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Issues about Forgiving

What is forgiveness? Define – forgiveness

  1. What forgiveness is NOT:

    1. Forgetting

    2. Condoning

    3. Absolution

    4. Form of self-sacrifice

    5. Sign of weakness

    6. Excusing the bad behavior

    7. Tolerance of their actions

    8. Accepting people as they are

  2. What forgiveness IS:

    1. Form of realism

    2. Sign of positive self-esteem

    3. Letting go of guilt

    4. No longer wanting to punish those who hurt us

    5. Moving on

Can I forgive AND forget?

  1. See above – forgiveness is NOT forgetting

  2. We do not have the ability to “erase” our memory

  3. We can “remember” to forget (not hold it against them)

  4. Greek word – “aphiemi”

    1. to send away

    2. not hold against them

    3. no hold it over their head

    4. to let go, send forth, let it be (Thayer)

    5. to give up a debt, release from debt

    6. Translated in KJV – leave, forsake, forgive, remit, suffer

Are there steps or stages to forgiving others?

  1. Four stages of forgiving

    1. We Hurt- The cause may be real or imagined, but the pain is real

    2. We Hate – With pain comes anger

    3. We Heal Ourselves – we must learn to “get over it”

    4. We Come Together -Some sense of restoration of the relationship

  2. In Ultimate Sense – ONLY God can forgive

    1. Preacher, elders, members can not forgive – wipe out of the record

    2. Only God can clean the slate

    3. Jeremiah 31:34

  3. Forgiving each other comes in four ways

    1. Forgiving those who repent and ask for forgiveness

      1. Luke 17:3-4

    2. Forgiving those who do not (or will not) seek forgiveness

      1. Jesus on the cross – Luke 23:34

      2. Stephen at his stoning – Acts 7:60

      3. Some will not repent – Our forgiveness is for our ability to move on; not for the unrepentant.

      4. This forgiveness does not benefit the offender, just the offended.

    3. Forgiving the invisible

      1. Parents who died, Those gone from our lives, no way to contact,

      2. The factory that fired you,

      3. Dense people who don't comprehend the harm they have done

    4. Forgiving ourselves for our sins

      1. Psalm 51:3 - “my sin is ever before me”

      2. We must stop punishing ourselves – forgive and move on

God can take back our forgiveness – Matthew 18:21-35

  1. King settle accounts

  2. One owes him several million – seeks mercy and is forgiven of the debt

  3. Fellow worker owes a few dollars – has him thrown in jail

  4. King learns of this – takes back the forgiveness – puts him in jail

  5. Verse 35 – This is what God will do to you

How to forgive – Practical Advice

  1. Slowly

  2. With some understanding

  3. Never fully understanding

  4. With some anger left over

  5. A little at a time

  6. Freely, or not at all

  7. NOT:

    1. Trigger happy – too quickly

    2. Stalking forgiver – some look for opportunity to forgive

    3. Entrapments – Set you up so they can forgive you

Why should we forgive?

  1. Makes life fairer, better, happier

  2. Forgiving is a better risk – worth the risk

  3. Forgiving is stronger

  4. Forgiving is for faulty people

  5. Matthew 6:14-15


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