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)


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.

Abused, Mocked, Shamed and Cast Out (Mark 15:17-19)

Have you ever misjudged someone? You know, you meet somebody for the first time and maybe you get a negative impression and that impressions causes you to treat them in a certain manner. Then sometime later, you discover something about them that turns you, your attitude and your actions completely around. We have all been there and guilty of the same.
In fact, you may have experienced this as the victim as well. Rest assured, you are not alone in this experience. In fact, the Lord was treated in the same manner.

And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. (Mark 15:17-19)

When people fail to recognize your value as a person, they may do the same to you as they did to him. They may physically harm or abuse you, mock and shame you, and cast you out.

People who are truly loved will be cherished and protected. People are not loved because they fall short of what people desire or expect and when this occurs, they become objects upon which people take out their anger and bitterness. Jesus was scourged for the purpose of satisfying the hearts of the people. The people were glad for this to be done and this gladness was a direct result of how little they valued Jesus. (Mark 15:15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.)

When people fail to recognize your value as a person, they will mock and degrade you: they may talk as you talk and walk in the same manner as you would walk all to make a mockery of you. Their words of ridicule, rejection and laughter may tear deeply in your heart, but remember, you are not alone. In like manner, the people made a mockery and shame of the Lord.

Finally, they may cast you out. As they cast out Christ and sent him to be crucified, they too will cast you out. If they only knew how wonderful you really are, they wouldn’t treat you this way. Hurt, anger, bitterness and hatred fill their hearts and control them to act as they do. Sin took its hold on them and in sin they will act out on others around them.

For some people, they may recognize their error and make a change, but some may never recognize your great value. God didn’t make any mistake when he made you. Your height, weight, looks, economic status, intellect, physical impairments and whatever else may appear to be holding you back are really your thorn in the flesh that can make you stronger. You are not alone as you face life and those that treat you wrongfully. As Jesus faced these treatments from men, he was never alone. His father was always present with him and he will always be present with you. His Holy Spirit will comfort you and because of this, he wants you to come boldly to the throne of grace to find his help in times of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Remember, God will always be there for you. He recognizes your great value because he created you for himself. He will not reject you: he cannot reject you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and what you are is just what he loves.

What is being spiritual?

What is being spiritual?

Is it knowing the bible very well to where you can quote large amounts of scripture or at the least scripture to pertains to life’s problems?

Is it demonstrating a faith attitude while in the midst of life’s dark circumstances?

Is it being separated from the world so that you don’t look, act, or speak like them?

Are you spiritual when you overcome the hurts, fears and abuses of life?

I am glad to say that the answer to all of these questions is, “No!”  Satan memorized scripture and then quoted it to Jesus, so that knocks out the first.  The outward appearances of man are not nearly as significant as the inward.  Just because a facade of faith is demonstrated on the outside does not mean that it is possessed on the inside.  Being separated is not an indication of spirituality because countless cults around the world, who deny Jesus Christ, have stringent guidelines for conduct and appearance, yet these people are not spiritual.  In fact, they are still lost in their sin.

Finally, we will look at the overcoming of hurts, fears and abuse.  I know many spiritual people who have not overcome.  This may surprise you, but it is true.  Many may state, “What about greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world?”  I John 4:4 is a good verse.  My reply to that is a question.  How can it be expected for people to overcome in Christ if they have not been given instruction in truth or have been given an incorrect manner of going to God for deliverance.  It is just like countless millions who have been told that they must serve Jesus with works in order for him to save them. These individuals may work tirelessly for years and never obtain salvation.  

In like manner, what victory would be obtained for those who have been hurt and abused if they were given the following advice.

If you want to get victory, sell out for Jesus, live holy, give, separate from the world and pray.  

What a legalistic approach.  How much selling out will be enough?  How can I know when I am holy enough?  Is tithing enough or should I give more? If so, how much?  Hair, clothes, words, actions, entertainment: I am separated…should I turn off my electric too?  After all this, there is no victory.  And then we wonder why people only stay in churches for five years.  These hurting people have done everything they were told to do and came up empty.  No wonder they leave…no wonder they give up.

It is time for us to be spiritual and make a difference.  Let us start with Galatians 6:2: Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Why Does God Allow This?

Why does God allow mean people to treatment me wrongfully? Or why does God allow people to hurt me? These questions have puzzled many and caused countless people to struggle and even fall away from their faith.

To some degree, the Apostle Paul addressed this issue in the following Scripture passage.

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; (Philippians 1:29)

I remember as a kid, my mother repeatedly played on our stereo the same song: I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. I was so sick of hearing that song, but one thing I distinctly remember from it was that along with the sunshine, there will be a little rain sometime. I guess that sums up relationships, work and even life itself.

Sadly to say, there are many who are saying that if people come to Christ, their lives will be a wonderful experience. They present it like their lives will be a bed of roses. What a mixed up theology. I can say that I would never even think of trading my life in Christ for anything, but I also can definitely say that as a Christian my life has not been easy. But again, why would God want me to suffer at all let alone suffer for Christ?

Our life experiences are a testament to the world. Because the lost will not seek God, he brings the message of hope and love to them. As we experience trials just as the lost do, God wants to demonstrate his comfort and love through his interaction with us. As we experience grace and strength, The Lord sends his message of love to the lost.

God also allows the wicked to oppress us so that he may convict them by us not being afraid but remaining strong in him. Trials and troubles are not joyful, but we can find joy while in the midst of them. God wants to meet you in that trouble and manifest his presence to you. When he does, the lost around you will see a demonstration of what he wants to do for them. We must remember that we are bought with a price and because he paid the great price of our salvation, we now belong to him. He will use us as he pleases and we must trust that whatever he does will be what is best for us and for others. Trials never seem like what is best, but it is during those times that our faith must rely on God and his goodness.

False Truth Resists Truth (Mark 6:5-6)

When Jesus went into his own country, the people had a difficult time accepting that he was the Son of God and able to perform miracles of which they have heard. Because of their unbelief, he was limited in the number of miracles he could do. Why didn’t the people recognize him and his power or better stated, why couldn’t they recognize him and his power?

And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. (Mark 6:5-6)

It appears that as word came to the people in his home country that he performed miracles, they compared these reports with what they already believed about Jesus. For years they believed he was merely a man, the son of Mary or illegitimate and nothing more. These strongly established views kept them from recognizing and believing the truth.

A strongly established view of any type can resist truth and the work that it is intended to perform in our lives. A person who believes himself to be righteous strongly resists the gospel and its saving work. Angry people who believe they are not angry, prideful people who believe they are humble, bitter people who believe they have forgiven, thieves who justify their taking and fearful people who believe they walk by faith and who are strongly settled in these beliefs resist the truth of God’s word and limit what he can do in their lives.

People who have been physically, emotionally and verbally abused also have a false belief system. This belief system also resists the truth of God’s word. In fact, it may be more difficult to crush the falsehood of these beliefs than those afore mentioned. In either case, false beliefs about ourselves limit us to what God and his word can do in and through us.

As we read and hear God’s word, we must lay down our defenses and allow it to expose all areas of our lives. We have the potential to accomplish this when we seek God’s face and pray for him to expose us so that we may see ourselves as he sees us. It will be at that point when the seed of truth becomes planted into our hearts with the intent to yield fruit some thirtyfold, sixtyfold and hundredfold.

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.

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RAPE (2 Samuel 13)

The desire in his heart moved him to target her. With innocence and love she cared for her brother as his plan to satisfy himself unfolded. He forced himself upon her and then cast her aside as refuse. What were the results of this act and specifically, how did they affect Tamar?

When Amnon forced himself upon his sister, he did more than just take her virginity. His wounds went much deeper because he first deceived her with love. He conveyed love by desiring that he needed her to care for him. His deception of being sick played upon her empathy and falsely convey his need for her. This deception of love may have created wounds just as deep as the rape itself.

Amnon traumatized Tamar by his act of physical aggression. Her cries of reasoning fell deafly upon his ears. His heart was not concerned for love, but only lust. Although the physical struggle may have only lasted for moments, she would continually struggle with it by reliving that moment for years to come. Amnon also victimized Tamar with shame. Tamar would experience shame as the community looked her, but more so would she face shame as she looked upon herself. The one she may possibly be able to escape, but the other would be ever present. Before rape, Tamar proudly wore the garments that the King’s virgin daughters wore. After rape, she wore shame and disgrace. Her character, reputation and testimony were stolen from her.

Possibly the greatest of wounds occurred when she became hated by Amnon. The term for hatred conveys the idea that the subject of hate is counted as an enemy. In Amnon’s eyes, Tamar became the enemy. He saw it as her fault. Her beauty, delicateness and femininity caused it all. He probably saw himself as the victim of her beauty and was unable to control himself.

As an outcast, Tamar remained stunned and devastated as those around her did nothing. Then after two years, Amnon was killed by Tamar’s brother. Amnon paid the price for the wrong that he did to his sister, but his payment did not removed any of the wounds created by his selfish sinful act. Tamar wound carry those wounds with her for the rest of her life.

You or someone you love may be the victim of sexual abuse. There is hope in the midst of this devastation. God recorded this passage to reveal to them that he understands the depth of their hurt and wants to bring the deliverance that is so desperately needed. It will not be an easy road of recovery, but he will provide the strength, people and resources that is needed to overcome.

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.