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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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.

Why are all these things happening to me?



You may ask, Why are all these things happening to me?  Life has its ups and downs.  However there are times in our lives that everything seems to turn upside down.  Imagine a family in an economic struggle. They are forced to relocate and in their pursuit face one devastating trial after another.  In the end, sickness and death take their toll.  Why?  Where was God?  I guess if you want to know, you will need to ask Ruth.

Controversial as it may seem, Elimelech and his family moved to Moab.  I don’t believe that any of the family members knew exactly what was happening.  Even Naomi when she later returned to Bethlehem didn’t quite understand.  However if you spoke with Ruth, you would hear the story of how God used terrible circumstances for a family to rescue her from idolatry and bring her into a relationship with the one and true God.  This family experienced many trials and for many years and maybe because it took that long to turn Ruth’s heart.

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: (Ruth 1:16)

There are times when people come to Christ after hearing the gospel only a few times, but there are others, who are steeped in false religion, who will need a demonstration of the gospel’s power before coming to Christ. So as you experience trials in your life and you have ruled out the chances of sinful consequence or chastisement, your life and its trials may just be a light in a very dark place.  Accept where you are, look for God’s grace, and declare to others what he is doing in your life.  You may never find out what God is actually doing or you may discover a Ruth in your midst.

You Are Where You Are

You may not be where you want to be.  You may be looking for conditions or circumstance in your life to change.  Before you react or respond, you may need to ask yourself a few questions. What if the circumstances in my life are ordained by God?  What if he has a plan to use me and my circumstances as a way of demonstrating his grace so that others may come to Christ or some saved may be challenged to trust him? 

Instead of praying or looking for your circumstances to change, you may need to accept where you are and ask The Lord to help you to be content with it.  God has never promised you a great or easy life, but he has declared that he will provide the grace that you need to live his plan and that you can find contentment in it.

Consider the following passages.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  (II Corinthians 12:9)

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:6)

Deliverance (Psalm 91:15)

It seems that everybody I know is going through some type of difficult time in their lives. If they are not currently in such a situation, they will soon be entering another. Some think that as children of God, we should be exempt from such problems. Unfortunately they are wrong. Some may wonder where God is while we are alone toiling in the mire of life. Others seek him for deliverance from their trials. Sadly to say, many become angry with God when their deliverance does not come.

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. (Psalms 91:15)

From this famous passage, God states that when we call upon him, he will be with us in the trouble. It is his presence that delivers us. When God delivers us from the trial, he strips the trial from us. Other forms of the word for deliver also mean to equip or present strength. God may not deliver you from the trial, but his presence will definitely deliver you through it.

As you face trials, you would be best to call out to God for his presence and strength in the trial. In the end, some form of deliverance will come.

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Repentance Precedes Believing (Matthew 21:32)

How do people get to the point of believing? As sinners, our nature led us away from God and opposed him in every way. All the while our deceitful hearts blinded us to our condition. As the truth of the gospel was given to us, light illuminated our darkness exposing our true condition. In order for us to believe the gospel and be saved, repentance needed to take place. Repentance occurs when the heart of man ceases to resist God and yields in agreement with God’s view about him being a sinner and in need of a savior. At this point, pride, the root of all sins, has left the heart of man allowing truth from the word of God to create faith.

This same series of events works in believers after salvation as well. When trials or even troubles from sin occur, we usually try to deliver ourselves. When all else fails, we turn to God and ask for deliverance, but fail to see results. We either accuse God of not listening to our prayer or wait for some feeling or sign that we have enough faith to pray for the needed answer. What we fail to do is repent of our prideful acts of self deliverance. Until repentance and confession occur, we will not have the faith needed.

Jesus pointed this out to the Pharisees. They did not believe in the Lord, but then had the opportunity to see the miraculous works of salvation in the lives of publicans and harlots, but even after that, they would not repent of their beliefs about him so that they might believe in him.

For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him. (Matthew 21:32)

So, as you faces trials, troubles or consequences of sin, stop and look to see what efforts you are doing to deliver yourself. Repent of these so that the Holy Spirit may do a work of grace in your life and enable you to believe and experience his deliverance.

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Why Must I Suffer (Philippians 1:29)

Why do I have to suffer? If I am saved and a child of God, why does not God keep me safe from ill and harm? It just does not make sense. Cannot God receive great glory by keeping me from these evils? Will not God’s deliverance and a better life drawn people to him?

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)

Do these questions sound familiar? Have you asked these questions? If so, you are one of the countless number of believers who have experienced this struggle. The answer is in the scriptures, but it may not be simple nor easy to receive.

From the fall of man until now, man has always sought to have life focus around him and his desires. Wars have come about because of a clash in desires between people. Nations have tumbled by judgment because the people sought their own way. Religion is the work of man trying to gain the blessing of God based on merits or achievements. Any gain obtained in these situations would be wrought by man and at best sharing glory with God.

God however has a different plan. He has chosen the foolish and weak things of this world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). By choosing the foolish and weak things, God is clearly recognized as the provider of the blessing, strength or deliverance. The lost and the saved experience the same problems in life: the former without hope and the latter by God’s aid. When we were astray and wanted nothing to do with God, he sought us. He worked in our lives bringing us to the point of recognizing our sinful condition and need for a savior. Because he paid our debt on the cross, redeemed us from sin, adopted us into his family, became our father and blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3-7), he has the right to do with our lives as he pleases.

He continues to work in the heart of unbelievers and is drawing them to himself. When Christ is lifted up, all men will be drawn to him. By lifting up Christ in your life, men will be drawn to Him. His strength to you in trials and comfort in the midst of sickness, loss and trouble will lift up Christ before others. Because he does not use our strength, he solely receives the glory that he deserves.

This is why we experience trouble. This is why God allows us to experience sorrow, pain and suffering. We may not like it, but when we yield to him, we gain what truly is best for our lives.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

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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