Have you come to a place in your life where you feel there is a blockage? Sometimes we face spiritual mountains in our lives because we fail to release the grace of God and forgive those who have hurt us. What is the one thing that keeps us from knowing Gods peace and joy in our lives? What gives Satan the greatest opportunity to defeat us as Christians? Not forgiving one another
See: 2 Cor 2v10-11
We will experience mental torment if we do not forgive from our hearts. Nothing keeps you in bondage to the past more than an unwillingness to forgive
You must let go of the past in order to take hold of the future. If you have been hurt either you hold on to it or you get over it.
You might say: ‘I am the way I am today because of what happened to me in the past…’ God has given you the power to be released from the past, your past can influence you but it doesn’t have to control you.
This morning I want us to look at the power of forgiveness, and by His grace to enable you to step out from under the shadow of your past and stop letting it control the present.
Today I want to help you by the Spirit of God to lay aside what happened to you yesterday as an excuse for what is happening today. If you cannot learn to deal with your past, you will never fulfil your destiny in God. If you hold on to your anger, not only does the devil take your past, but he gets your future
Past hurts…injustice/rejection/false accusation made against you/maybe a loved one who abused you/painful divorce
The Bible says; ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’
In other words, release the grace of God. ‘Gods releasing grace, is that grace in life which causes us to give as we have received, to forgive as we have been forgiven.’
Have you ever noticed a child with a remote-controlled car? Me…I can move it anywhere at will, because there is a mechanism inside the car that responds to a radio control in my hand. Just push the button and off the car goes. But if you disconnect the mechanism inside the car, I could press the button all day and nothing will happen. That is how forgiveness works. As long as you keep it inside of you, it can be triggered by a telephone call, a face in the crowd, a certain song, a date on the calendar, or even a casual comment. What a miserable way to live, no joy no peace, controlled by your past hurts.
Wants the solution? Remove the mechanism. You say, ‘How?’ By forgiving, by letting go. Paul says. ‘Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God forgave you.’
The word forgive literally means ‘to get it out’. It has nothing to do with other person, it is a decision that you must make. If the pain stays within it will kill you…
Why do I need to forgive?
It is required by God (Mt 6v9-15)
We must learn to relate to others on the same basis that God relates to us.
Jesus; ‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins’.
We need to be careful not to apply this wrongly. God relates to us in two ways; as a judge and as a Father. Because you are in Christ your sins are forgiven and there is no longer any issue with God as judge – you are going to heaven if you have accepted Jesus as saviour. What is at stake however, is your relationship with God as Father. If there are people whom you have not forgiven, God won’t let you be comfortable until you do. Your destiny is secure, but you have missed out on your relationship with God here on earth.
It is essential for our own freedom
If we don’t forgive we are held in bondage, held captive to our pain and hurt. Forgiving is the key to inner healing, and that key is in your hands not those who have offended you.
See: Matthew 18v21-35; Matthew 5v23-26 (thrown into prison) held captive…Bitter feelings toward others will be turned over to torturous thoughts, feelings of misery, and unrest within your soul.
If you have been offended, and you have not released the grace of God, your hurt turns inward and leads to you own destruction If you want revenge, if you want justice, if you want to hurt those who have hurt you, you don’t end up hurting those who offended you, you end up hurting yourself. You are the one who is thrown into prison.
Because of the extent of our own forgiveness before God
God’s forgiveness to us makes it possible for us to forgive others. You need to realise how much God has loved you and forgiven you. Our repayment to God was impossible. I owed a debt I could not pay; He paid a debt He did not owe…
Jesus died for my forgiveness. God was merciful toward each one of us…
We are to love and forgive just as God has forgiven us. It all begins with the relationship that God established with us; freely you have received, freely give. We are to relate to other people in exactly the same way that God relates to us. That means giving people what they don’t deserve.
So, that no advantage can be taken of you.
Jesus warns that, if you do not forgive from your heart, you will suffer some kind of spiritual torment. In other words, you are opening a door to the enemy’s influence in your life.
See: Ephesians 4v26-27
What does it mean to forgive from the heart?
What does forgiveness look like?
- When we resist thoughts of revenge (Rom 12v19)
- Don’t seek to do them mischief (1Th 5v15)
- Wish well for them (Lu 6v28)
- Able to pray for them (Mt 5v44)
If we are truly going to forgive, we have to face the pain and the hate that we feel.
A formula: Lord I choose to forgive (name the person)…….for (especially what they did or failed to do)………..which made me feel (verbally tell the Lord every hurt and pain He brings to your mind………….’
We forgive to stop the pain
It is for your sake that you forgive. ‘But you don’t know how much that hurt me.’ Don’t you see that they are still hurting you? How do you stop the pain? By forgiving.
We think that by forgiving someone we let them off the hook, but by not forgiving them we stay hooked to the pain and the past. We are the ones with the hook in us!
What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is not forgetting
People who want to forget all that was done to them will find they cannot do it. Don’t put off forgiving those who have hurt you, hoping the pain will one day go away. Once you choose to forgive someone, then Christ can come and begin to heal you of your hurts. But the healing cannot begin until you first forgive.
You might say ‘God forgets’ The Bible does say ‘I will remember their sins no more’, but the word used doesn’t mean that He forgets, because God is all knowing, He cannot forget. When God says; ‘I will remember your sin no more,’ what He is saying is, I will put it away from me as far as the east is from the west. I will not take the past and use it against you.
If a husband said to his wife, ‘Well two years ago you did this, do you know what he actually said? I haven’t forgiven you. I am still taking the past and using it against you.
So, part of that commitment to forgive is to say, ‘I am going to let that go. I am not going to bring up the past and use it against you ever again.
You can’t get rid of the hurt simply by trying to forget it.
Forgiveness is a choice, a decision of your will
Since God requires you to forgive, it is something you can do. Sometimes it is very hard to forgive someone because we naturally want revenge for the things we suffered. Forgiveness seems to go against our sense of what is right and fair. So, we hold on to our anger, trying to punish people over and over again in our minds for the pain they have caused us.
Forgiveness cannot wait until you feel like forgiving. If you wait until you feel like forgiving, you will never get there. You must make a hard choice to forgive, even if you don’t feel like it. Once you choose to forgive, Satan will lose his power over you, and God will heal those damaged emotions
Forgiveness is not seeking revenge
‘Alright, I know I will never get even but I just want the satisfaction of hating the person who has hurt me.’ Yes – but you lose.
You say. ‘I want revenge.’ But what does God say? See: Romans 12v19
When you choice to forgive, although you are letting the person off your hook, you are not letting them off Gods hook.
Where is the justice? It is in the cross. Christ died once for all, for your sins, my sins, and their sins. That is where justice is. If you remove the cross, it makes no sense at all. God really will demand justice for everything that has been done against you, either it will be paid by the blood of Christ if the person is a Christian, or they will have to face the judgement of God if they are not. God will settle every account someday.
When you choose to forgive, you are taking a step of faith to trust God to be righteous judge who will make everything right in the end by demanding full payment for everything done against you. Nothing will be swept under the carpet.
Forgiveness comes from the heart
Allow God to bring the painful memories to the surface and then acknowledge how you feel towards those who have hurt you. If forgiveness does not touch the emotional core of your life, it will be incomplete. Allow the Holy Spirit to begin to heal those damaged emotions
Forgiveness is to set a captive free and then realise that you were the captive
How can I release the grace of God and forgive?
- Sow love or bitterness. Every seed you plant will bring a new harvest. Other people don’t determine your harvest you do. Decide what kind of harvest you want, then you will know what kind of seed you need to plant
- You must make a decision by faith to apply grace to everyone who has done evil to you
- Forgiveness requires that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind that you put on the mind of Christ. Attitudes are more important than behaviour, because attitudes will determine my behaviour.
- Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to love your enemies. Let the Holy Spirit love others through you. ‘The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit’ Rom 5v5 The Holy Spirit will give us the freedom, the ability, and the incentive and the power to forgive those who sin against us. Because God loved us with a special love, we therefore can love others through the Spirit.
Let’s finish by asking the Holy Spirit to show us whether we have one or more people to forgive and resolving before God to do so.
Pray a prayer along the lines of, ‘Lord will you please show us if there is someone that we need to forgive in order to walk in the freedom you have won for us. (Invite people to indicate to the Lord by standing up, that they are willing to forgive.
Don’t go to another person and say ‘I am willing to forgive you’ they may not know that they have offended you…this is between you and God. If you are the offender that is different. You may need to go to those whom you have offended and say: Sorry I have hurt you please forgive me.’…
Now in your prayer of forgiveness don’t say: ‘Lord I want to forgive’ because that bypasses the hard choice you have to make. Say, ‘Lord, I choose to forgive…’
I choose to forgive_______ (name the person) for what they did or failed to do________, which made me feel, _________ (verbally tell the Lord every hurt and pain He brings to your mind
Conclude your forgiveness of that person by praying aloud:
I choose not to hold on to my resentment. I thank You for setting me free from the bondage of my bitterness. I let go of my rights to seek revenge and ask You to heal my damaged emotions. I now ask you to bless ___________(name the person). In Jesus name.