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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Religion Still Doesn’t Work

Since nearly the beginning, sin has separated man from God and with it has brought sorrow, sickness, and emptiness in the heart of man. Throughout time, man has sought to overcome these troubles in his life and to accomplish it created religious acts or rituals, which were intended to appease God of his wrath or at the least turn away the consequences of sin that he faced.

These acts involved offering to God everything from crops to human sacrifices, the punishment of sinners or the punishment of themselves. Always, the results were unsuccessful. David described it best when he spoke to the Lord concerning his own condition.

For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. (Psalms 38:4)

The load of sin that looms over the head of every man is so great that no religious act could ever remove the effect or its debt.

Several decades ago, a teenaged girl attended a local carnival. When she failed to return home, a search was made and eventually her lifeless body was found. For more than 30 years, law-enforcement searched for the suspected killer: who was eventually found. Should he be held for trial? Of course he should! Regardless of how long ago the event occurred, he should still be held accountable.

But what if he was found living a respectable life? What if he, for the last 20 years, had been doing a great humanitarian work? Should he still be held for trial? Should he still be charged even if he has been so sorry for his crime? The answer is a resounding, Yes! He committed a crime and the penalty for that crime must be paid.

For the last 6,000 years, man has been trying to avoid paying the penalty for his sin. But regardless of what he does, the holy righteous God still requires complete payment for sins committed. The only hope for all men would be for God to determine a way for someone else to pay the debt that man owed. God did and that person was himself. He came to earth as human. Born of a virgin, he live a lonely life and yet did not sin. Throughout his entire life he did not commit one sin. For the remaining three years of his life, he taught and performed miracles to declare who it was and the purpose for his coming to earth. Then as foretold by God, he was rejected by his people, judged by the government and punished on the cross.

However God’s purpose for allowing all this to occur was so that he could place all the sin of humanity upon himself as he hung on the cross. The beatings and torture done to Jesus were extremely grave, but nothing in comparison to the punishment that God, while still yet also in heaven, punished himself as he lived as a human hanging on the cross.

Only until Jesus cried, “It is finished!” was mankind given any hope. When Jesus finished, he was finished paying the wages for our sins – yours and mine.

For those, who continue striving to pay for their own sins or are relying on religious acts to appease God’s wrath for sin will continue to fall short and carry the burden of their sin debt. Those who call upon Christ to bear there sin, will find the relief that they need. No longer is the burden of sin going over their head or too much to bear, the burden has been removed and the payment has been made. None of their sins committed have gone unpunished. Instead of them paying the debt, someone else paid the debt for them.

In America, we have discovered that countless people have been falsely charged, found guilty and sentenced for crimes that they had never committed. Society, unknowing of their wrong, was still satisfied because the penalty of the crime was being paid.  

In your case, Jesus willingly took the charge, allowed himself to be found guilty and then paid your complete payment for sin. So that your salvation could take place when you call out to Jesus and trust that he will save you.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)

Knowing Leads to Trusting

Years ago, the GI Joe cartoon had a slogan, “Knowing is half the battle.” That slogan is true for believers as well. How do you know or view God determines your level of trust. 

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. (Psalms 9:10)

If you know God as one who is quickly angered at you and ready to judge, then you will have a difficult time trusting him. However, if you have experienced God’s faithfulness and see him as a loving father full of mercy, then you will wholeheartedly cling to him in times of trouble.  

The secret to the Christian life is not trying harder or laboring to mustarding up faith, but instead to get closer to him. Just as you and I can trust true friends but shy away from trusting strangers, we will more comfortably trust God as we move from a practically stranger relationship to one as a son resting in the bosom of his father.

Deceiving Yourself (1 John 1:8)



How can a person deceive themselves?  Do they purposefully lead themselves away from what they know to be the right way?  Some may think so, but that is not exactly the case.

A person leads themselves astray when they do not agree with or recognize truth, but instead create their own ideas and acknowledge them as truth.  The result is that they actually believe they are doing or believing what they should.

The Holy Spirit convicts all men of sin.  In order for a person to believe that they do not have sin, they first must disagree with the Holy Spirit’s conviction and then speak falseness to themselves.  When they walk in light of this falseness, they have deceived themselves.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)

Each of us have this tendency.  We do it when we resist conviction for sin and explain it away with circumstances or justify our actions with motives or results from our acts.  We also deceive ourselves when we resist God’s leading.  We respond with excuses as to why we cannot do as he leads and then accept those excuses as truth.

Am I deceiving myself?  Are you deceiving yourself?  God knows the answer.  What we must do is submit ourselves to God and allow him to lead us with truth.  We may not like how he leads, but the results will definitely be better than living in deceit.

Truth Inside (Psalm 51:6)



Have you ever faced a decision that you needed to make and you found yourself undecided?  Of course you have.  As you begin to figure out a solution to your problem, you convey it by saying, ” I am leaning towards …”

When it comes to pleasing God, he wants our hearts to lean towards truth.  The only way our hearts can do this is for truth to be present in our hearts.  Consider Psalm 119:11, where the psalmist states that he hides truth in his heart and the believer is encouraged to meditate upon truth as stated in Psalm 1.

Without truth in your heart, it will become more difficult for your heart to lean towards it.  It seems that when we sin, the effect of truth in our hearts is either erased or at least its effect is diminished.

It is like the old game, King of the Mountain where each person playing attempts to pull the one person down from on top of the mountain and once this is achieved, they take his place and the game continues.

Truth in the heart sits supreme, but our sin pulls it down and then has its time of power.  Only by cleansing away sin can truth again influence the heart.  That is why the psalmist asks the Lord purge and clean him (Psalm 51:7).

In order to live as God desires, get truth into your heart and when you fall, seek him to cleanse away your sin.  This is a daily process and should never be neglected or ignored.  With truth in your heart, your ability to lean toward and respond to truth will become more consistent and successful.

Mercy and Truth (Proverbs 3:3)

Mercy and truth are like the sunset.  Sunsets are beautiful experiences, but unless they are captured in thought, on canvas or on film, they will be lost.  Mercy and truth are presented to us by God.  We gain it from his word, but unless we taken measures to preserve them, they too will be lost.

God tells us to bind mercy and truth about our necks and write them upon the table of our hearts. (Prov. 3:3). If we live life with mercy and truth, it us because we failed to secure it.  We may have enjoyed its pleasure for a season, but like the sunset, it was gone.

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.

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