, desire for revenge, self-pity.)
• Bless the one who hurt you. Forgive him and bless him! Ask for grace to treat him as if nothing has ever come between you and stand with Christ for him. (Psalm 119:78 )
Wow, that’s a tall order! But to do anything less is to be disobedient to Christ, and will only lead to our own misery and stagnation. Our obedience will not only benefit us, it will also benefit those who have hurt us. We need to give grace to one another. None of us are perfect and if we have the close relationships with one another that God calls us to, we will have misunderstandings, we will have failures, we will mess up. But incredibly God can use all of these to help us grow, if we respond to them in a proper way. "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." (Proverbs 27:17)
If we are not careful, our feelings or emotions can stand in the way of our obedience. In forsaking myself, I must also die to my emotions and feelings. That is not to deny they exist, they are God-given, but we must resist the temptation to be ruled by them. Elisabeth Elliot says of emotions, "The discipline of emotions is the training of responses . . . When, in the face of powerful temptation to do wrong, there is the swift, hard renunciation – I will not – it will be followed by the sudden loosening of the bonds of self, the yes to God that lets in sunlight, sets us singing and all freedom’s bells clanging for joy."
11-03-2007, 03:33 AM
I read your quoted 'nuggets' there (no time to read the entire article). I agree with it 100%. There is no option to harbour unforgiveness or resentment when we know Christ. You simply are not allowed, how can we? I admit that it is sometimes worse than hard to do. For me its been about surrendering to Him. Dealing with the negative emotions and not bottling them up, is important but its only part of the process. If you let those hurting emotions get in the way of God's grace in difficult situations you simply miss out on so much. Words cant describe the blessings we recieve when we forgive, love despite the pain. Bittersweet is the only word I can think of but it doesnt come close. I dont mean tangeable, physical blessings, even tho He looks after our needs. Im talking about spiritual blessings, peace, joy (which I seriously doubted was possible in certain difficulties Ive faced), LOVE grows. Its amazing.
11-03-2007, 08:43 AM
Thanks for those Madre. It is a lesson that I seem to keep learning again and again and again. I am always amazed at the freedom, the joy and the blessings that result when I do it God's way! Thanks! :)
11-04-2007, 08:44 AM
"He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for every one has need to be forgiven."
~ George Herbert
11-08-2007, 10:14 PM
Thanks for the reminder,Madre, that 'dying to self IS part of the Christian life. i too often gloss over that part.
I heard a quote the other day "Forgiveness sets a prisoner free.... and that prisoner is the forgiver". So true! We are mostly hurting ourselves if we refuse to forgive.
12-03-2007, 08:29 AM
Three Greek words for forgiveness:
Aphiemi-to send away, dismiss, set free...to remit the punishment where the guilty person is dealth with as if he were innocent. (Luke. 17:3-4)
Charizomni-to do a person a favor, be kind to...to graciously remit a person's debt or sin; hence, to pardon, forgive graciously. (Ep. 4:32)
Apoulou-to let loose from, to loosen, to unbind, set at liberty...a debtor, hence, overlook, forgive. (Luke 6:37; 7:32)
12-03-2007, 09:41 AM
Yesterday the message was on forgiveness. Here are a few gleanings:
Forgiveness is not feeling good about feeling bad.
Forgiveness is not forgetting. You forgive, but may have to draw a boundary.
Forgiveness is not a choice, but a series of choices. You forgive, but when a thought (or some other reminder) comes up, you have to forgive again.
View the one you need to forgive like an enemy. (Call a spade a spade.) Don't forgive and ignore, but seek to bless and love.
Forgiveness is releasing prisoners from your heart.
07-17-2008, 01:03 PM
Thank you for this. It couldn't of come at a more crucial time for me!
07-18-2008, 10:44 AM
forgiveness is a hard topic for me as well.
my family and I live with my FIL, and it is a difficult situation.
I will not go into details here, but I have a hard time with forgiving when it comes to FIL.
Thanks for the thread!
07-19-2008, 10:36 PM
We are currently living with my father in law as well, and I found this topic to be extremely relevant in relation to that as well!
07-27-2008, 09:30 PM
Today at church we had a guest speaker--Chris Brown.
He was awesome! He had such a fervor for Christ that I've never seen.
He spoke from his heart, not a piece of paper. He spoke of forgiveness, love, mercy and grace--God's gifts to us through Jesus Christ.
To anyone who isn't saved I'll bet he could turn your deaf ear to Jesus! For those of us who are, it's like a wake up call--get your Jesus on people!
WOW! what a message he had!
"With Jesus in your heart, nothing else should matter."
God's forgiveness, grace and mercy extends to everyone...the choice is about love not fear...by loving and obeying God and accepting His gift of grace He gave to us on that cross through Jesus Christ!
Love/forgiveness is a choice! Jesus willingly went to the cross to die for us!
The Bible is full of people who had sinned (whatever that sin was) and were then given mercy & grace by God and forgiven.
If God then could forgive a murderer, who are we NOT to forgive?
07-29-2008, 09:31 AM
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."
~ Lewis B. Smedes
08-27-2008, 12:16 PM
"To err is human, to forgive is divine." And to not forgive is the most stupid thing we can do.
Forgiveness is very hard. It means letting go of something that someone "owes" you. Forgiveness is freedom from the past; it is freedom from the abusive person who hurt you.
The Bible compares forgiving people to releasing them from a legal debt. When a debt is incurred, when people trespass on your personal property, real "owing" occurs. You have on the "books" of your soul an accounting of who owes you what. Your mother controlled you and owes you to make it right. Your father dominated you and owes you to make it right. If you are "under the law," you are motivated to collect these debts from them.
Attempts at collection may take many forms. You may try to please them to help them pay you back. You think that if you do a little something more, they will pay their bill and give you the love they owe. Or you may think that if you confront them enough, they will see their wrong and make it right. Or you may feel that if you convince enough people of how bad you've had it and how bad your parents were, that will somehow clear the account. Or you could "take it out" on someone else, repeating the sin they did to you on someone else--or on them--to even the score. Or you could continue to try and convince them of how bad they are. You think that if they just understood, they would make it better. They would pay what they owe.
Nothing is wrong with wanting things to be resolved. The problem is that things will get resolved in only one way: with grace and forgiveness. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth does not work. The wrong can never be undone. But it can be forgiven and thereby rendered powerless.
To forgive means to write it off. Let it go. Tear up the account. It is to render the account "canceled." Having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross" (Col. 2:14).
~ from Boundaries, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
09-15-2008, 11:42 AM
"Many Christians have allowed an incident in the past to continue to steal abundant life from them in moments that stretch into days and then years. One who allows this to happen is dancing with the devil, whose plan is to steal not just one moment, but the whole life!
Many have relinquished the present moment through unforgiveness; though they took place several years ago, memorable encounters may have access into their minds at any instant, stealing peace and joy. In unforgiveness the enemy has at his disposal a powerful tool to take life. We are reminded that love never keeps a list of wrongs, and those who walk in unforgiveness are rebels in the Kingdom of God, where love is not optional."
~ Michael Wells, Sidetracked in the Wilderness
09-18-2008, 07:14 AM
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
10-19-2008, 10:27 AM
"If I say, 'Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget,’ as though the God, who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love."
~ Amy Carmichael
"I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note--torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one."
~ Henry Ward Beecher
10-19-2008, 10:41 AM
I had this thought of picturing those you haven't forgiven as being in a prison cell. You can see them behind bars and your forgiveness will release the prisoners. However, those "behind the bars" are also looking through bars and seeing you. So, really, the one who is in prison is the unforgiver. This quote bears this out:
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."
~ Lewis B. Smedes
10-22-2009, 08:48 AM
Thank you for taking the time to continue this thread. I have been struggling and have taken alot from these posts.
10-22-2009, 08:52 AM
I'm so glad you joined us, BookworMom!
06-19-2010, 08:08 PM
From Andree Seu at World Magazine:
Have you ever been really stuck? Stuck in a stronghold? Like there is but a step between you and an insane asylum? No time for theoretical theology?
All theology should be practical anyway. The doctrine that God loves you and thinks about you (Psalm 40:17) is the most practical and least theoretical of them all; it colors your attitude all day long and puts a spring in your step. It’s like going off to work in the morning knowing that your husband digs you, versus going off to work in the morning knowing your husband doesn’t love you.
Specifically, have you ever been stuck in bitterness and unforgiveness? I have. Here is the most practical and hopeful counsel I have received on the subject (drum roll, please):
Forgiveness is not a feeling that leads to an action. Forgiveness is an action that leads to a feeling.
Why is this the light at the end of my tunnel of gloom? Because as long as I thought forgiveness was a feeling, I was doomed. I could do nothing about a feeling. Thinking positive thoughts could not carry me all the way. But if forgiveness is an action that leads to a feeling, then I have hope because an action is doable. It’s doable because Jesus commands me to do it. It’s that portion of human behavior that falls within the realm of volition. To perform it, even with pained feelings, is not hypocrisy but obedience.
As a primer for performing this act of forgiveness, it helps to understand the spiritual mechanics of the situation: When someone has sinned against you—say he has gossiped about you or physically hurt you or emotionally abused you—he has in fact stolen from you. Whether he has stolen your reputation or your health or your joy, he has robbed you of something. There has been a spiritual “crime.” There is a debt, and someone has to pay it. (Of course, Jesus paid it all, so now we are just children dickering over nickels and dimes while our Savior shelled out billions.)
Now you hold a bill for damages in your hand, spiritually speaking. The way of the world is to exact those damages somehow, to take it out of the person’s hide in kind. This can be done in any number of creative ways: You can be cold to the offending person every time you meet; you can be demanding or hostile or ignore him or be verbally abusive or slice away at that person’s reputation in many a conversation. You can even do it with a veneer of righteousness, “sharing” your concerns about that person with others.
These are all ways of exacting “payments” to recoup the debt that person owes you for stealing your joy or health or reputation or childhood or whatever.
The practical counsel I received on this is that there is another way: You can pay the debt yourself! You say, “Boo!” This is precisely the thing you do not want to do. But wait! This is the way out! The debt is there anyway and is going to stay there until somebody pays it. If you pay it yourself, you can get rid of it and go on with your life. Your feelings will tag along and be healed. Here is how it’s done:
You make payments on the debt whenever you see the other person and resist the temptation to do something retaliatory—like be cold or mean or ignore him. Instead, you conduct yourself kindly toward him. It hurts like the dickens, and that pain is whittling down the debt.
You make payments on the debt whenever you resist the temptation to gossip about the person to someone else. What you wanted to dole out verbally you suck up internally. It hurts like the dickens, and that pain is whittling down the debt.
This is nothing more than what Paul meant when he talked about “carrying around in the body the dying of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 4:10), and what Jesus meant when he talked about taking up your cross (Luke 9:23).
Do that enough times and eventually you have paid down the whole debt. You discover the biblical principle that feelings follow actions, rather than actions following feelings. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a whole book about it (The Cost of Discipleship). He wrote, if you’re not sure you believe in Christ, obey him anyway and you will believe. He went so far as to say that the only one who can believe is the one who obeys.
One of the criticisms on yesterday's post was that I had said an abused person should “get over it.” In fact, I did not say that. I said “we should not let them get away with it.” Very different. God gives us principles and power and we give genuine hope by not letting people get away with not using them. They are life to the soul and healing to the body.
01-07-2011, 10:57 AM
"Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die."
~ Anne Lamott