In the world but not of it

March 29, 2010

Forgiveness…

Filed under: Uncategorized — In the world but not of it @ 5:00 am

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.  Matthew 18:21-22

There is a story of how Louis XII of France treated his enemies after he ascended to the throne. Before coming to power, he had been cast into prison and kept in chains. Later when he did become king, he was urged to seek revenge but he refused. Instead, he prepared a scroll on which he listed all who had perpetrated crimes against him. Behind every man’s name he placed a cross in red ink. When the guilty heard about this, they feared for their lives and fled. Then the king explained, “The cross which I drew beside each name was not a sign of punishment, but a pledge of forgiveness extended for the sake of the crucified Savior, who upon His cross forgave His enemies and prayed for them.”

We cannot calculate the grace of God toward us, therefore as Christians we are in a position to never hold un-forgiveness against anyone. Yet, the truth is we are much more unforgiving then we would ever dare to admit. There are some things we need to understand about forgiveness…

First, forgiveness has very little to do with our feelings.

Forgiveness is not a feeling at all. It is a choice you make, which may go against every self-centered part of your being. We might still “feel” angry and bitter when we have made the choice to forgive but we need to ask God to do the supernatural in our lives and by the power of His Holy Spirit enable us to forgive and move on.

Second, forgiveness releases the other person and lifts the burden of guilt. By forgiving it means remembering the person’s sin no more – never naming it again to the person, to others, or to yourself.

As Dwight Moody once said “Forgiveness is not that stripe which says, “I will forgive, but not forget.” It is not to bury the hatchet with the handle sticking out of the ground, so you can grasp it the minute you want it”.

Another way to say it is “When you bury the hatchet, don’t bury it in your neighbor’s back”

When you don’t forgive, you are effectively saying, “I no longer want to be like Christ.”

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