Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Choosing Forgiveness – Part 1

John 5:2-6 Now, there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

Our Friday night small group Bible study group reached the final lesson on the topic of “Forgiveness” and we took a look at the fact that although we cannot change what’s happened in our lives, we can change its effect on us by choosing godly forgiveness. But, to see this clearly, we need to ask ourselves a couple questions to start; (1) “Do you want to be made well?”, and (2) “Are you willing to do what it takes to get better on God’s terms?” or are you determined to try to find healing in your own way and on your own terms? 
Ephesians 4:31-32 gives us two list: 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.” The latter list (involving walking in the spirit, is the means by which we can “put away” the former list, which involves the sinful flesh desires.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

As Believers, we should be open to allowing God to expose any unforgiveness in our lives so that the healing process can be applied. If and when God reveals things, don’t discount them or assume you have already dealt with them. He is showing them to you and I because we may have simply denied them or covered them over, and they have been inside us festering. Our Almighty Maker knows us better than we know ourselves. He is God, who loves us and seeks our highest good. The question is: Are we willing to pray and ask God to do as Psalm 139 says?

Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  

By forgetting, not calling to mind, or not pondering something, we simply “choose” to no longer be influenced or affected by it. God does not ask us to perform some impossible feat of mental and psychological gymnastics to erase the hurts of the past. We cannot change what lies behind us. However, forgiveness changes the effects that will have on our future. Those who dwell constantly on the past know where they have been, but do not know where they are going. The phrase “I press” carries the idea of intense endeavor. The Greeks used this wording to describe a hunter eagerly pursuing his prey. We do not become a winning athlete by listening to lectures, watching instructional movies, reading coaching books, or cheering at the game and determining at the game. We become winning athletes by getting into the game and determining to win. In the same way, you are to press on, determined to overcome the past using the wonderful virtue of true love in action.  

Let's continue this great message on "Forgiveness tomorrow.
In Christ, Brian


Larri said...

Amen. I read (or maybe heard in a sermon?) one time you know you have truly forgiven someone who wronged you when you can lift them in prayer and ask God to heap blessings upon them.

Great post, Brian. Thanks for sharing!

Brian Ray Todd said...

I know what you mean Larri. To forgive is godly because it is not our nature. I can imagine that in the Garden of Eden, before the Fall of Man in Sin, there was nothing to forgive. This side of Eden and Eternity in Heaven, God forgives the Sins of His children (Believers) through His Son Jesus Christ because the debts are paid ... while we were yet sinners. The point in the Scriptures is that we should have the same attitude and compassion in forgiveness of those who trespass (sin) against us. The benefit is realized by both them and us, but seen and approved by our heavenly Father, who forgave us. Excellent comment sister.