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?
Of course the enemy will replay our past sins in our mind, but remember you and I have the Spirit of God inside us; therefore, we have the Power at work within us to say thank you Jesus for taking care of that sin and for setting me free from it. Thank you for forgiving me so that I am free to forgive myself and move on… unshackled. Can I get an Amen?
Next, we need to make sure we are not holding a grudge against God. Bad things happen to good people. We are left wondering where God was and why He didn’t step in and stop the pain or suffering from occurring. Why, God why?
What are we to do? There is only one thing we can do in these situations. We must focus on the character of God. He is Good, Faithful, All Loving, Ever-Present, All Powerful, All Knowing, and He is Just and Fair. He is our personal Jehovah Rapha- the Lord Who heals, our Jehovah Shammah-the Lord Who is there with us, our Jehovah Jireh- the Lord Who provides, our El Roi-The Lord Who sees, and our Jehovah Nissi- The Lord our Banner of victory. And He promises He is our greatest Advocate; He works everything out for our good when we give IT ALL to Him. The hard truth is that whatever hurt us didn’t slip by our Lord and Protector; He allowed it because there is great good to be birthed from it if we give it all to Him. Will you determine to give it ALL to Him and let Him work good from your past hurts? He loves you to pieces and He desires nothing but good for you. That is a promise from Him. Can you share a time when the Lord worked good from your past mistakes or sins others committed against you?