LESSON 22 - Forgiveness
Ben shares from years of walking out forgiveness in the local church setting. God is Holy (He forgives and so must you) – God is Holy and you are called to be just like Him; He forgives you; therefore, you must forgive others.
“…Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:31-32)
The truth about forgiveness and the consequences of not forgiving others:
God is Holy (He forgives and so must you) – God is Holy and you are called to be just like Him; He forgives you; therefore, you must forgive others. God told Moses He was “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin (Exo. 34:5-7).
God grants forgiveness – God wants to bring you forgiveness! God wants an eternal relationship with you; He delights in Mercy not sacrifice (Micah 7:18)! If you sin, God does not want you trapped in your sin; instead He wants you to repent, washing you clean in His Mercy (Loving-Kindness). Old Testament - when you sinned, you would bring your sin offering before a priest and they would make atonement for you. New Testament – when you sin, Jesus is the sacrifice, His blood acquits and redeems you. Therefore, Jesus is the perfect Priest and sacrifice that brings you to the Father for atonement, and then Father FORGIVES you and washes you in Mercy.
You must forgive others – Jesus taught us to pray for forgiveness and shared the consequences of not forgiving others. He said, “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors…“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:12-15).
Dealing with those that sin against you – (1) “…go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother (2) But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’(3) And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. (4) But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector (Matt. 18:15-19). The prayer for “binding and loosing” (verse 19) should be understood in context of Christian unity; Christian unity is linked to your forgiving correctly.
Consequences if you don’t forgive – Jesus had compassion on you and forgave you, “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.” You must also forgive those that are indebted to you (who have done you wrong) or you will be thrown into living torment until you can repay (Matt. 18:21-35). You have a “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:16-21).
Pray for forgiveness – God calls you to ask or “pray” for forgiveness from sin; personal and corporate life“…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14; Dan. 9:19; Joel 2:12-17; Amos 7:2; Matt. 6:5-15; Matt. 11:25).
Forgiveness vs. justice – Forgiveness is not giving up your Justice. When you forgive someone, you’re giving the pain to God and asking Him, the Just Fair Judge, to bring Heavenly Justice, which will be a merciful and Just Judgment; God desires that none would perish, but all would come to repentance (2 Pt. 3:9). Asking forgiveness and forgiving another allows God’s love to grow in you (Lu. 7:47).
How to get forgiveness from God (Questions: what do you need forgiveness from?)
1. Repent – (1) Tell God you are sorry (2) you are wrong (3) you don’t want to do it again.
2. Change – ask Him how you can change your ways; “worthy of repentance” (Lu. 3:8)
How to forgive another: (Questions: Who do you need to forgive? Maybe write a list out.)
1. Talk to God – dialogue with God, ask Him to expose anything in your heart.
2. Matthew 18 – go to a brother or sister that has hurt you and follow the Matt.18 path (see above).
3. Forgive them – make sure to forgive them face-to-face, where you verbally say “I forgive you for ___________” (do not go face-to-face if your life's in danger, or the situation is to painful; Instead, write a letter).
4. “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt. 5:43-45).
5. Ask them to forgive you – this is crucial to a healthy community and John 17 unity.
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