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Girlfriends in God - Oct. 22, 2007

  • 2007 Oct 22
  • COMMENTS

 

October 22, 2007

The Power of Forgiveness

Mary Southerland

 

 

Today’s Truth

“Love keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV)

 

Friend to Friend

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry” is a great line for the movies but a disastrous premise in relationships. When we experience and practice God's forgiveness in relationships, we are planting a hedge of holy protection that is strong.

 

A disciple of Jesus asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive someone when he sins against me.” Jesus responded with the story of a servant who borrowed a large sum of money from his master. When the loan came due, the servant begged the master to forgive the loan – and he did! The servant had a friend who owed him a small amount of money. Forgetting the forgiveness of his master, the servant had his friend thrown into prison. The master was furious and had the servant jailed as well. Jesus ends the story by saying “This is how God will treat us unless we learn to forgive each other.” How can we experience and then apply the power of forgiveness?

 

Step one: We must recognize that we are forgiven.

Matthew 18:27 “The servant's master took pity on him…” (NIV)

 

In this verse, “pity” literally means “compassion or shared sorrow”. I believe the master forgave so easily because he had experienced forgiveness in his own life as a successful leader. Success always involves hurt and rejection. I am certain this master had done wrong things and been wronged but he had also been forgiven and was quick to forgive. Instead of responding to the servant in deserved anger, he responded with undeserved compassion – canceling the debt. We cannot really forgive until we have really been forgiven. Forgiveness was born on a cross where Jesus Christ died, canceling our sin debt. From that cross of forgiveness, He frees us to forgive ourselves and others.

 

I love the story of a little boy standing in front of the Washington Monument. “I want to buy it and I have a quarter,” he told the guard. “That’s not enough,” the guard said. The little boy replied, “I thought you would say that,” pulling nine more cents out of his pocket. The guard looked down at the small boy and said, “You need to understand three things. First, thirty-four cents is not enough. Second, the Washington Monument is not for sale. And third, if you are an American citizen the Washington Monument already belongs to you.”

 

We need to understand three things about God’s forgiveness. We will never be good enough to deserve it. It is not for sale and we cannot earn it. But if we have a personal relationship with God, His forgiveness already belongs to us.

 

Step two: We must be willing to take the initiative.

Matthew 18: 23-24 "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.” (NIV)

 

The master wanted to settle his accounts and initiated the process to do so. It seems so hard to take that first step of forgiveness. Pride stands firmly in the way because, after all, we are the one who has been hurt. It only seems fair that “they” should take that first step. The master had every reason not to forgive the servant since in today’s money the loan would be valued at over ten million dollars. The servant should have come crawling on hands and knees, begging for mercy! But he didn’t! Instead, the master took the initiative and reached out to the servant. Amazing! But what is even more amazing is the fact that God has done the same thing for us! When we could not or would not reach out to Him, He reached out to us in forgiveness. “But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 (NCV)

 

The master kept his accounts settled, recognizing the power of living in “forgiveness gear”. God challenges us to live the same way.

 

Let’s pray

Dear Father, thank you for the precious gift of forgiveness. Help me to live my life in “forgiveness gear”, ready to forgive myself and others. Please uncover any hurts in my life that need forgiveness and help me to be willing to take the initiative in dealing with each one. Amen.

 

Now it’s your turn

Make a list of the sins in your life that need the forgiveness of God. Ask God to forgive you for each one. If you have sinned against someone else, take the first step of reconciliation. If someone has sinned against you, forgive them and go to them in love, seeking restoration.

 

Consider the following questions:

 

What are the rewards of forgiveness?

What are the barriers to forgiveness in my heart?

What are the things for which I cannot forgive myself?

What does that indicate about my understanding of true forgiveness?

Celebrate right now the power of forgiveness in your life.

 

More from the Girls

I really believe that an unforgiving attitude destroys peace and joy. I know. It hurts! But aren’t you tired of clinging to that hurt? Isn’t it time to let it go…and forgive? Today, choose to forgive the one who has held you prisoner for so long…and set yourself free. Need help? Check out Mary’s CD, The Power of Forgiveness.

 

 

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Click here to find out more about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106

www.girlfriendsingod.com 

 

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