(By Dr. Charles Stanley)
Father God in heaven, we hollow Your wonderful Name. We just had a remembrance of what Your Son Jesus did for us on the cross thousands of years ago, and it is still the most wonderful thing anyone has ever done for a person. We are so grateful, Lord Jesus. Forgiveness is the next awesome thing, and we thank You for forgiving us today for our sins through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now that we have been forgiven, Lord, please help us to forgive others in our lives. Forgiving can be hard, but as Your Word says, "We can do all thing through our Lord Jesus Christ." Bless our hearts to always forgive others who have wronged us, not matter what. Father, forgive us as we forgive others in Jesus' name. AMEN.
Subject Lesson: Forgiving other people.
Let's recap and then study more on
Forgiveness may not be easy, but it's what the Lord commands (Eph. 4:32). Even if someone betrays us, we must forgive and trust God to take care of the situation
Forgiving Others - Direction from God:
Forgiving others may seem to be a choice, and in one sense it is a choice, but God has been very clear about forgiveness. He has given us specific direction in numerous Scriptures, all of which can be summed up in just one word -- forgive! God's Word says, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25). "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven" (Luke 6:37).
God is saying that it is in our own best interest to forgive! He is not talking about what is in the best interest of the person who needs to be forgiven. We are the ones who God is trying to protect. We are the ones who receive the most benefit from forgiveness, not the other person. A spirit of unforgiveness complicates and compromises our daily walk with God. Forgiving others releases us from anger and allows us to receive the healing we need. The whole reason God has given us specific direction is because He does not want anything to stand between us and Him. God's love for us is beyond our comprehension. Forgiving others spares us from the consequences of living out of an unforgiving heart.
Forgiving others does not carry with it a single decision that we need to ponder. God has not qualified one sin as being more grievous to Him than another and He has not qualified one sin committed against us as warranting forgiveness and another not. For example, God is not saying, "If a person lies to you or steals from you, you should forgive him, but if they abuse you or harm your child, you can hold them in unforgiveness." He is saying to forgive everyone, always, and do it immediately.
Forgiving Others - A Personal Story:
Forgiving others often takes time. Amy was no longer living with her alcoholic and abusive husband Tim, but she had not been able to forgive him for the 32 years of abuse that she had experienced. She knew she should forgive him, but she could not bring herself to do it. She did not feel he deserved her forgiveness. This went on for several years until one day in a counseling session with Amy, I asked her to listen with her heart and be open to anything the Lord might say to her. During that quiet time, the Lord helped Amy see that He loved Tim, while disapproving of Tim's actions. The Lord made it clear to Amy that the abuse was not her fault. As she looked up from her quiet posture, she related how all of the reasons why she should not forgive were no longer valid. I asked if she was ready to forgive and she said yes.
Amy's recognition that the Lord truly loved Tim, while disapproving his actions, caused her to have a change of heart. When she made the choice to forgive Tim, the feelings that had been compromising her life-anger, resentment, fear, misunderstanding, and confusion-left her heart. Forgiving Tim brought peace to Amy's heart.
Forgiving Others - The Divine Example:
We have a divine example for forgiving others! God knew that man needed forgiveness, so He sent His Son Jesus to deliver all of mankind from the eternal consequences of their sins (1 John 4:9-10). Colossians 3:13 says, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Jesus not only had the power to forgive, but to grant us the ability to forgive others just as we have been forgiven.
Forgiving Others - Personal Action:
Forgiving others often starts as a decision of surrender-an act of our will. This surrender invites God to begin working in our lives in a deeper level, allowing God to heal us. Just as with Amy, we can ask God to enlighten us with the understanding that we need to fully forgive from our hearts. We simply need to make the choice to be open to forgiveness and reconciliation.
Remember, forgiveness does not justify the deed or the person, it does not provide God's forgiveness for their actions, because only God can do that. While nothing can undo the past, we can do something about the condition of our own present and future. Forgiving others makes a way for our own healing to begin.
If you are willing to forgive, but you are unsure how, consider the prayer below:
Father God, I need your help and your insights. Today I have gained a better understanding of forgiving others and with your help, I fully forgive from my heart. Just as you have freely forgiven me, I forgive them. Father, I ask you to forgive me for hurting others out of my own hurt and to heal my relationships with others. I pray all of this in Jesus' precious name and by whom all forgiveness and healing was made possible. Thank you for loving me in ways I'll never comprehend. In Jesus' name. Amen.
1). What is forgiving to you?
2). Read Mark 11:23; Explain.
3). When it comes to forgiveness, who is God protecting?
4). When we have unforgiving in our heart, what do it do to our hearts?
5). Read 1 John 4:9-10, explain.
6). Read Colossians 3:13, explain.
7). Forgiving starts as a decision of what, and an act of what?
8). God can work better in us when we do what?
9). Forgiving others makes a way for our own what?
10). If you need help in forgiving pray the ending prayer.
Weekly Stay Focus:
Weekly Life Principle:
Weekly Prayer Focus:
Weekly reading assignments: (Hebrews 13)