Forgiveness 3

I don’t want us to brush past this important part of the journey. We need to take some active steps to deal with unforgiveness  before we move on. This is not a one off act but we will need to deal with it again when it crops up in the future. We are always learning how to forgive others.

Forgiving someone has to be act of the will. Quite often the person you must forgive may already be dead. These people are often the most difficult to forgive, but are the most important. There may be people from situations in your life which you may feel are impossible to forgive, or ones that you simply refuse to forgive, or even ones that you say you just cannot forgive since they have caused you such deep pain. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring you to a place where you are enabled to make the choice to forgive. He will reveal to you all the people and situations which make forgiveness necessary.

Today : Sit down and take your time doing this exercise. With each of the names written down in your travel log pray through this prayer. It might help to visual the person in the room sat in front of you as you pray.

“ —(insert the name)—- I forgive you for all you have done to me. I release you to the grace of God.  I break agreement with bitterness  dwelling in me. I now breathe in your love and forgiveness God”

After you have let go sit down and refresh yourself in God’s presence. Perhaps listen to some music, or just wait quietly.

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Forgiveness 2

Forgiveness lesson from flowers

Forgiveness lesson from flowers (Photo credit: juliejordanscott)

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. Matthew 6:14-15

Forgiveness is a choice and vital to our relationship with God. Unforgiveness determines intimacy with our Father and feeds rejection. Harbouring any unforgiveness or unconfessed sins will definitely hinder our spiritual growth and communication with God.

Unforgiveness can be detrimental to our physical and spiritual wellbeing. It can manifest itself as depression, anger, hatred, resentment and bitterness etc. It can cause physical ailments, all of which rob us of peace and joy.

We need to invite the Holy Spirit to remove weeds form the garden of our hearts. We can ask him to search our hearts as David did in Psalms 139 and He will look for any hurt, wounds or pain that the enemy would seek to exploit through unforgiveness. We must not do our own digging. It is important to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal:

1.        Any unconfessed sin

2.        Any unforgiveness of others

3.        Any unforgiveness of self

4.        Any ungoldly beliefs (lies you have believed)

It is helpful to make a list of all the people and situations that have ever caused you

Hurt, Pain, Fear, Resentment, Jealously, Shame, Rejection, Loneliness, Anger, Guilt, Dishonour

Don’t forget to put you own name and God’s name at the top of the list. This is very important!

Unforgiveness is a doorway for Satan to come in , gain a foothold and take control in certain areas of your life, and even the lives of family members. Forgiveness closes the doorways to the enemy which is vital before the house or temple can be cleansed and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Today: Spend some time with God and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any body in your life who needs forgiving. This includes forgiving God or yourself. We will look at what to pray in more detail tommorrow

Forgiveness 1

For few days we will be looking at  the power of  forgiveness – the answer to bitterness

World Without End (Follett novel)

World Without End (Follett novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I start with a personal revelation whilst watching World Without End by Ken Follet. In the last episode there is a scene where the wicked Petranilla (who had killed many for the sake of ambition) was in a room with the heroine, Caris. Petranilla had killed Caris’ mother, father, best friend and tried to burn Caris at the stake. When Petranilla realises all her evil plans had turned against her she takes some poison to kill herself and Caris has her chance for revenge. I found myself seething with anger at this venomous character and wanted Caris to make her move. Caris, however, turns to her enemy looks her in the eye and says “I forgive you” and then starts praying for her. I was moved to tears and thought “so this is what it looks like to be truly powerful”.

 

Here are some key thoughts on how to be powerful in forgiveness.

•        God recognises that we have been treated badly

‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.’ Genesis 50:17

•        He sees our tears

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

•        Forgiveness always costs

They are to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the wrong they have committed unintentionally, and they will be forgiven. Leviticus 5:18

•        We are not to forget the sacrifice God made for us to be forgiven

“who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit  and crowns you with love and compassion”, Psalm 103:2-4

“I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” Hebrews 8:12

•        God forgives as we forgive

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15

•        Forgiveness is as powerful as a healing

Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? Mark 2:9

•        God wants us to forgive others much as we have been forgiven much

Read the parable of the unforgiving servant  – Matthew 18:21

Today: think about the the attitude of heart that Jesus encourages where one person freely forgives another (Matthew 18:22). This is what a powerful person looks like in action.

The Oasis of Marah

The pre-requisite to the fullness of the adventure, for the Israelites, was a visit to the oasis of Marah (Exodus 15:22ff)

The Israelites had suffered emotionally and physically after a life of slavery in Egypt. The atrocities they had experienced , the injustices they had seen the oppression they had carried would have taken its toll on all the people. The  Egyptians  were without mercy, ruthless, oppressive and systematically butchered the Israelite children  (Exodus 1:13- 14) It says in verse 14 that the Egyptians made their life bitter, this was a culture where bitterness was rife.

Now at the beginning of a new journey God wants to give his people a fresh start. He wants to take away all the bitterness and heal their hearts (I am the Lord who heals you Exodus 15:26)

Bitterness comes in our lives when we have had unwanted experiences – failures, disappointments, setbacks or loss – that are perceived to be beyond our control. Bitterness occurs when one believes, rightly or wrongly, that other people could have prevented the undesired outcome. Regret involves blaming oneself. Bitterness, much like other negative emotions, could bring on illness.

Why do we want to hold onto bitterness? It is because the letting go of something that has affronted and hurt us down to our very core is hard. What we don’t always realise is that our core, whilst hosting bitterness, becomes full of spiritually rotting, putrid slime. This seeps into our thought world, sleep time and daily living. We find that if someone presses a sore place in our heart we explode into anger spewing this rancid acid out damaging those around. For some of us we implode  swallowing this gunk back down to our stomachs making us feel sick and a burning pain within.

In the passage in Exodus 15 we find that the way to heal bitterness was to through a pieceDSCN0611 of wood in the water that God had chosen. This is a picture of the healing the cross brings to our lives. We are healed because he gave his live for ours.

Today: Let us look how entering freedom means we leave the past behind. Think of situations where you may still feel bitter about the past. Tomorrow we will start to look on Monday at the process of healing bitterness.