The natural progression of unforgiveness goes something like this…

Wrong –>   Offense –>   Hurt –>   Anger –>   Bitterness –>   Producing destructive effects

Forgiving is release.  It is breaking this progression that leads to all the destructive effects.  It is letting the prisoner go and all to many times, that prisoner is myself.  I’m a prisoner to my unforgiveness of others.  The person I refuse to forgive lives rent free in my mind and too often, they don’t even realize they’ve offended us.  But I’m carrying it around with me and I rage and battle against them.  I rehearse speeches for that day when I will confront them and tell them all they’ve done to hurt me.  I avoid them in public or speak ill against them to others hoping – just hoping – they finally get the punishment they are due.

It’s a losing game.  And I’m the one who loses.  I’m the one it eats up.

And God wants me to release it and forgive.  And once I do…

“Like flipping a light switch in a dark room that allows power to flow through the wires and light to fill the room, forgiveness allows God’s grace to flow into a broken relationship and bring healing.”

Now, forgiveness is not forgetting.  It is not overlooking or excusing the offense nor is it rationalizing or justifying what happened.  It is also not taking the blame.  There are consequences for our actions and one of those is that folks tend to remember.  They may forgive you but the memory is there as a protective buffer.  They may forgive you but their guard may forever be up. Forgiveness does not mean they will immediately or fully trust you.  You can’t rail against them for that.  You did it.  One of the consequences of your actions is they may never forget.  But mercifully, they can forgive.

the slides from this morning are here –> Manschool – Wholeness 6 – forgiveness 3  In here, you’ll see some great steps to getting to forgiveness.  Especially the prayer Derrick shared with us …

Lord, I recognize that You have totally forgiven me.  You have commanded me to forgive others just as You have forgiven me.   I chose to forgive _________for _______ (actions and effects).  I ask that you forgive me for not forgiving as You commanded.  Help me to reconcile my relationship with _______.  I choose to release this hurt and anger and I release _________ from any debt owed me.  In the authority and name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I take back any ground I have allowed Satan to gain in my life because of this conflict.  I ask this in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

And lastly, if you want to know what forgiveness looks like, watch these two powerful short videos about a mother who lost her daughter to a drunk driver.  Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…

 

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