(Inspired by Pastor Dave Bowman of New Horizon Church)
Scripture references: Ephesians 4:26-27, 32; Hebrews 12:15; Galatians 5:13-15; Romans 12:19; Luke 23:34; Matthew 6:14-15; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13; 1 John 4:20; 1 John 1:9
God is not like Ebay or other websites that only give you a certain number of chances to correctly type in your password.
God gives us chance after chance after chance. He does this so that we can give someone else in our world another chance too.
Beware of unforgiveness.
Someone might have hurt you, but don’t let anger take hold of you for too long.
“Unforgiveness is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.”
Unforgiveness does not hurt the other person; it hurts you. Sometimes the other person is totally oblivious to the fact that you are still mad at them, but you’re only hurting yourself by holding on to bitterness and resentment.
Bitterness corrupts good relationships.
God does not set us free just so we can do whatever we want to do. He sets us free so that we can serve Him and our neighbors in love.
We have to make the choice to let the situation go, let the person go, and/or let the anger go.
There is such freedom in forgiveness.
Someone might have hurt us, but that pales in comparison to how we hurt God in our cosmic rebellion against Him by sinning. Still God loves us and takes care of us each day.
We are to respond to people in love, not hatred.
We can respond to someone hurting us in different ways:
1 - We can respond with payback. In reality, we never get “it” back.
2 - We can use guilt trip. “I forgive you, but you must know that I still feel bad about it.” (Jesus does not guilt-trip us. He forgives us and removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.)
3 - We can over-trust. In other words, we can forgive the person, and allow them the room to hurt us again and again. (Forgiveness does not necessarily mean you trust the person. Trust is built up over time, but it can be torn down in a second.) It is ok to protect yourself from being hurt again by the person.
4 - Or we can choose to forgive like Jesus. (He does not put our sins in our face over and over again. Praise God!)
If we are not careful, we can end up putting standards on other people that are different from the standards we put on ourselves. (“Well you know, if you really knew MY story, you’d give me a free pass on not forgiving them on that issue…” as if forgiveness is for others to do, but not “me.”)
To forgive is not merely an option, it is a command.
Jesus knows what it feels like to be betrayed, abandoned, and rejected. What do you do when the hands you created are beating you, slapping you, pushing down a crown of thorns on your head, and nailing you to a cross?
On the Cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Even on the Cross, Jesus had the strength to pray for our forgiveness. Surely we can forgive those who have hurt us.
I just want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can for Jesus Christ.