OLD TESTAMENT TEXT: Nehemiah 9:17 (NLT) “They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt! But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them.”
NEW TESTAMENT TEXT: Ephesians 1: 5-8 (NLT) “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.”
- STAND UP IF YOU ANSWER YES.
- Have you ever had a huge disagreement with a friend? Sit down if it’s the normal kind, we are talking BIG here…
- How about with a family member?
- STAY STANDING (Okay, here’s the real question…)If you answer YES, please leave, you don’t need this lesson, if on the other hand you are HUMAN and answered NO, lets talk…
- HAVE YOU FORGIVEN, FORGOTTEN, and ACCEPTED THEM BACK IN TO YOUR INNER CIRCLE?
Let me tell you my story, I have a woman that I have knows for almost 20 years, I always thought of her like my sister. I shared a lot of my self with her. I talked to her about things I never shared with anyone. She knew about some of my deepest hurts in life and I knew some of hers. When I was in Germany, I called her and emailed her often, she was my connection to my past (youth) & my home (CT).
Well, my friend did certain things that SEPARATED US…and we are no longer friends in the way we use to be, our friendship is not the same. A lot of people, her included have asked me what kind of a Christian are you that you can’t forgive and forget…I have been thinking about that for the past 2 years and this is my response.
Hurt is something that stays in your heart, did you know that emotions don’t age, they stay the same age for ever? As a Christian I feel a need to forgive, but as a human I haven’t forgotten the pains and the hurts. So, my response, I am a work in progress and my stuff don’t stink!
Do me a favor, write down these words in your program: Recognize, Forgive, Forget, and Reconcile. Now, we can have an honest conversation…
- What do we need to RECOGNIZE?
- Recognize is an acknowledgment of a problem or wrong doing
- Whether it is something you did to someone else or something that was done to you.
- Take a moment and LOOK at the issue at hand, maybe jot down some notes about how it makes you feel.
- Acknowledge your right to your feelings, whatever they may be (anger, hurt, fear, repulsion, confusion)
2. Why do we have to FORGIVE?
- Forgiveness is the act of pardoning somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing.
- In the Bible Jesus acknowledged how difficult forgiveness is. Jesus told Peter, you have to forgive not seven times, but seventy times seven (Matthew 18: 21-22),
- Scholars are still arguing about the meaning of this verse.
- Does it mean I have to only forgive 490 times in my lifetime, or 490 times per event, or what???
- STOP getting hung up on how many times you have to forgive, because God forgave you in the past, forgives you today and will forgive you tomorrow.
- Learn to be more like Him.
3. Now what about this business about, FORGETTING?
- Forget doesn’t mean put it out of your memory…that doesn’t make sense, emotions don’t go away, but can we protect ourselves against them?
- Forget actually means, no longer held against us, so what we have to learn is to break the power of the past by living for the future.
- PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE: Shield’s Up!!
- So when you wake up and remember how someone hurt you, pray.
- Give yourself permission, again to feel what you feel.
- Recognize and acknowledge the situation, maybe you feel slightly different than you did last time.
- Remember that God is still working WITH you. Turn the situation over to Him. Again.
- Remember that 490 times, that might be in a day!!
- I think this is a reference to how often after you give the problem to God you are going to be reminded of your emotional state. The anger is going to come back, and you have to GIVE it to GOD all over again.
- Before you can forget, you first have to GIVE the issue to GOD!
Forgive and Forget is not like when you were little kids and you got caught fighting your sister, and one of you started crying all about how he hit me and Mom made you apologize, that apology was not sincere. This type of Forgive and Forget can only come about by God’s Saving Grace.
- A person might never acknowledge that they have hurt you, but you know.
- You might never have the chance to make a person understand that you really apologize, but you do.
Forgiveness is the act of pardoning or being pardoned by somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing. I am worthy of God’s forgiveness because I really want it, and that person is worthy of Gods forgiveness (they might not know it yet, but they are), so I am turning them over to God, because I can’t do it alone.
We, as servants of a Living Christ have a hard job, we are conduits. Conduits of His grace. Conduits of His forgiveness. But in order to be conduits we have to keep that currency running through us. We have to maintain a connection to our power source. GOD!
How do we remain charged? Through prayer, through learning, through talking out our issues, and through forgiveness, yes, even of our own misdeeds. We have been tasked with reconciling.
2 Corinthians 5: 17-20 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
4. RECONCILE – When people talk about forgive and forget, what they really want is for things to go back to the way they use to be…before! You know what, something’s can’t be undone. A broken egg, cant be unbroken, can it?
- Reconcile yourself to the change. The egg broke, apologies have been made, but the egg can’t be put back to the way it was before, instead, the broken egg can be used to make pancakes (pick up the mess), isn’t that what we just read? “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come!”
But, it doesn’t happen by chance, but by God’s Grace. Grace means: unmerited favor, forgiveness, not because I am worthy, but because He feels like it!
True forgiveness comes from GOD, we can pray, we can fast, we can forgive, but only to the extent that our human limitations allow us. Then GOD has to take over to create a change, Remember we are limited, but our God, he is limitless, His forgiveness has no boundaries. His forgiveness has no limitations.
FORGIVENESS ONLY COMES THROUGH Christ, the blood that Jesus shed on the cross cleans and washes us in forgiveness. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” We can’t offer that same amount of forgiveness, only GOD can.
As I learn to pray and look for Him more, He blesses me with His grace. Not because I am worthy, but because I call out to Him and recognize His very Sovereignty. And I feel blessed!
2 Timothy 1:9 “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”
- PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE: Shield’s Up!!
- Recognize that some of the steps, are going to be cyclical, you may change your mind about how you feel, you may forgive and have a hard time forgetting, you may forget, but not for long etc.