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.

Leadership Principles from Solomon (Proverbs 25)

Here are some principles of leadership as they were preserved by the men of Hezekiah.

1. Use reproof for those who will accept correction and learn from it. (vs. 12)

2. Be faithful in all areas of your leadership. (vs. 13)

3. Recognize your limitations and demonstrate humility. (vs. 14)

4. Be patient and soft-spoken when dealing with people. (vs. 15)

5. Be satisfied when you reach your goals. (vs. 16)

6. Do not be overly familiar with the people you lead. (vs. 17)

7. Do not listen to and carry false witness that has been brought to you. (vs. 18)

8. Only put confidence in reliable people. (vs. 19)

9. Understand a person’s emotional state and provide the support they need. (vs. 20)

10. Give to meet the needs of those who oppose you. (vs. 21-22)

11. Drive away that which will hinder or oppose success. (vs. 23)

12. Lead people with praise and admonition instead of contending with them. (vs. 24-25)

13. Live and lead by principles and do not allow people to move you from them. (vs. 26)

14. Focus on the success of others or the accomplishment of the cause and not personal gain. (vs. 27)

15. Be in control of your emotions. (vs. 28)

Proverbs 25:12-28

12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold,

so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

13 As the cold of snow in the time of harvest,

so is a faithful messenger to them that send him:

for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

14 Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift

is like clouds and wind without rain.

15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded,

and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee,

lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

17 Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour’s house;

lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.

18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour

is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble

is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

20 As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather,

and as vinegar upon nitre,

so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.

21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat;

and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:

22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head,

and the Lord shall reward thee.

23 The north wind driveth away rain:

so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop,

than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.

25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul,

so is good news from a far country.

26 A righteous man falling down before the wicked

is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.

27 It is not good to eat much honey:

so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit

is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Protect Yourself !!!

Protect yourself! You hear it all the time. Protect your identity, protect your vehicle, protect your home, get a flu shot. But do you hear anybody talk about protecting your heart from being caught in a snare?

Jesus spoke of this in Luke 17. He tells his disciples that offenses will come. When he spoke of offenses, he was referring to situations that would cause them to stumble or fall. Offenses are traps or snares that take our hearts captive. Much like the branch of a tree is pulled down and attached to a rope so that it can snare rabbits or other small animals.

Each of us could become ensnared and one major way for that to occur would be by refusing to forgive. Right after Jesus’ warning of offenses (snares), he talks about the brother sinning against them and then repenting: not only once, but even seven times in a day. His advice or counsel was for them to forgive each time.

Refusing to forgive can lead to anxiety, anger, depression and a host of physical elements. It would be wise for us to forgive and by doing so, we are not setting the offender free: we really are freeing ourselves.

Forgiveness is not explaining away the offense or allowing the person to be free from the consequences of their wrong. It is simply freeing them from owing you anything.

I remember a conference speaker referring to a situation when he was the principal of the school. He explained how a student brought a firearm to school. When he was caught, he was very sorry and in tears asked the principal for forgiveness. The principal told the boy that he forgave him, but that he could not speak for the law which he also offended. With that, he picked up the phone and called the police. When we forgive, we are acting in the same manner: forgiving them of a debt owed to us, but still having them answer to God concerning their offense against him.

Outside of being persecuted for Christ, you are not required to be a doormat and allow people to wound and hurt you. But you are required to forgive. Remember, when you forgive, the person you freeing is yourself.