Week of: April 18, 2011
Sharing by: Pam Crawford
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.
JUST DO IT!
"Just do it " is definitely a phrase that is easier said then done. Last week we looked at one of Jesus’ commands to honor our parents. By the response I received, it is obvious that this is something many have wrestled with. The intention of that writing was to get us to concentrate on part b of that command, which is to obey the command so that things will go well for us (Exodus 20:12). If you haven’t read it yet, may I encourage you to do so before reading on today?
Forgiving others is probably one of the biggest challenges for many believers and unbelievers alike. Understanding why God places such value on this command to forgive others is something worth studying. In her book Praying God’s Will for Your Life, Stormie Omartian does a really good job at helping others understand that forgiveness is the stairway to wholeness. For the next few weeks I’m going to share from her writing as we explore the value in “Praying to Forgive Yourself, God and others.” I have been so blessed to learn under this teaching, and I pray that you would be open to hearing God’s voice within her words. You may not agree with everything she writes, however there are some really valid points that she learned from her own personal journey to forgiving an abusive mentally ill mother. Her book is designed to help you learn a prayerful walk to spiritual well being and I highly recommend the read. Be blessed.
STAIRWAY TO WHOLENESS
By Stormie Omartian
“Forgiveness leads to life. Unforgiveness is a slow death. Not forgiving someone doesn’t jeopardize your salvation and keep you out of heaven, but it does mean you won’t enjoy all that God has for you. And you may find yourself wandering around outside the center of God’s will.
The first step to forgiving is to receive God’s forgiveness and let its reality penetrate the deepest part of your being. When we realize how much we have been forgiven, it’s easier to understand that we have no right to pass judgment on one another. Being forgiven and released from everything we’ve ever done wrong is such a miraculous gift, how could we refuse to obey God when He asks us to forgive others as He has forgiven us? Easy! We focus our thoughts on the person who has wronged us rather than the God who makes all things right.
Forgiveness is a two-way street: God forgives you, and you forgive others. God forgives you quickly and completely upon your confession of wrongdoing. You are to forgive others quickly and completely, whether they admit failure or not. Most of the time people don’t feel they’ve done anything wrong anyway, and if they do, they certainly don’t want to admit it to you.
Forgiveness is a choice that we make. We base our decision not on what we feel like doing but on what we know is right. I did not feel like forgiving my mother. Instead I chose to forgive her because God’s Word says, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). That verse also says that we shouldn’t judge if we don’t want to be judged ourselves.
I had to understand that God loves my mother as much as he loves me. He loves all people as much as He loves me. He loves the murderer, the rapist, the prostitute, and the thief. And He hates all of their sins as much as He hates ours. He hates murdering raping, whoring, and stealing as much as He hates pride, gossiping, and unforgiveness. We may sit and compare our sins to other people and say, “Mine aren’t so bad,” but God says they all stink, so we shouldn’t worry about whose smell the worst. The most important thing to remember when it comes to forgiving is that forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right; it makes you free.”
Friends, the act of forgiveness frees us to live out our God-given purpose, which the Word tells us is to become more like Christ. We can’t do this if we continue to hold onto unforgiveness. If we allow the poison of bitterness, resentment and offense to continue to reside within our hearts, we might very well miss the blessing. Oh you might have your salvation, and you might think you’re doing just fine without that person in your life, but do you really have a sense of peace? I know from personal experience that I have not. It’s ok for a while but then eventually God stirs something up inside of you that He desires you to respond do. Many of us chose to ignore that prompting. I can tell you from experience it’s not a wise choice.
So what can we do? We can do our part. If there is someone we need to forgive we “just do it.” We don’t worry about the details. We don’t worry whether the other person believes they need to be forgiven or not. We simply chose to forgive, because God says so. On the other hand it may be that you are the one who committed the offense. The same applies. You seek out forgiveness from the person/persons you may have offended intentionally or unintentionally. The Word tells us “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). Unfortunately reconciliation is not always possible and that’s ok. God knows you’re heart and if you have a genuine desire for reconciliation, he’ll handle the rest. We cannot control the response of the other person/persons, but we can control our own. We can please God.
Roman’s 14:19 says “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” And Psalm 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.” Forgiveness is the stairway to obeying God and receiving the blessing of wholeness.
The following is a prayer from Stormie’s book. I encourage you to use it as you work through these steps of freedom.
Prayer to forgive others - Stormie Omartian
“Lord, ________________ has hurt me in this way ______________________. I do not understand why this has happened, but I know that You want me to forgive (him/her). Help me walk in (his/her) shoes and understand what would make (him/her) do or say this. Help me be completely released from all unforgiveness.”
Please remember this is for you. Don’t let anyone continue to rob you from your blessing. Next week Stormie will help us learn to forgive our self and God. Don’t think you have a need to forgive God, may I suggest you stay tuned. It’s an eye opener.
Additional Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:10-11, Luke 6:37, Mark 11:25
In Christ by grace,
In Christ by grace,