FORGIVENESS–THE KEY

Is there a sore spot in your life from which you cannot escape? Someone who hurt you or “did you wrong"? A sibling rivalry that rears up whenever the family gathers? A parent who rejected or abused you? The “desertion” of someone you love–through death, divorce, work or other enforced separation–that has left a pain that will not go away? Is there some situation that you talk about over and over to anyone who will listen, and think about constantly when no one is there to hear? The way to relief and healing is Forgiveness.

When a great wrong has occurred, we often feel that revenge will make us feel better. Those who have gone that route can testify that it does not lessen the pain. Instead it adds guilt to the burden.

You say you don’t get mad; you “get even"? “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19 (KJV).

You say you forgive, but you will not forget. God says, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34. Hebrews 8:12 & 10:17. He chooses to forget. Can you do less? That does not mean that the memory is erased, but that you choose not to dwell on it or bring it up.

You say you are not willing to forgive. The hurt is too great. Just tell God that you are willing to be made willing. He will take care of the rest.

You say you do not feel like you can forgive. Forgiving is a choice you make. Feelings are the cart. Your will is the horse. If you set the horse in motion, the cart will follow. God freely forgives you, but to keep it flowing you must pass it on. ("Freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8.)

What’s in it for you??

  • PEACE! That passes understanding!
  • JOY! Overflowing and full of glory!
  • FREEDOM!
    • From bitterness.
    • From resentment.
    • From fear.
    • From anger and hate.
    • From remembered pain.
    • From sickness.

Sickness?

YES! Unforgiveness makes you sick! Many, many people have received miraculous healing when they have applied the key of forgiveness to their lives.

But how to forgive? It is impossible! The hurt is too great! Yes! But “with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26. Mark 10:27. Luke 18:27. God is your loving Father. He wants to supply all your needs. Tell him you will to forgive and ask him to supply what you lack. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. According to His riches!! Not according to your lack!

Jesus died on a cross over 2000 years ago to buy forgiveness for your sin, your wrong-headedness, your hurtful attitudes. If you had been the only person in the world, he would still have died for you alone. Before you were born, he loved you, and forgave you for every sin you will ever commit. You do not receive it until you acknowledge your sin and ask forgiveness, but it is already set aside with your name on it.

Forgiveness is like flowing water. It must have an open channel to keep flowing. Bitterness, resentment, anger, hurt feelings, etc., block the channel. Life-giving water, blocked up, stagnates and becomes death-dealing. In the Lord’s Prayer we say, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive….” We must keep the channel open.

When someone hurts us accidentally and immediately asks forgiveness, it is easy to forgive. When he does not acknowledge his fault, it is a little harder; but still–it was an accident. But when he deliberately (in our view) hurts, snubs, mocks, scorns, or physically assaults us, we feel justified in our unforgiveness. (When we justify ourselves–Jesus cannot.)

When we set our hearts and minds to follow Jesus, he tells us to take up our crosses daily and die to self in every area of life. (Luke 9:23. 1 Corinthians 15:31.) When we forgive, we die a little each time to self-interest and self-preservation, and make a little more room for Jesus to come into our lives.

Unforgiveness hurts most the one who harbors it. Forgiveness reflects God’s love to the guilty one and releases him to change. A wound can heal over and look okay, while underneath it is festering and poisoning the whole system. Ask God to go through your memories with you and show you where the poison is. Let him lance the festers and pour out his forgiveness on you in the areas where you have sinned. “Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.:” Matthew 5:23-24. Make a list of those the Lord brings to mind. Beginning with the most serious, ask forgiveness (from God and man) and where necessary make restitution. If you are sincere in your efforts, the Lord will enable you to do this. It may take a period of time. Persevere.

And then allow him to move out through you with forgiveness for those who have hurt you. “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him…? Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22. Until it becomes a habit–the best habit you can cultivate.

I have heard and read many testimonies of people who have suffered greatly from criminal assaults or past injustices, who have found peace and freedom in forgiving. You are not responsible for the things that come into your life uninvited. But you are responsible for how you respond to them. Be like an oyster. Use irritations to make pearls. The twelve gates to the New Jerusalem are made of pearl. (Revelation 21:21.)

The choice is yours! You can live in a prison of your own making, forged from bitterness, resentment, and anger at the hand life has dealt you and the people who have hurt you. Or you can use the key of forgiveness to set yourself free to be the mature, upright, and “thoroughly furnished unto all good works:” (2 Timothy 3:17) person God wants you to be.

To Him be all glory for He has shown the way.

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34.

“…They received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11.

December 1986

December 18, 1986

I issue now a call to holiness. Confess you your sins one to another and deny them not. What you refuse to see as sin, I cannot pardon. Use not the standards of men nor excuse sin because you see it in others; but confess your own so that I may pardon you and you may walk uprightly before me. I love you. And I call you unto me even now. Resist not, but come humbly seeking my righteousness to cover your sin and my spirit to remove it.

I would have a holy, righteous and upright people. Will you be among them? This is your invitation issued in my own blood. Come, my children. Receive me unto yourself even now, saith the Lord.