The title of this devotion is taken from a sermon that was preached by one of my favorite ministers; Ed Young Jr.
I have been writing blogs/devotions for almost 7 years and I’ve noticed a trend.. I write A LOT about “The REAL F Word”- Forgiveness.
More specifically; UNforgiveness.
I believe the reason that I’m so passionate about the act of forgiveness is that I know the power of unforgiveness in our lives.
The damage of Unforgiveness is almost imaginable and immeasurable. It eats away at us like a form of cancer.
It not only has been proven to cause stress which causes health problems, but it is like a runaway train.. And our spiritual health is tied to the railroad track.
The Bible clearly says that if we DON’T forgive, God won’t forgive us. I’d think that would be self explanatory but so many of us MISS or simply IGNORE that verse.
Why do we NOT forgive? It’s pretty simple.
We were hurt by someone’s actions or words and we deserve better! We know it’s illegal to physically KILL them, so, in order to get back at them, we don’t forgive them and we harbor resentment against them. The problem with that is while we BELIEVE we are hurting THEM by holding a grudge against them, the only one we are REALLY hurting is OUR SELF.
Forgiving the person who hurt us is NOT saying:
1) The offense never happened
2) Our pain is not real
3) We must remain in a close relationship with the offender
All it is saying is “I am forgiving and releasing this person. I will not seek revenge and I will allow God to handle it.”
Here’s a great example of forgiveness…
Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came to him and said, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times! 23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 As he began settling his accounts, a man who owed ten thousand talents was brought to him.25 Because he was not able to repay it, the ord ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, children, and whatever he possessed, and repayment to be made. 26 Then the slave threw himself to the ground before him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you everything.’ 27 The lord had compassion on that slave and released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 After he went out, that same slave found one of his fellow slaves who owed him one hundred silver coins. So he grabbed him by the throat and started to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ 29 Then his fellow slave threw himself down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you.’30 But he refused. Instead, he went out and threw him in prison until he repaid the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were very upset and went and told their lord everything that had taken place.32 Then his lord called the first slave and said to him, ‘Evil slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me! 33 Should you not have shown mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed it to you?’ 34 And in anger his lord turned him over to the prison guards to torture him until he repaid all he owed. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive your brother from your heart.”
See, in the above story, WE are the servant who OWES the debt that WE CANNOT pay. The lord is a picture of God Almighty. Our debt is our SIN debt. On our own, we cannot pay for it. God through Christ’s sacrifice FORGAVE THAT debt. He chose to do so.
Then when we do not forgive those who sin against us, we are again like that servant who demands JUSTICE or payment!
God will NOT forgive us if we do NOT forgive others.
Do I forgive even if the offender doesn’t ask for it? Yes. Yes.
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus died before we were able to ask for forgiveness! So, we must forgive EVEN if the offender doesn’t or CAN’T ask for forgiveness.
Truth: I was picked on a lot growing up. I was a chubby kid and I was “the target” of several bullies in school. My Dad’s answer was “Tell them to meet you outside.” I knew he was just trying to help, but I couldn’t fight 3-4 boys at once. I began starving myself in the 9th grade to lose weight. By the time I was a Senior in High School, I lost almost 70 lbs. Yet, I still saw that “Fat Kid” in the mirror.
There are times that I still call myself “fat” and Yvonne corrects me. Does she get frustrated about it? I’m sure she does, but she wants me to see to see the “real” me.
My pride and ego says “You should go to your High School reunion and show those boys that you’re NOT that fat kid anymore and you still have all your hair!” (Course, my hair has changed colors every other week for years.. thanks to “Just For Men”)
However, I have realized that for many years, I have held a grudge against those boys.
Today, as I write this..I am using “The REAL F Word..” Forgiveness. I forgive them. I haven’t seen them in 25 years or more and today..I give up my resentment and bitterness toward those boys.
Who do YOU need to forgive?
An Ex Spouse?
A Family Member?
Even if it takes you telling yourself everyday that you forgive them, DO IT!
Prayer starter: “Father, Thank you for forgiving me of all I have ever done. I ask you to extend your grace to me as I forgive____________ right now. It’s through Jesus Christ your Son that I declare to you that I no longer seek revenge or hold bitterness against my offender. Amen.”