I forgive myself and I hold no grudges against You, God…..
Last week we talked about forgiving deep wounds of hurt and betrayal. God gives us time to process forgiveness, the desire and strength to forgive and the grace we need if we choose to move forward forgiving the offender. One of my favorite things about this God that we worship is that He is a God of clarity and not a God of confusion. When Jesus was teaching the disciples how to pray in Matthew 6 he told them, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” In other words, this is to be top priority in your life as a follower of Jesus. Unforgiving hearts are hearts not connected to their Jesus; intimacy is broken and blessings are forsaken. I don’t want that and I know you don’t want that either. Unforgiveness is a great barrier to receiving God’s love for you. I don’t know about you, but I want His love in my life, I want to slosh around in His love, I need His love because that is where I find meaning and contentment in this fallen world. Let’s make sure we are not letting any unforgiveness get in the way of receiving His love and all that He has planned and purposed for us.
Firstly, have you forgiven yourself? We all do things we are not proud of; we all fall short and sin. Paul is our great example in this area. He had a hand in killing those who claimed Jesus. Can you imagine the guilt Paul felt after he encountered Jesus and recognized the Truth! Paul; being a Pharisee, knew the Word of God and he no doubt prayed Psalm 51:7 Abba Father, cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Paul knew he was justified before the Lord. Justification is a theological term used to explain what happens to us when we become children of God. Justification simply means I am guiltless in the eyes of God through the blood of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice washed away all my sins once and for all; it is finished. I stand before God as if I had never sinned. Wow, now that is what I call grace! Paul believed this in his heart and was able to write for our encouragement Romans 8:1 There is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ. Believer, we have nothing to feel guilty about, we have been washed clean. Do you feel clean? You are clean if you are a daughter or son of God! Will you thank Jesus right now for setting you free of all guilt, shame and condemnation?
I forgive you.
These three little words are hard for us humans to say and mean in our heart of hearts.
Why does the Lord require forgiveness of His followers? Why is it so hard and why is it so important? Do you have someone in your life that you need to forgive? It is difficult because the reason you need to forgive them is because they hurt you!
I was recently reading Joseph’s story again in Genesis; there are 14 chapters devoted to Joseph so our Lord must have considered his story an important one for us. My goodness it spoke to me! Several years ago I knew the Lord was calling me to forgive someone who had deeply wounded me. The hurt was layers deep so He began to tell me to fast. It seemed as though my daily bible readings kept talking about fasting, when I listened to Christian radio the topic was often focused on fasting and then I attended a weekend seminar and guess what the lady was talking about, fasting!
Joseph’s story encouraged me so much because although Joseph loved his brothers; when they showed up on his door step after 20 years, it took him awhile to work through forgiveness. It can take us awhile to process forgiveness as well. At first I just couldn’t forgive the person I knew need forgiveness. I didn’t want to forgive and the desire to be angry was much stronger than the desire to forgive them. Like Joseph I needed the Lord’s help and an anointing of His grace to get there.
Deborah Buckingham is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ who lives her life for Him, her family and her great America. She is an activist at heart and is always looking for opportunities to advance the Kingdom of God by sharing truth and love to any who cross her path. Her other passions include politics, health and fitness and hunting down great recipes to share with family and friends around the dinner table.
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