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Forgiveness is an extremely important issue in the lives of all people. If you have come here, I am sure you know this to be true. Everyone needs forgiveness.
Forgiving others leads to life, both abundant life here and now and eternal life, which will last forever with the LORD. Forgiveness of others is not an option if a person wants to receive
Let's talk first about the flip-side of forgiveness, which of course is unforgiveness.
Have you ever known someone who is so emotionally dried up and bitter that they won't allow anyone "inside" their walls? The cause is usually a deep hurt that has been allowed to remain in the heart. This pain is caused by: unforgiveness.
Unforgiveness leads to death. If a person refuses to forgive they will eventually become a bitter person.
Some people are afraid to enter into the realm of friendship or marriage as a result of an inability to
The worst effect resulting from inability to give forgiveness is the inability to receive forgiveness.
The end point can be a terrifying and harsh existence.
How important is forgiveness?
Here is what JESUS told the disciples after giving them what we like to call the LORD'S Prayer:
Matthew 6:14-15 "If you forgive those who sin against you, your HEAVENLY FATHER will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your FATHER will not forgive your sins."
This may seem a bit harsh. Of course, you are forgiven on the basis of JESUS dying for your sins on the cross. And that is the exact point. JESUS died for you while you were in sin! And your sin was laid on HIS spotless and perfect shoulders at Calvary. HE forgave you so completely that it cost HIM, HIS life!
Now you must be willing to do the same for others. And here is why:
Forgiveness brings freedom. Not just for the person you are not forgiving, but also for y-o-u! That's right. Not forgiving is like taking a chain and wrapping it around y-o-u-r-s-e-l-f and the person y-o-u are refusing to forgive, tying you both together. Nothing can break that chain but an act of y-o-u-r own will. Your will, not your emotions.
If you have been devastated by an act of hatred or evil against you, you may not want to hear this now. But, it is in your best life-long, even eternal, interest to pay close attention here. When you forgive someone who does not deserve it, you free them to have a chance to receive the Gospel. No matter your personal opinion of the person you are having problems with, or not even trying to forgive, from GOD'S standpoint this is extremely important. HE has made the Ultimate Sacrifice to see that all people come to HIM. Think about it, you do not want to face HIM one day and try to explain why you would not follow HIS example and forgive those who have sinned against you.
"I've tried and I can't" is the most common statement spoken by Believers who have been hurt or betrayed by someone very important and close to them. While forgiveness is an act of your will, you need help from the ONE who modeled forgiveness in your behalf.
1. Make a firm decision to forgive! Forgiveness always starts as an act of your will. It never just "happens."
2. Make a decision to keep forgiving. Peter thought 7 times was "very spiritual." Jesus said, "seventy times seven!" The implication is that there is no limit to the number of times a person is to be forgiven. Aren't you glad that you were forgiven, not only by the LORD, but by other people as well. Have you ever counted the number of times in a month that you sin against the LORD? Do you enjoy HIS forgiveness? Aren't all human beings in the same situation, desperately in need of GOD'S and man's forgiveness? Yes, of course, this is the situation as described in the Word of GOD.
3. Be willing to listen to the HOLY SPIRIT and do what HE tells you. Sometimes HE may lead you to go to a person who has sinned against you and inform them that you have forgiven them. At other times, a letter may be sufficient. In some situations, no communication is necessary or not possible between the two of you. You will be directed as to which course to take in any situation by the presence of the HOLY SPIRIT living in you.
4. Please see a Bible-believing Pastor and/or a trained and licensed Biblical Counselor! Every situation is different and experienced counsel can be extremely helpful, even necessary in some situations.
Now, if you are ready, pray this prayer:
"HEAVENLY FATHER, I choose right now to forgive ______________. I refuse to hold them in unforgiveness any longer. HOLY SPIRIT, I ask for YOUR help and I yield to YOUR counsel. Please lead me to the proper steps to heal this situation as quickly as possible. In JESUS Name. Amen
You may 'feel' as though you have to pray more than once. Be sure to remember that forgiveness is not based on emotion, but an act of your will. Once you have prayed to forgive someone, you may still have emotional pain. This is not a sign that you have not forgiven them, but a reality that emotional suffering can go beyond a single prayer. GOD is love and HE will heal your emotions over a period of time.
You are a brave and determined person to have prayed to forgive the one[s] who have sinned against you/ A brave person to face your torment head on, and a determined person to do what is right both for yourself and for the one you chose to forgive. GOD will prove HIMSELF strong and powerful in your behalf. Be encouraged Follower of JESUS!
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