The next several spiritual Nuggets will be on the topic of Forgiveness. Some of the information will be from the book "Choosing Forgiveness" by John & Paula Sandford and Lee Bowman. If you have joined our mailing list in the middle of this topic, you can go to Previous Nuggets to read archives.
FORGIVENESS–OPTION OR NECESSITY
If we are to be happy, healthy, and grow in relationships with others, forgiveness is not an option, it is a necessity.
God gives us ability to make choices, but we must live with the results of our choosing. We can be stuck with unforgiveness forever and be miserable, or we can choose to forgive and enjoy the benefits of freedom it brings.
"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15 (Note, there is nothing in these verses about the person repenting first.)
Laws of God
Just as we know that certain laws of physics are unalterably true and predictable, so we should understand that God has spiritual laws which are true and predictable.
The principle of sowing and reaping is one of God's absolute laws. If we sow judgment, we will reap judgment. If we sow blessing, we will reap blessing. If we sow unforgiveness, we will reap the same.
"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins." Mark 11:25-26 (Note, there is nothing in these verses about the person repenting first.)
Love and Forgiveness
Many people are reluctant to take the first step of choosing to forgive, believing that if they follow the path of forgiveness they will become weaklings who are consistently taken advantage of by others. This is not what forgiveness, grounded in love, is about. True love encourages a compassionate willingness to forgive, yet retains the strength of conviction that all parties must be fully accountable of their own decisions and behavior. Forgiveness grounded in true love is not a soft and naive yielding that excuses almost any kind of abuse people might direct at us. Note: Forgiveness is not based upon if the person deserves forgiveness. None of us deserve forgiveness.
Love and Accountability
We cannot demand another persons repentance, and we seldom can establish a level of consequence that represents justice for their infractions.
Forgiveness is not the same as pardoning. To pardon is to end all judgment, to lift away all due reaping for sowing. This is up to God.
Expressing love inevitably pushes us to crises of decision:
Enabling power of the Lord Jesus Christ
It is Jesus Christ who makes forgiveness possible, because it is He who conquered sin and death.
You may say "I have tried and tried to forgive, but I just can't seem to get it done." If we think it is up to us to accomplish forgiveness through our striving, we will never "get it done." We must understand that forgiveness comes through what the Lord Jesus Christ has already accomplished. he has taken that burden from us and through His grace we can forgive, even when by the standards of our human emotion it seems virtually impossible.
If we want to claim the richness and freedom of relationship with God and with others that comes with being forgiven of our sins by our Heavenly Father, we must seek to forgive others of the sins they commit against us.
Our next nugget will be on "Choosing Forgiveness".
To the world, you may just be somebody...but to somebody, you may be the world.
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