Yesterday was Part ONE of our latest series entitled, “FORGIVENESS”. Click here to view the message and message notes. In my opinion, FORGIVENESS is probably the most controversial topic in the Christian world. Why? Because we’ll at least talk about homosexuality, racism, alcohol, and money. We won’t even bring up FORGIVENESS. We just stay silent and hope no one brings it up. The only problem is it’s a universal topic. It’s one of the few things we all struggle with.
Everyone deals with unforgiveness, offense, bitterness, and holding grudges. If you haven’t chances are you have not loved anyone enough yet to let them on the inside of your walls. From the first time someone took away your favorite blanket as a baby till now, there have probably been many opportunities for you to need FORGIVENESS in your life.
HERE ARE SOME MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT FORGIVENESS>>>
1. It’s not a big deal.
No way! Of course it was a big deal. FORGIVENESS is not saying what happened was not a big deal.
God is NOT saying, “Get over it.” He is saying, “I can help you get passed it.”
2. I’ll deal with it my own way.
Most of the time when someone says that it just mean they’d rather kick it down the road to be dealt with another day. Time DOES NOT heal all wounds. The only way to be free from bitterness is to deal with it now.
3. I don’t have to forgive until they ask. That’s what Jesus did.
Not so. Jesus died for our sins (John 3:16) long before you or I were born. He did that before we asked. forgiveness is about your relationship with God not your relationship with them. The only person you are hurting with your grudge is you.
4. They don’t deserve it.
Neither did we but Jesus chose to forgive us. FORGIVENESS is not about what they deserve. It’s about allowing God to set us free.
5. Forgiveness means I have to let them back in my life.
Absolutely not. There is something to be said for reconciliation but that’s simply not possible in many cases. Many times, it’s better to keep a distance unless you both have had a major life change and now the environment is healthy for everyone involved. The world is a big place. Go hang out with someone else.
DISCLAIMER: That can be a lot more complicated if the person who hurt you is a family member. That still doesn’t mean you have to let them back into your life. If you are being abused, seek help right now.
6. Forgiveness means I have to condone what they did.
Absolutely not. FORGIVENESS is not agreeing with them. FORGIVENESS is not allowing yourself to be defined by what happened to you. Doing nothing comes more closely to condoning.
7. Forgiveness means I’m weak.
Nope. It takes way more courage and strength to rise above something. Just ask Batman.
Seriously though. A weak person holds a grudge. A strong person allows God to come into their life and set them free.
8. Forgiveness is about them and me.
FORGIVENESS is about your relationship with God not with them.
9. Forgiveness means I have to act like it didn’t happen.
Nope. Once again, it’s not condoning what happened. It’s okay to remember. As a matter of fact, you may find that it can one day become an amazing tool to help others.
10. I cannot forgive.
This one is actually TRUE. You may not be able to. That’s okay. God never intended you to have to go through this alone. Jesus died alone on the cross so you never had to be alone again. If you feel like you cannot forgive, remember that through Christ’s strength we can do anything. (Phil. 3:14)
HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FORGIVENESS>>>
1. FORGIVENESS is a CHOICE.
Unforgiveness, bitterness, hurt, hatred, etc… has a lot of emotion attached to it. Therefore, many people think you have to “FEEL IT” in order to forgive someone. Forgiveness is actually a decision you make. The honest true is you may make the choice to forgive and still feel like strangling them. That’s okay… well not killing someone but feeling upset.
Many people act on their emotions. However we must train ourselves to make decisions and then let our emotions follow.
2. FORGIVENESS is about YOU and GOD not YOU and THEM.
Yes it was “THEM” who hurt you but that’s where their involvement ended. The next part is all about you and God. Your hurt, pain, bitterness, etc… isn’t hurting them. It’s destroying you.
FORGIVENESS says, “God heal me.”
FORGIVENESS says, “God you deal with them.”
FORGIVENESS says, “I refuse to let them control my future anymore.”
3. They don’t have to play a part in your FORGIVENESS journey.
See the answer above.
4. FORGIVENESS is possible but it’s not always easy.
Some people have been taught that forgiveness is the easiest thing ever. Nope. Not for all of us. Forgiveness is a decision we continually make. Depending on what happened, it may take a while to properly walk through all the layers of pain and allow the Holy Spirit to slowly heal us from the inside out.
5. FORGIVENESS is a journey.
See the answer above.
6. FORGIVENESS is a daily commitment.
You can be free from offense and unforgiveness but it does not happen by accident. It’s a daily decision.
I can’t wait to share the next step and a major secret to getting free and staying free this Sunday at RLC!