We are bruised up people. We are the offenders, the offended, the abusers, and the abused. Especially for us women, we are very sensitive and emotional. That is okay. One thing in all of that though, is our willingness to forgive. Ladies, many of you are looked at as examples of your Christian character, your faith, or role in leadership (teacher/mentor), but harboring un-forgiveness will grow like a cancer in all of those beautiful parts of you life. I'm not sounding negative here, but once when I lay out all the undercover secrets on forgiveness, you will be amazed at the seriousness it has. I'm going to dive right into this assuming you already have something coming to mind that isn't forgiven; Making room for forgiveness.
The key sometimes through forgiveness is forgiving someone who doesn't even ask to be forgiven. (You're probably already boiling up.) You might be someone who says "It is my right to feel this way," or "You don't know what this person has done to me." And you are probably right on both of those things. But two rights don't make a right! (Probably not how the expression goes)... Let's establish from the beginning that it is not wrong to feel hurt. It is wrong to hold on, dwell, and harbor your hurts into bitterness. Unfortunately, you can tell a lot about people by what they do after they've been wronged.
Category 1: wrongs
- the most easily offended wrongs
- example: catty he said/she said, attitudes/disagreements
"I didn't get a thank you", "Why wasn't I picked?"
Move on! Stop being so easily offended by these things. The first key in forgiveness is forgiving the small stuff like these.
21 Do not pay attention to every word people say,
or you may hear your servant cursing you—
22 for you know in your heart
that many times you yourself have cursed others.
Making room for forgiveness.
Category 2: wrongs
- someone and you have a conflict, work it out
- you may not be the one who committed the offense but still need to give forgiveness
- you may be the one that committed the offense so ask for forgiveness
- what's stopping you?
Usually the thing that stops people from even getting near forgiveness, is pride. Pride is a stain on our crown of grace. Pride is the opposite of humility, and humility is Christ-like. Can you ask for forgiveness or do you have too much pride? Can you give forgiveness or do you have too much pride? Pride and Jesus are like oil and water. They don't mix. Just as Jesus has forgiven us, we have to be forgiving to others. Imagine if God was as harsh on us as we are to other people? The extreme grace that is poured out for you and I daily, is incredible. Let's take a look at the parable of the unmerciful servant.
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accountswith his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[b] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Are you the servant who after received grace, went and condemned others? This guys pride got in the way of giving forgiveness... Ouch.
Making room for forgiveness.
Category 3: wrongs
- hurting but still forgiven/forgiving
There some cases in life where hurt is hurt no matter what. The issue seems unresolvable until you hand it to Jesus. Use His strength as your strength; For forgiveness and healing. Grace = forgiveness... Forgiveness = Holy Spirit... Holy Spirit = Peace.
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
At this moment Jesus was feeling hurt... He was in flesh and had to have felt betrayal... Even in the midst of watching the world hate Him, He still asked for forgiveness on behalf of the people around him... And I'm sure they didn't ask for forgiveness.
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[a]”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Here we see our King Jesus graciously give forgiveness even as He is in agony. Grace. Forgiveness.
Making room for forgiveness.
Love overcomes always. When we have love, forgiving will be just apart of our daily walk. When we have love, grace will flow abundantly through our life just as the forgiveness of Jesus has swept through the depths of our heart. Forgiveness gives peace. Forgiveness sets the heart free. Live in love, and don't be so easily offended. Choose mercy over condemnation. Choose forgiveness.
God please forgive me where I have fallen short. Forgive me for not giving grace just as you have shown me grace. Allow your Holy Spirit to dwell in me that I might be a light to the world and show your love. Make room for forgiveness in my life. Nothing is impossible for you. In Jesus' name, Amen.