LEARN TO FORGIVE
LEARN TO FORGIVE
Forgiveness is humility: it is what brought Jesus to die for humanity on the cross. We must learn to forgive. It is peace.
LEARN TO FORGIVE
Forgiveness is humility: it is what brought Jesus to die for humanity on the cross, and gave us the greatest gift: Salvation. We must learn to forgive. It is peace.
“We achieve inner health only through forgiveness- the forgiving not only of others, but also of ourselves." Joshua Lot Liebman
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."
Lewis B. Smedes
"I firmly believe a great many prayers are not answered because we are not willing to forgive." D. L Moody.
Forgiveness is an extremely explosive and sensitive issue in human relationship; and touches every area of our lives: in our families, friendships, national politics, and work- life. The ability to forgive enhances our health in a profound way; and balances our emotional life in productive and unimaginable way that will change our lives; and help us to relax more and have rest and peace Jesus promised us.
Unforgiving spirit has destroyed many marriages, a spouse who can't forgive no matter what; families, genuine friendships and relationships ruined because of unforgiving spirit. This human foible has a lot to do with pride. All humans have this tendency to feel our pride or ego has been encroached and stepped upon and we fight to justify ourselves. When our self-will is not gratified under conflict, we create enmity. Then we can't humble ourselves to say I am sorry. It takes a lot of humility to say I am sorry. There is no substitute to peace and rest in life. You can have all the material opulence in life, you can be famous, have intellectual and political ingenuity, but without inner peace, sooner or later, you disintegrate; and fall. You will not reach your goal and destiny. If you can't rule yourself, how can you rule others.
1 What does God's word say about forgiveness?
Jesus warns: “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14.
As we wait for the coming of the Lord as believers, we learn to live in peace with everybody; we learn to forgive and keep ourselves pure from sin, anger and bitterness which are the fruits of unforgiving spirit. Unforgiving spirit will cause you to be sick, and deprive you of your health.
It will deprive you of heaven if you don't make peace with your enemy, and you will not see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14
God will not forgive you if you don't learn to forgive. “But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.” Mathew 6:15
In order to emphasize how relevant forgiveness is to the Lord, He tells a story in Mathew 18 to illustrate how crucial forgiveness is. There was this king whose servant owed him so much money and the king wanted to enslave his servant and family to get back what he owed. The servant cried and pleaded for mercy. The Scripture records: "and the king “was moved with compassion," and forgave his servant.” Thesame servant pardoned steps out and sees a man who owed him only 100 pennies. He treats him harshly and puts him in prison. When the king who pardoned his servant heard this, he was greatly disturbed. The king told his servant who owed him so much to pay all that he owed. Jesus says and concludes:
“So shall my heavenly father do also unto you, if ye from your heart forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.” Mathew 18:15.
God says here If I can go to the cross, die for your sins, why can't you forgive someone else. Jesus did not commit any sin when he died on the cross for us. Why can't we forgive each other? God takes the sin of unforgiving spirit seriously. The disciple Peter asked how many times should I forgive? Jesus says seventy times seven. That means we must learn to forgive at all times as Jesus forgives us all the time. Can you imagine what our lives would be like if God does not forgive us? Who is sinless among us? It is only by God's grace we are not consumed.
2 What happens when you don't forgive?
James 5:16 says: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another that ye may be healed.'
Communication becomes a key factor in this kind of situation. That means if we are honest and open with each other and not bear grudge secretly or openly, and tell each other how we feel, we can learn to forgive. Communication becomes relevant to this kind of openness: whether it is in family, marriage or otherwise. Communicate that someone has hurt you, or what that person does offends you, then you can openly discuss it. If they offended you, they can apologize. Sometimes, we are bitter and angry against those unaware they have hurt us. The human mind is complex and deceitful. I am very quick to ask people if I have offended them if I feel I did. I will quickly ask them to forgive me, even when I know I have not offended them. It is to clear my own conscience. God says let us confess our faults one to another so He can heal us.
The woman who wrote “Heal Your Body,” Louise Hay was sexually abused when she was young. She grew up with the abuse and the unforgiving spirit that associated with it. It ate her body the bitterness and anger, despite the fact that she was a counselor, she couldn't help herself until the doctor told her she had cancer. Her body hasbeen ravaged by cancer and had a little while to live. Of course she did not want to die. She had to do something about it. She told the doctor to give her time to begin therapy. She changed her diet; changed her thought life; gave up resentment, bitterness and unforgiving spirit, and she was healed. That is how she wrote “Heal Your Body.” A small little book that takes few hours to read.
You can heal your body by cleansing yourself of bitterness and unforgiving spirit. Ask the Lord to help you to learn to forgive. To forgive is not easy. It is one of the riches of God's grace. Naturally, it is difficult to forgive those who have hurt us deeply. Naturally, we want to kill and strangle them; we want to avoid them; we speak ill of them; we gossip about them; we hate and despise them. It is not easy to forgive naturally. Only the grace of God can help the believer to forgive, and the believer can only do it through the power of the Holy Spirit. But remember, God has not despised you of your own sins and wickedness towards others. No one can claim they have never hurt anybody. Sometimes, we do it not realizing we have hurt others. The ability to humble yourself and say I am sorry can bring a lot of rest and peace to you.
3 We must also learn to forgive ourselves:
Sometimes, we commit sin or do something terribly wrong. The Lord forgives us, but we can't forgive ourselves. We beat ourselves up; we are hard on ourselves; we hate ourselves; and we refuse to forgive ourselves until we become sick: and the enemy will use it to confuse and bring fear and stress in our lives. Some people have been destroyed this way as they became sick.
If you can't forgive yourself, what makes you think you can forgive others. Behind unforgiving spirit, I say it again is pride. You can't forgive yourself, but remember no man is perfect. It is only through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit are we whatever we shall ever be in life. Our righteousness and goodness do not count before God-it is "filthy rags" before God. So if you fall sometimes, don't beat yourself up. just humble yourself and ask the Lord to forgive you: and learn to forgive yourself when God has forgiven you.
Second Chronicles says: “if my people who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways. Then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.”
God says first thing humility. It takes a lot of humility to forgive. It is the antithesis of pride. At the heart of unforgiving spirit is pride. God says if we would seek after Him, pray to Him, turn from any wicked thing or ways or sin one is indulged in, He will forgive and heal the land. We need healing in our lives. Many of us are sick and the doctors have not been able to help us. The land is polluted with political lies, bitterness and anger, just because of who will be the political leader in the next four years. The filthy human mind is prepared to kill or destroy just because of politics. If the Lord should come now, I wonder how many political leaders will go to heaven with bitterness, hate and anger to undo their political opponents: not realizing Cod has already ordained what He wants to do for His own glory and purposes.
No one can change the times and seasons; no one can exalt a king or bring down a king except the Lord. These are the prerogatives of God. You can skim and plot to be king, leader, but if it is not ordained for you, your plots will fail. God does these things for His glory and purposes. Don't fret yourself into bitterness and anger or kill because of "your political opponent." God's will must be done. Our national politics is full of acrimony, bitterness and hate: hate languages and ridicule. Search your hearts and see that no "root of bitterness is in it.” It will deprive you of heaven. Everybody is not born to lead. Only God makes them who have qualified in His sight, for his purposes and for His glory. It is all about the glory of God and not about us. Even if you feel that leader is unfit, God has a reason for allowing them to be there.
God will heal us if we will get rid of sin in our lives: bitterness and unforgiving spirit. How desperate we need healing! How desperate America and the world need healing! God says get rid of bitterness. It is the cause of murder. When you are bitter, you don't want to see the other person. You hate them. God says if you don't clean yourself of this, you will never enter into my kingdom and you will not be healed. You will become sick. Many today are sick because they just hate somebody, and they don't want to see them: family, friends and political opponents. Many marriages on the rocks because of unforgiving spirit; political acrimony and hate that can fuel murder; family feuds that have lasted for decades. God says I will not hear your prayers, neither will I heal you, nor will you inherit the kingdom of God.
Let us listen to God and learn to forgive. It will open up a more relaxing, friendlier world to us. We will have peace; we will be healed; our hearts will be cleansed of bitterness and hate which can lead to murder. Ask the Lord to help you if you are struggling with unforgiving spirit, bitterness and hate. Just pray and believe in faith He has heard your prayers, and you will be forgiven and healed. God is compassionate and kind. He is always moved when we come in humility to seek for repentance.
A poem written by the writer on forgivess:
A little of this virtue
brightens the home, schools, offices, every corner of the world
A little of this virtue purges my mind, heals my body
sets me free
be my best
None of this virtue
that spurs me to
my life stumps
Rev. Uche Ikpa.
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