Monday, June 21, 2010

Forgiveness Teaching Part 3

In Hebrews 12:15 of the New Testament, the Lord through Paul tells me to be careful, and watch myself.

"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;"

God knew that if I refused to forgive others when they hurt me or those I loved, that unforgiveness would harden within me, and wind up hurting me and others around me.

As I studied the teaching of forgiveness, I ran across some sermon notes that I had taken years ago. This preacher had used the story of King David and Ahithophel (A hith' a fel) to show the effect bitterness can have on me and those around me. It seems that Ahithophel was a court advisor and friend of King David. The King turned to him for advice when he had to make difficult decisions concerning the kingdom and its people. And David was wise to do so. Read what 2 Samuel 16:23 says about the man:

"And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counseled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God."

He was able to study a situation and decide the best course of action to be taken. But something happened between King David and Ahithophel that caused the man to despise the King> He used to work alongside David for the good of the kingdom. Why had he turned traitor and begun advising Absalom. David's son, who was trying to take over as King? If you chase down the references to whom Ahithophel was, and who his son was, you'll find the answer. Ahithophwel was Bathsheba's grandfather!

When King David fell into adultery and then ordered Uriah killed to try to cover his sin, he hurt more than just the man whose wife he took. The ripple effect of sin did it's work throughout the palace. David throughout his life had a heart that was tender to the leading of the Holy Spirit. That's why God loved him so much. When God sent Nathan the prophet to confront the King with his sin, David immediately went to God and confessed, then pleaded for forgiveness. Scripture shows that though there would be consequences he would have to face for that sin, God forgave him--but Ahithophel on the other hand did not.

The story of Ahithophel was not a pretty one. This man fell from having the position of honor in the King's palace, having God-given wisdom in performing his job, to betraying this country and plotting murder. The spirial down was a steep and fast one for him.
How does this apply to me? What do I do when someone hurts me? What if the hurt seems to be on purpose? How do I handle it? I made me stop and think.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


This is the second part of a series of post that will be on forgiveness and how important, not just important, but vital it is for all Christians to have a clear understanding of the teaching. I am hoping that it helps you as much as it has helped me.

Forgiveness Part 2
I understood why my spiritual eyes had to be opened and forgiveness for my sins was so important.

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18

I needed desperately to be brought out of the darkness that Satan had me in. Without the light of understanding I was constantly going the wrong way, stumbling, getting up and starting again; only to start in the wrong direction once more. I realized the wisdom of the Scripture:

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18

Step by step through the study of His Word, God is doing what He said He would do. He is leading me in the paths of righteousness. Giving me the light I need for the path I am on at this time.

I have wondered and questioned God many times why I am not able to see all that I feel that I should see. He answered that question by reminding me that when the children of Israel were crossing the wilderness, the pillar of fire at night (in the darkness) did not light up the entire desert, only the part they the part of the desert they were traveling on at the time.

As I grow in His Word, I begin to see things that I have not seen before, even though I had read and even memorized many of the verses. One of those scriptures is the familiar passage of what has been called: The Lord’s prayer”.

It is found in Matthew 6 and again in Luke 11. In verse 12 of Matthew 6 Jesus himself tells me to ask God to forgive my debts (sin), as I forgive my debtors (those who sin against me). Jesus is saying that I am to ask God to treat me in the same way when I sin against Him, that I treat those who do me wrong, or sin against me.

If you read the same passage in Luke 11, it is translated that I am asking God to forgive me of my sin for (because) I have forgiven everyone who is indebted to me (that means whether they said they were sorry or not!)

Because Luke wrote it in the present tense, using the verb ‘is’ instead of ‘has’, Luke is quoting Jesus as saying, "And forgive us our sins; (why?) for we also forgive everyone that is sinning against us.” The ‘why’ in italics is mine.

That was an eye opener! Why is my forgiving those who hurt me that important to God? Because after I become a child of His, the forgiveness I receive from Him depends to a degree on my actions toward others.

I have two disciples, writing about the same experience. Both disciples are testifying that Jesus gave them this prayer for a pattern so that when they pray they will be asking correctly so that their prayers will be answered. But as I studied, I found that this was not the only reason Jesus told them to pray this way. There is another very important reason that God commands us to forgive as He has forgiven us.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


My relationship with the Lord begins with His forgiveness for my sins; He forgave me of my sins before I ever committed the act of sin. His forgiveness was there during the kiss of betrayal Judas gave, during the trial with Pilate, during the public flogging and the ridicule and disgrace; during His heartbreak when one of His closest friends denied even knowing Him.

During the agony of the crucifixion Jesus forgave that lie I told my teacher in fourth grade. He forgave the rebellion I felt against my parents when I was a two year old and again when I was a teen. Jesus forgave me when I used others to get something I wanted, without thinking of how it would make them feel. Jesus forgave me of laziness, of self-centeredness and the list is far too long to continue.

Those were all symptoms, and He forgave each one. He also forgave me of the cause of all these symptoms which was putting me first before Him. He forgave me of placing myself above The God of all creation: even my own creation in my mother’s womb.

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3

When my spiritual eyes were opened and I realized I had committed the sin of molding myself into my god, and asked Him (Jesus) to forgive me; He then applied the forgiveness He had came and died for so long ago personally to my life. He took me under his wing and began to teach me a better way: His way.

“The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou are come to trust.” Ruth 2:12

When I am slow to learn, or just stubborn and refuse; He corrects me and patiently waits for me to understand and ask forgiveness. He always in His grace is there to apply forgiveness when I am willing to change the wrong behavior.

He began to instruct or teach me to “go and do likewise”. The more I study Jesus, and how He lived, the more important forgiveness stands forward in my relationship with Him: And my relationship with Him is the most important relationship I have.

Because He tells me to learn of Him, (take my yoke upon you) and I obey, I cannot help but know that He has placed a condition on my forgiveness.

His only condition was that I must turn away from my sin of self-worship and ask forgiveness. That was the day He saved my soul. Praise God! I am no longer an orphan without a permanent home. When He applied His forgiveness that day, He gave me a position in His family and a place in His home.

He forgave my sin, and He forgot it: He will never bring my sins, which I committed before my spiritual eyes were open, before me or Him anymore. The burden I carried for so long is forever gone. In the light of eternity, they are remembered no more, but I may still have to deal with the consequences of those forgiven sins.

David knew there were consequences for sin, even forgiven sin. Understanding this he said, after he came to God and repented,

“For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”
Psalm 51: 3

Verse 4 of the same chapter lets me know that David knew when all is said and done, all sin is against a holy God.

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:”
Psalm 51:4a

He acknowledged his sin and repented for it. David also told God that he realized He (God) would be justified with whatever correction He would hand down, and he (David) didn’t want God to find him trying to hide anything from an all knowing God. As you will read in the second part of verse four.

“”that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” Psalm 51:4b

David knew that God wanted to hear the truth from his own lips, although God already knew what David had done. Then in the verses that followed David pleads for mercy to be given along with the justice or the consequences he knew would come as a result of his sin.

The situation David is talking about here in Psalm 51 was something that David had brought upon himself. But there are times when people commit sins against me. Do the rules change? Jesus says, “No”. You can find His thoughts on this in Matthew chapter 18.

The rules are the same. God is no respecter of persons.