Three Sources for Forgiveness

Each of us have experienced wounds in our lives, which were caused by other people. Sometimes these actions were accidental and other times they were purposeful acts driven by the wicked sin nature that resides in everyone.

Freedom from these wounds can only occur through forgiveness. Forgiveness is not based on the works that a person does so as to earn it. Otherwise it would not be forgiveness, but instead the payment of debt that was met. Forgiveness means to send, to leave or to put away. When a person forgives, they are breaking the tie between themselves and the person who sinned against them. In other words, they are leaving it or letting it go.

What gives a person the ability to forgive or release someone from a debt against them? There are three sources: the source of pain, the source of mercy and the source of one’s love for God.

Countless people have been hurt by someone and after carrying the burden of hurt for so long, finally decided to forgive the offender and let the issue go from their lives. This decision resulted from their pain. It was not caused by faith or any virtue, but merely from pain and the desire to be free from the source of it.

The two other sources for forgiveness are the spiritual virtues of mercy and love. It is by these virtues that the Psalmist petitions God for forgiveness. (Psalm 51:1) Forgiving out of mercy comes from recognizing the struggle of the offender and reaching out to them in forgiveness because of it. The forgiveness is not condoning the wrong, but recognizes the person’s fallen state and releases them from personal debt because of it. Those forgiving out of the source of mercy have insight into the needs of the offender and are moved to meet that need. This type of forgiveness occurs most often among friends, family and spouses, but will also be manifested towards others by individuals filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.

The final source of power for forgiving is love for God. The pain a person has may continue to hurt and never get to the point where it moves them to forgive, let go or move on and they may never develop the insight necessary to forgive in mercy. These occasions require another motive or source for forgiving and this source is love or specifically love for God.

God, in his tender mercy, has forgiven us. It was his love that moved him to create, implement and submit to his plan for redemption. Although it would be extremely difficult and very rare for a person to forgive because they love their offender, it is possible to access this great motivation to forgive someone who has been wounded greatly. Since the greatest of qualities that a person can have is love, the same love can move a person to forgive. The difference is that the focus of love is on God and not the offender. Love for God will create a desire to be in his will, an obedience to his leading, a yielding for him to receive glory, and a submission of faith. A heart in this condition can forgive because the focus is not on the event or the offender, but on God. When they forgive, they are putting the care of the matter into the hands of a righteous and just God and are able to let go and finally leave the matter behind them. However, this love can only come about by abiding in God. When we abide in him, we as a branch tap into the vine of his strength and enable it to produce the love that can move someone who has struggled for years to finally forgive.

Forgiveness is never easy, but God has provided all that we need in order the be victorious and conquerors in life. (1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 8:37)

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Waiting on the Lord (Psalm 40:1)

It is important to wait patiently before the Lord. When you do, you are performing three important acts.

When you wait on the Lord, you knowledge him as your sovereign Lord. By that, you recognize that he is in complete control of all events that take place and regardless of how they appear, you believe he will use them for good and his glory.

When you wait on the Lord, you are exercising your faith and when I say exercise, I mean exercise. Each time that you place your faith in the Lord, you are strengthening it and also developing the closeness of your relationship with him. Your relationship with God is what gives your faith strength. This comes from his word (Romans 10:17) and also his joy (Nehemiah 8:10).

When you wait on the Lord, you are relying on his love. God is love and everything that he does for you or allows to happen is motivated by that love. When we cannot understand or see the workings of his love in his actions, it is then that our faith must moves us to wait on the Lord.

Waiting on the Lord will always bring his results. When we fail to wait on him, we act on our own independently of God. These actions are works of the flesh motivated by the emotions that we experienced in the trial.

So instead of allowing your emotions to drive you to disobedience, instead allow God’s working through your faith to lead you to rely on him who on countless times has guided, comforted, carried and loved you. He did not fail you then and he will not fail you now.

The Widow’s Giving (Luke 21:1-4)

The circumstances in your life are not the cause of your behavior. You act the way you do because you choose to. Such is the case for the widow who gave two mites. The context indicates that people had taken advantage of her which brought about her poverty. But what affect did it have on her? Didn’t even have an effect?

It did not affect her faith. Why would a poor person sacrifice and give? This poor widow woman was forced to depend on God. She probably had been depending on him for sometime. She most likely received answers to prayer, provisions of food, gifts of love from the concerned and protection. She lived from day to day depending on God. Giving her last two mites was nothing because her dependence on God led her to depend on God.

It did not affect her outlook. Imagine the larger gifts being tossed into the coffer and then her meager two mites. What a small drop in the big pool of gifts. What did two mites matter among so much? It may not mean much to the natural eye, but it meant much to her. She must have known that God values the gifts that are brought to him. You and I must recognize that when we give to a need, we are really giving to God.

Little did the widow know that her great sacrifice of a mere two mites would be affecting countless lives centuries later.

Remember, whatever you do for God, it is not compared to others. It is measured by your faith in the abilities that God has given you. You may not be the shining star you desired to be, but you can yield yourself to him in faith and obey his leading. Your life then will shine brighter than you ever imagined.

Can’t Meet the Criteria (Psalm 51:1)

Forgiveness from a human perspective, it is usually based on the person meeting some type of behavior or expectation. Forgiveness might be based on the person being sorry, expressing sorrow or performing some act of penance.

However with God, it is a different story. God‘s forgiveness hinges on two aspects of his character: lovingkindness and tender mercy.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1)

Both of these traits stem from the love of God. The former relates to his actions toward men and the latter-meaning womb-reflects his emotional bond with us.

The remainder of Psalm 51 conveys attitudes and promises to declared by David, but without loving kindness and tender mercy, forgiveness would not even be considered.

Therefore, when you find yourself needing forgiveness don’t try to follow a pathway of penance or self restoration to a God of lovingkindness and tender mercy, but instead run to the throne of grace whereupon your loving and merciful God sits. From there, he will forgive and lead you to a place of restoration.

Upholding Others (Psalm 54:4)

Have you ever been so tired that you just couldn’t stand? If there wasn’t a chair available, you did the next best thing: you leaned against something to give you the support you needed. If by some chance you saw somebody in this type of a condition, you probably would have helped them along by holding them up.

Did you ever think of all the people who struggle so much with life that they just can’t stand any longer? All of life‘s hurts, struggles, disappointments—and for some trauma—continue to bear down upon a person‘s heart. Some choose to end their lives as a way of escape. Others successfully find the help and support they need.

Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. (Psalm 54:4)

The support and help these people need are other people. They need the strength that others have to be shared with them and when this happens, their inner being or soul gains strength. Your actions of love—whether they are words spoken or written—bring strength to those who cannot stand alone. Any act of kindness can help those who are crumbling under their life‘s condition. You may not be able to do a thing about their circumstances, but you can be an encourager.

As you go to work, social events and church, look for the people that God brings to you for encouragement and share your strength with them.

Thanksgiving (Psalm 50:4)

What is giving to God? Think about it, you cannot give anything to him because he already owns everything. Giving isn’t a yielding, because he can take it anytime that he wants. So what is giving to God.

Giving stems from a desire and that desire should be to express how you feel towards someone. When we give to God, we express how we feel towards him. The Psalmist writes that the emotion behind his giving is thankfulness.

Offer unto God thanksgiving… ( Psalm 50:14)

A thankful heart is what God wants. Gifts to God result from thankfulness. These gifts aren’t given out of coercion, responsibility or even guilt. They come from hearts that recognize what God has done for them and are mere expressions of that thankfulness.

As I look back, I can see many occasions when my gift to God was nothing more than the relinquishing of my possessions to him. I guess I’ll see those items as wood, hay and stubble at the bema seat, but there were many times when along with the possession, I gave to God a heart overflowing with thankfulness.

To correct my errors, I have decided to check my heart before each offering to God and make sure that I am expressing gratitude instead of obedience or any other attitude. Secondly, I will guard my heart for complaining and instead ask God to help me recognize his plan so that I can be yielded and thankful for his sovereignty and provision.

Don’t Forget the Blessings

God works many wonders in our lives. However many of the blessings we seem to forget and merely focus on current circumstances. I decided to list 100 of God’s workings in my life. I know that I probably have missed more blessings than I have counted. I encourage you to do the same and then share them.

Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. (Psalms 40:5)

Many of these are very personal. I ask that you be quick to read and slow to judge. God bless.

1.He saved me and all the work that brought it to pass.

2.He removed me from ungodly influences.

3.Gave me my son as a direct answer to prayer.

4.After salvation, he led me away from paganism and settled my feet into Christianity.

5.He gave me my first house.

6.He gave me work in the midst of the extreme recession in the early 80’s.

7.He delivered me from a being killed in a steel mill accident involving a locomotive.

8.He relieved the financial burden as the recession increased and everything in my life began to crumble.

9.He provided housing in a very desperate time.

10.He comforted my wounded heart.

11.He empowered me to minister to hurting people.

12.He blessed my ministry involvement.

13.I grew in grace.

14.He brought friends into my life to support and help me.

15.He led me to advance my education.

16.He provided transportation.

17.He provided a car.

18.He answered prayers for food and finances.

19.Unemployment was extended.

20.He blessed with me getting called back to work after 20 months of being laid off.

21.He enabled me to by my truck.

22.He guided me through some legal turmoil and enabled me to escape the attack.

23.I moved to my new apartment in Spring City.

24.God blessed my work, ministry service and life.

25.Anthony memorized Psalm 23 before he turned 4 years old.

26.God continued to comfort my wounded heart.

27.He strengthened me to stand strong and live for God.

28.He helped me pass my Greek classes.

29.Helped me through a terrible sickness.

30.Found a better place to live.

31.He caused a person to fall into the pit that they prepared for me

32.Was able to leave the steel mill and be off work on Sundays.

33.Found a new job.

34.Learned maintenance skills that I would later use in God’s work.

35.Received a great promise from God.

36.Graduated from college.

37.Received another great promise from God that would come true seven years later.

38.Married Beth.

39.Signed a lease for an apartment two days before the wedding. (That was close)

40.Lost my job.

41.Found a deer that had recently been hit.

42.Able to sell my truck to pay the rent.

43.Picked up extra electrical side work.

44.Exhaust on car fixed for free.

45.Transmission went, got many rides to work while hitch hiking and had to walk much less.

46.Somebody gave us a station wagon.

47.Found a place to live closer to church

48.Refrigerator broke and someone bought another one.

49.Did not get to adopt my niece and then Beth found out she was expecting just several weeks later.

50.Marybeth Princess was born.

51.Strength as we faced uncertainty with Marybeth’s heart condition. God gave strength.

52.Somebody gave us a car after the engine seized in the wagon.

53.Anthony enrolled in Christian school

54.Moved to Font.

55.Great ministry days with hundreds of kids attending church

56.Marybeth’s open heart surgery was successful.

57.Injured ankle and out of work for months. Secured a new job.

58.Promoted at work

59.Went full time into the ministry

60.Able to get away with the wife for a three day vacation

61.Honey bucket of blessings dumped over on us at Christmas

62.Became principal of Landmark Christian school

63.School enrollment increased the next year

64.Bought a house with $1down and 120% financing. Yep, $1 down and extra cash for renovations.

65.New roof, bathroom, carpet and tons of paint along with residency inspection in 30 days.

66.School enrollment increased by 150% from my first year.

67.Able to buy my first computer

68.Bought a car instead of having one given to us.

69.School increased by another 40%.

70.Moved the school to a larger location and added a library.

71.School maxed out at 257% larger than the first year I became principal.

72.Many learning disabled children helped at LCS.

73.Able to visit the Dominican Republic

74.Able to visit the DR again.

75.Senior class trip to the DR.

76.Able to return to Northeast.

77.Mentored by Dr. Bish…what a guy.

78.Permitted to create the special education curriculum for Northeast

79.Invited to speak on special education issues at Ocean City, MD for the Delmarva Christian school association

80.Big personal setback, but the Lord gave much grace

81.God’s hand of blessing on me

82.Everything began to crumble around me, but God continued to bless my life.

83.Strength to work two full-time jobs

84.Exposed to the mental health industry

85.Relief from financial setbacks and back to one job

86.Wisdom, patience and guidance were given

87.Able to go back to school again

88.Leadership to leave Northeast

89.Comfort through disappointment

90.Three meetings on the calendar. No job or money. God filled up the calendar and met our needs.

91.God blessed to help countless people through speaking engagements as I traveled around the country

92.My wife and daughter were not killed in the auto accident

93.Grace through the painful months

94.Medical insurance obtained

95.Secured work at Devereux

96.Promoted to Treatment Manager (thank you for the financial trouble which exposed me to the mental health industry)

97.Promoted to Learning Specialist

98.Promoted to Learning Manager

99.Promoted to Operations Manager

100.I have great health