Forgiveness

Forgiveness!
The problem:  Eph 4:32 and Col3:13 encourage us to forgive others when they hurt us
But how can we forgive those who wrong us? This is not natural… instead our tendency is to collect input from the group.
Read Matt 18 -parable of the debtors
Christ used this example to show that when we wrong someone we in a sense we go into “debt” to them. The Lords prayer also contains the concept of forgiving a “debt” (Matt 6:12-15) .Now what does “debts” have to do with forgiveness. Is it easier to cancel a monetary debt or forgive a hostile or hurtful act?
Lets look a debt for a minute … Lets take a debt test:
1.       What does debt do in a person’s life?
2.       What does being in debt to someone do?
3.       What does having someone in debt to you do?
4.       Who do you “owe”?
5.       Who owes you?
Now most counselors and psychologists agree that debt generally causes stress no matter what side of the debt you are on.
What does scripture say about debt?
Col 3:13 ……… recognize what debt you have had cancelled
Luke 17:3-4 recognize that God wants you to forgive others and cancel their debts
Luke 6:37 ……. forgiveness of others is associated with your forgiveness (also Matt 18)
When someone wrongs us is it easier to forgive them if they “pay” up. If they do not make it right it is very difficult indeed to forgive.
1 John 1:9,      recognize that repentance of the offender paves the way for forgiveness (also Luke 17:3)
Matt 18:15    recognize that forgiveness or the offended paves the way to reconciliation and this is not optional for God’s children. We are responsible to seek it.
Rom 12:9……….recognize for the unrepentant that forgiveness despite lack of repentance moves vengeance from the debtor to God
Col 3:14    recognize that our feelings of forgiveness comes through actions. We choose to forgive and love despite the debt.
 Recognize that cancelling the debt actually benefits both parties.
Summary:
Forgiveness then is the “cancelling” of the debt. Ask yourself what does this person owe me because of what they have done and then “cancel” it for good. (Not to be dredged up in the future). But forgiveness is also not pretending to forgive. It is not a feeling, it is a commitment.

Forgiveness for us is not likely to involve forgetting what happened and depending on the situation we may not desire to “lend” again. But reconciliation is God’s desire for those in His “Body”. He wants us to be united. Division in the Body of Christ injures the whole body.

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