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.

Trauma (Psalm 27:1b)

Trauma is a terrible thing.  It reaches deep into the resources of the soul and damages everything that it touches.  Only now are we beginning to understand the effects of trauma as we help soldiers returning from war, but trauma isn’t something new.  We have been battling trauma on the domestic front for years.  Even though many lives have been destroyed by it, there is hope.

Hope for those traumatized can be provided by those whom they can trust.  Please let me illustrate.  This morning I woke up to the sound of rain.  I looked next to the bed and sure enough, the Shepherd was under the chair.  Our rescue had been traumatized by gun shots, being hit by a car and taunted by passers by as he remained tied to a fence with a broken hip.  It doesn’t take much to trigger fears and even reenactments.  So while he was terrified to go outside and do his morning business because of rain and the potential for thunder, I went out into the yard and called him to me.  As he approached, I gave him the repeated rhythmic shsh, shsh, shsh, shsh, shshshshshshsh that I give to soothe him when he is overcome with anxiety.  He recognized my call of caring and came next to me.  He practically knocked me over to get close enough to feel safe.

Jesus provides the same type of care.  He recognizes our fears and calls us to him.  As we hear his voice and get close to him, he provides comfort and security.  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1b). In this verse, the Psalmist declares that the Lord is his defense or fortified place.  He was that for him and he wants to be the same for you.  Will you hear his call?  Will you run to him for comfort and security?  He is waiting and ready to aid you in your trauma.

Broken Hearts (Psalm 147:3)


Has your heart ever been broken? Of course it has. Every person at some point in their lives has experienced great heart breaking hurt. How did it occur? It is people or circumstances in life that cause our hearts to get broken. The term broken in scripture means to burst. I guess that best describes how our hearts have felt when we were rejected by people that we loved, stood at the graveside of a dearly beloved friend or family member, or watched as children or loved ones made destructive life decisions.

Our hearts can also experience this bursting when people that we love are also deeply hurt. I remember when my son received the news that his maternal grandfather had passed away. We were standing at the top of the stairs in our home when he broke down and sobbed. My heart too began to break: not so much for the person who had passed, but because of compassion and empathy for my son.

I imagine that God’s heart breaks in like manner. He became our high priest and was touched with our infirmities. When we hurt, he understands our hurt and experiences it with us. (Isaiah 63:9). It is for this purpose that God wants to bring healing to our broken hearts. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. (Psalms 147:3)

God, who is the God of all comfort, is able to bind up and heal our broken hearts. Some people look to him for healing and allow him to do his work. However, there are others who resist looking to God for help and healing. Although God wants to bind up the wounds of their hearts, they refuse to allow him and when they do, they attempt to accomplish healing on their own. We must understand that we cannot heal our wounded hearts. At best, we can harden our hearts to the pain, which is nothing more than fighting back at it.

We fight back at the pain with anger. Anger towards the event itself or against the person who is the source of our pain. Both pain and anger are negative emotions and unpleasant to the soul, but anger is more easily endured. Hurt is an emotion that we feel when we are the victim, but anger is the emotion associated with us when we are the aggressor. Without God, we respond to pain with anger and at best shroud the wound and the pain. What we really accomplish is replacing the emotions of the heart. A heart filled with hurt has the heart flooded away with anger. When the anger is gone, the hurt returns and the process begins again.

However with God, there is healing. In order to experience this healing, we must exercise faith in the goodness and love of God. By doing so, we will trust that God, who is sovereign, has allowed the circumstances in our lives to occur and we must trust that he can and will work all things for good both for us and him.

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More Than Just A Miracle (Luke 5:17)

The man with palsy had been lame for some time. He was dependent upon others for his livelihood as well as caring for many of his basic needs. Because of his infirmity, he could not engage in most activities as others and enjoy life to the fullest. Emotionally he more than likely felt less than a man: a burden on society with no sense of purpose and accomplishment. Many people in this state had become filled with anger and bitterness. However, when he heard of Jesus and the miracles that he performed, he cooperated with those who sought to aid him in his plight. The purpose for his illness may never have been know to him, but his life and testimony were about to change anyway.

The miracle account begins by stating who was in the house and that the power of The Lord was present to heal them.

And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. (Luke 5:17).

The question is, who needed healing? At this point there were not any blind, halt, lame and diseased individuals yet in the house, but only Pharisees and doctors of the law. It were these people that The Lord intended to heal. The healing that they needed was not physical but spiritual. The very reason that Jesus’ first statement to the man with palsy was that his sins were forgiven him was so that the hearts of the doctors and Pharisees would be moved to seek that healing as well. Then to give validity to his promises of spiritual healing, Jesus healed the man of his palsy. You would think that after witnessing such a great miracle those present would beg for their sins to be forgiven, but it did not occur.

This then makes me wonder and ask myself, “How many of my trials are intended to be a testimony to others of what The Lord wants to do in their lives?” If it were the case, then God would continue to try my faith with trials so that my life would be a continual living testament of his power and grace. In this manner, your life and mine as well can accomplish more to move people to trust The Lord than preaching and teaching. Did not Paul say that our lives are epistles of Christ?

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:3)

Because I cannot always understand why trials are permitted to come into my life, I must yield to God, who always works in righteousness and love, and trust his divine plan to work what is best for me and of need for those around me.

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Healed Like The Leper (Mark 1:40-41)

Leprosy was a terrible disease, which most often lead to physical disfigurement and eventual death. Those with the disease were banished from society and forced to live in colonies. Not only were these people forced to face the physical struggles associated with the disease, but also the emotional upheaval caused by the longing to be loved and accepted by people that they loved and by others. In this account, Jesus is confronted by the leper who believes that he has the power to heal him. To me, the greatest aspect of this miracle is that Jesus was moved with compassion for the man and healed him.

And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. (Mark 1:40-41)

As I read this account, I tried to see how this miracle relates to me and my salvation. My first thoughts were that I, like the leper, was not wanted. Oh, I had many friends, but their friendship was only based on what I could bring to them. Everybody was concerned about themselves. I was alone in the world, lost and empty in my heart.

But Jesus saw my yearning heart. He looked past my sin, which he terribly hated, and saw me and my needs. Because he is a God of love, he was moved with compassion instead of vengeance. His bowels yearned for me instead of a desire for satisfying judgment. As a parent hurts for their children, God hurt for me and reached out his loving hand with the offer of salvation. It was then that my life was healed. I was healed from the inside out. He first healed my heart, he then healed my wounds and eventually my life. Praise be to God!

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He Lifted Me Out (Mark 1:30-31)

I have read the gospels countless times and each time that I read the words and account of Jesus’s life, my heart is moved. As I read of how Jesus healed Simon’s wife’s mother, I can identify with a similar miracle that he has done in my life and hopefully in yours also.

But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. (Mark 1:30-31)

To have a fever in that day was much more serious than it would be today. This woman, who was loved by her daughter, was in peril of death. When Jesus entered the house, they desired for him to perform a work of healing. As the scriptures tell us, he took her by the hand and lifted her up. It is amazing how Jesus by his touch can lift somebody from the depths of peril and establish them in good health.

It was not long ago when you and I were in the depths and peril of sin. There was no hope to be found and then Jesus came. He reached out with his tender loving hand, grasped your heart, lifted you out and established your feet to walk a new life. The world cannot explain what happened and for me, even after all these years, I cannot explain how it happened. As the blind man said, “I once was blind, but now I see”, I too can say, “I once was in the depths of sin, hopelessness and despair, but Jesus lifted me out.” It was a miracle that changed my life and destiny forever. Praise be to God.

Immediately after her healing, Simon’s wife’s mother ministered to others. God desires for us to do the same. He lifted us up and set is free for a purpose. Our purpose is to fulfill our part in his work. Years ago a bible college teacher defined “The Work” as God using man in his plan for the ages. God has a plan for the ages and he lifted us out of the pit to be a part in that plan. As you walk with The Lord today, seek how he may want to use you in ministry to others. When you recognize the opportunity, step out and be the part of God’s that only you were meant to be.

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