Another wonderful week comes to an end, autumn is among us and it’s finally getting cooler in the sunshine state. God is truly blessing Elizabeth, Grace and I as pieces of our puzzle are coming together more beautifully than we ever imagined. Not that everything around us is perfect but our lives are absolutely better than we deserve.
One of the issues we are having to deal with involves an old time friend who turned out to be a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing. A liar, a thief and an opportunist, this person continues to infiltrate our entourage posing as a believer. Violating the law and in clear contradiction with God’s word, this individual is using Christians to fulfill a childhood dream turned obsession.
What are we to do about such a person? Contact the authorities? Take legal action? Confront him?
I say none of the above. Instead, I choose to pray, trusting that God is fair and just. I advise you to do the same when you feel betrayed by friends or family.
I also invite you to forgive as God commands us to in His word. Remember He’s forgiven us and in turn, we are asked to forgive those who trespass us. Here are a few verses about forgiveness:
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12-15)
It is important to remember forgiveness doesn’t mean no harm was done. Forgiving someone involves first putting blame on that person for doing something deliberate. Let’s be clear on blame here. An accident does not require forgiveness since there was no intention involved however, when we can absolutely point an individual responsible for wrong doing, this is when forgiveness is necessary.
Trusting that God will decide the consequences of their actions, those forgiven face greater judgment than we can ever conceive as mortals. Never underestimate the wrath of God!
Do not let yourself be consumed by hurt brought on by those who do you wrong. More importantly, do not wait until God punishes them to get closure on the issue. Find healing in forgiveness, in prayer.
As Christians, one of the hardest choice we are called to make involves forgiveness. Often, the pain is just too intense, the crime too horrible. As human beings, we instinctively feel driven toward revenge however we must also remember our instincts are often at the root of sin.
The only way we can be free of bitterness and hatred is through forgiveness which turns out to be more a marathon than a sprint. Though forgiveness begins with a conscious decision, the healing process takes time. Often a long time.
What most people refuse to acknowledge is that when we forgive someone, we are the ones who truly benefit from forgiveness as we set ourselves free from hatred, from bitterness and from the fire that consumes those who cannot forgive.
A guide to forgiveness
Here are three steps I invite you to take when you find yourself ready to forgive an offender.
First, acknowledge the pain and express it to God. While in prayer, let God know how much you were hurt and ask Him to heal your heart. ” When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalms 34:17-19)
Second, blame those that did you wrong. Either in person or while in prayer, use their name and word out how and why they hurt you. This will begin the healing process.
Third, cancel the debt. Willfully cancel what is owed to you even if this is a simple apology. Never wait for a consequence or an apology before moving on. Once you have canceled the debt, you have started the journey and are on your way to healing. Then, say “I forgive you” and mean it. As you offer forgiveness, remember an important verse from God’s word: “And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
Now what? Once you have truthfully forgiven your offender, you will feel delivered. The deliverance will continue to grow within your heart until one day, the pain will subside.
One possible step along the healing journey may involve ethics. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean we should allow this person do hurt us again or worse yet, to intentional hurt others. If you know someone is purposely inflicting pain on others or breaking the laws of the land, you must confront them or in some cases, report them to the authorities.
Don’t be a fool! If someone hurts you forgive them and move on. Be careful that you surround yourself with God’s children and flee from evildoers. The hearts of those around you will dictate how much forgiving you will have to do…
We thank you for all that surrounds us, for your love.
We pray you will strengthen our Faith and our minds
So we can live righteous lives walking in your footsteps.
Lord we pray you will continue to guide us in our forgiving journeys
And inspire us to forgive those who have offended us,
Unconditionally, eternally as you have forgiven us.
God please forgive our sins and those of our peers
See us through another week on your magnificent earth
And lead us to everlasting life in Heaven as only you can.
Thank you all mighty God for your presence in our lives.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre