Faith

My reading took me to Amos 5 where Amos speaks to the Israelites for God. Amos communicates God’s sorrow. The Israelites sin has become a stench to the LORD. No repentance comes from Israel so God turns away. Amos speaks God’s thoughts of doom to the people of Israel. God speaks through Amos saying “Seek me and live.” The LORD wants His people to return to Him. But, first God is a jealous God who will not be ignored. But, second God is a loving and compassionate God who gives second chances to all. God has given Israel chance after chance to return but they refuse to turn away from the idols of their heart. Israel has become their idols and it says in the word ‘but their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, they have eyes, but cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.’ (Psalm 115:4-8) The Israelites trusted in their idols so they became their idols to where they couldn’t see or hear danger; their feet couldn’t run from evil. So, when God sent help in the man Amos to speak truth in their lives to turn from their wicked ways they couldn’t hear or see or utter repentance through their mouths; they had become their idols. The LORD is calling “seek me and live”.

Lord is calling ‘seek me and live” but Israel can’t hear; the flow of God’s words just pass them by without understanding.

Israel is not unlike us because we like our material goods as well. We want the best looking car or we need to build a house too. We have the mentality that what is ‘good for my neighbor is good for me, too’. But, God word says for people who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (1Timothy 6:9-11)

Pursue faithfulness in God: Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1Timothy 6:12) Israel did not fight for their relationship in God but we are called to persevere in faith for our relationship in Christ so that we will claim the prize of eternal life with Him. (Philippians 3:14)

The word says I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasures full. (Proverbs 8:17-21) But, God had conditions to His promises and they were to keep God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) and Israel broke their covenant with God. But, Israel didn’t listen to Amos so reconciliation became judgment.

Amos continued to persevere with words from God to “seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you.” If only Israel would hate evil and seek good then God would save a remnant of Joseph.

A sure indication that you are committed follower of Jesus Christ is your hate of sin and your love for righteousness. Jesus Christ showed us His faithfulness to the truth and His righteous hatred for sin while He walked on this earth. The word says in John 3:19-21 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

Reading further into Amos 7:1-7 the Sovereign LORD was showing Amos a vision of locust on the King’s share of the harvest and Amos cries out “Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” So the LORD relented. “This will not happen,” the LORD said. This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me. The Sovereign LORD was calling judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. Then (Amos) I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” So the LORD relented. “This will not happen either,” the Sovereign LORD said. This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in His hand. The vision showed that God was measuring Israel with a plumb line. A plumb line is a string with a weight on one end it is used in carpentry to make straight a wall. Israel wall was not straight. Israel walk was not obedient to God’s rules. God’s warning has fallen on deaf ears. God uses a shepherd boy from Judah to be a prophet for Israel. Amos cries out to God for Israel but Israel rejects God’s words and is told to “get out, you seer!” Amos was called to Israel by God to be a light in their presence darkness. Have you been called to a place where there is darkness and you are the only light within its walls? Persevere! The things that mark an apostle⎯signs, wonders and miracles⎯were done among you with great perseverance. (2Corinthians 12:12) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) We will not see the end result of our perseverance but know this: nothing is every wasted all is used for the glory of God. (Isaiah 55:11; Numbers 23:19)

In Amos 9:1 I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and He said: “Strike the tops of the pillars so that the thresholds shake. Bring them down on the heads of all the people; those who are left I will kill with the sword. Not one will get away, none will escape.

This is what judgment looks like when you are an enemy of God. God is a merciful and Israel was given chances upon chance to return to God but they loved their sins more. Israel couldn’t hear God’s voice and they forgot who He was. They created their own world where they were number one. They were living in a new utopia where life was surrounded by the love of activity and the worship of things. God was forgotten because life was great. Israel was blessed by God and riches abounded, and with all that God receded into the background until He was totally forgotten.

Israel had depended on their own strength and they have done well; with these thoughts they thought we do not need guidance from this god. Israel forgot who had blessed and protected them. Israel had fallen into the mistake that they were god. The Lord says in His word “you shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

Israel needed to repent and believe again on the LORD. But, they refused to return to the LORD. Israel refused to let go. Israel rejected God’s word. When you fashion idols in your heart and you trust them; you become them. (Psalm 115:8) When warnings come from God and Pastors we say that is not me for we can’t hear truth.  Are ears are stopped up by our idol in our heart and we can’t hear the Lord speaking.

Hear Jesus Christ calling out of the wilderness for you. Repent and believe that Jesus Christ died on a cross for your sins (the idols in your heart) and rose on the third day to be seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. We can’t do this life on our own we need help. Ask Jesus Christ into your life.

Persevere! We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12) We do not want you to fall away to idols but to stay steadfast in the Lord. We want you to triumph. But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. (2Corinthians 2:14)

Thank you, Lord for your faithful pursuing of us. Thank you, Lord that you continue to convict our hearts of our sin. Thank you, Lord for your walk to the cross that cancels my sin.

I pray for your people who struggle with idols of their heart. We ask for your will be done your kingdom come in each life. Open their eyes to see the path they have chosen to walk; which leads to judgment. Open their ears to heed the call of repentance and change before it’s too late. We have all fallen short of the glory of God no one’s perfect not one. Not even you. Help us Lord. In Jesus Christ name, I pray. Amen.

 

THE BONDAGE OF UNFORGIVENESS

“My command is this: Love each other as I HAVE LOVED YOU.” JOHN 15:12

When I read this verse I can’t help but think about the subject of FORGIVENESS (among other things), and here’s why. When we love like Jesus loved, then we begin to FORGIVE like He FORGAVE.

In LUKE 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, FORGIVE THEM, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Here Jesus is being wrongfully punished, like a criminal and yet His prayer to God was to ask Him to FORGIVE these people. This forgiveness could ONLY BE MADE out of LOVE.

His love CAUSED Him to EXTEND FORGIVENESS in the midst of abuse and being mistreated.

When we DO NOT forgive we ARE NOT operating with the same LOVE that Christ had or has.

EMBRACING the fact that Jesus forgives you and I SHOULD give us the STRENGTH to forgive others.

Growing up, I was very fortunate because my dad modeled how to say, “I’m sorry.” But he didn’t stop there. He taught me how to forgive.

Many times my dad would sit me down and admit some fault that he committed against me.

It typically was something like, “I’m sorry that I flew off the handle.” “I’m sorry that I didn’t give you an opportunity to share your side of the story.” “I’m sorry that I spoke to you in that manner.”

My typical knee-jerk response was to tell him it was okay. But he would fire back and tell me it was not okay and then he would solicit something from me. He would ask, “Will you forgive me?” To which I always would say, “Yes” and then he and I would move on from there.

My father’s humility taught me a few things: One, real men admit when they’re wrong. Two, it’s okay to ask for forgiveness, and, three, the IMPORTANCE of granting said forgiveness.

Forgiveness is NOT an easy subject to embrace, simply because it comes with a lot of different emotions. At times we may have difficulty exercising forgiveness. WHY? Because the pain caused by others runs deep.

However, we still need to remember that Jesus said for us to love others as HE HAS LOVED US (JOHN 15:12).

Jesus was all about RECONCILIATION and RESTORATION. He was NOT ABOUT revenge, writing people off, and holding people in bondage to past mistakes.

When we HOLD people hostage to their past behavior, they’re trapped by our bitterness. Our hurt imprisons them to their past mistakes; so they’re jailed. And for some… they may not even know it.

When we DON’T FORGIVE, not only do we hold people hostage to their mistakes, but also, we become IMPRISONED by our very own UNFORGIVENESS. We IMPRISON ourselves to the pain caused by others.

Unforgiveness is like a magnet that draws the enemy in. Satan convinces us that we have the right to be angry (forever) and he stirs the pot of negative emotions, which produces that sick feeling inside, and not only does it imprison others but us as well.

God desires for us to FORGIVE and live FREE from past hurt and bitterness.

Remember, we’re the jailer and we have the “key” of forgiveness. The question is will we CHOOSE to use the key to set others and ourselves free?

God and Diapers

Being Cleaned Up By God

Originally published in “Breaking Free”

I would guess that my actions meet with disapproval at times when I choose to go out of my way to “cater” to my son. I imagine that observers are asking themselves, “Why does a young adult man who is marginally contributing to the family, get the same treatment I get when I do so much more?” I counter this imagined question with my own answer, “unmerited favor.” That favor is extended to each of my children. Now that they are grown and becoming more and more independent it brings me joy when they ask me to do something for them. They don’t always get it but, I do not keep a ledger of “who deserves what”. Who knows that may be what keeps them from coming to me more.

1John1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and cleans us from all unrighteousness. IJohn:8-9 KJV

Today it so happened that my Bible reading was 1John1:8—9 . The picture that came to mind as I read this was changing diapers. I remembered how I changed my babies and cleaned them every time they dirtied their diapers. No matter how many times a day, season after season, I changed them and cleaned them. I didn’t keep track of how many times I had to change and clean them either. (According to the National Association of Diaper Services, that is over 70 Diapers in a week). I think by the third child I realized that learning to use the potty had more to do with how much they wanted to imitate me and their siblings than it did any disapproval or approval from me. According to the Center for Effective Parenting, toilet training is process, that has more to do with a childs readiness, than any battle of the wills. But regardless I am surely not using the fact that I changed and cleaned and cared for my children as babies , as a reason to call in favors or good behavior from them.

In a small way that is how I see the unmerited favor in which God is faithful to forgive us our sin and cleans us from all unrighteousness. Sin is something I am going to do, and it stinks who am I kidding? But, no matter how many times I soil myself, God is willing to clean me off and give me a kiss on the head and a pat on the bottom and send me on my way. I can remember as a toddler, having an “accident” and being old enough to “know better” I tried to hide my soiled clothes…DISASTER. What was different …shame. Maybe that is a reason Jesus tells us that we are to be like little children…Willing to be washed clean!

Phil Reinders had a similar article entitled, “Changing Diapers as an act of Love“. I came across after writing this piece and found it to be worth checking out.

How To Find Happiness – Forgiving Others

Key #4 to Happiness – Forgiving Others

A man was walking with his best friend, someone he had known for a very long time. As they walked, they began to argue about some trivial issue. As they argued, they began to be very angry at one another. The more they argued, the angrier they became. They got so angry at each other that the man lost his temper and shoved his friend away from him. His friend stumbled and fell upon a board, which had a loose, rusty nail sticking up from it. The nail pierced the man’s friend in the back.

The man, immediately sorry for what he had done, picked his friend up and took him home to wash his wound and remove the rusty nail. “I’m so sorry,” he kept saying. “I don’t know what cam over me. Please forgive me!”

“That’s your problem,” his friend said. “You’ve always had a bad temper. I’m going to teach you a lesson. I’m going to leave this rusty nail in my back so that every time you see it you will remember what your bad temper did you me.” Even when the rust nail eventually began to infect the wound in the friend’s back, the friend refused to remove it and continued to remind the man of what he had done and how wrong her was, right up until the day that the infection from the nail finally killed him.

It is so easy to look at this story and say, “How foolish! No one should keep a wound open in their body just so they can hold it over the person who caused it! If that was me, I’d want to get healed as soon as I could!” But hear this, Child of God; every day, in relationships all over the world, people are doing just that to their own spirits, and the rusty nail that pierces them and drains their happiness away is called UNFORGIVENESS.

The Danger of Unforgiveness.

In order to see unforgiveness in it’s proper light, it is first necessary to understand what it means to forgive. In the Greek, the word forgive means: to free fully, relieve, release, dismiss, let die, pardon, divorce, let go, loose, put away, and to set at liberty. The Bible makes it very clear that we as followers of Christ are expected to forgive the wrongs that others may do to us: “And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any.” (Mark 11:25)

Beyond question, then, the Bible expects us to let go of the hard feelings held against someone who has done us wrong, no matter who, why, how, or what. Walking in forgiveness with others is one the believer’s primary keys to finding their happiness in life. When we do not let go of the wrong that has been done against us, but instead hold on to it, then we are walking in unforgiveness.

“So we walk in a little unforgiveness,” someone might say. “It’s only natural; besides, it’s the only way we can protect ourselves from being used and hurt.” Oh, saints, how little we actually know about the function of our own hearts! And how devious is our enemy, who deceives us into hurting others and ourselves in a hundred little ways! How many saints do you know who pride themselves on how they avoid adultery, fornication, murder and idolatry, only to fall prey to unforgiveness, bitterness and lovelessness? How many relationships, friendships and marriages have crumbled and fallen because of unforgiveness? There are too many to count! Out of the many things that damage relationships and spiritual growth, it’s usually the small, seemingly minor attitudes that silently eat away at the foundations until it is too late. “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes” (Song of Solomon 2:15). The “little foxes” of unforgiveness will always spoil the tender fruit of our relationships!

When unforgiveness enters our hearts, it erodes our ability to love, bond and trust, making us cold, bitter and hard. It kills our ability to develop relationships and fellowship with others – even with the Lord God Himself! “But when ye do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:26). Many people hold unforgiveness in their hearts in an effort to hurt the one who first hurt them, not realizing that they are the ones who suffer the most! It is near impossible to find happiness in life when you are holding on to forgiveness.

The Importance of Forgiving.

If you ask most saints what are some of the most important spiritual elements in their life, most will tell you about tongues, spiritual gifts, prophecy, and the Word of God. Very few will include love and forgiveness on their list. But what does the Word of God teach us? How does God want the unsaved to respond to spiritual gifts and prophecy? Beloved, all of these wonderful abilities are intended to draw unsaved souls to God that they might receive one thing: FORGIVENESS of their sins through Jesus Christ!

“Be it known unto you therefore, man and brethren, that through [Jesus] is preached unto you forgiveness of sins, and by Him all that believe are justified from all things.” (Acts 13:38-39)

Saints, forgiveness is not just a side issue in the Christian faith; it is the very center of the gospel message. Jesus was made flesh and blood for this very reason – to break down the wall of separation between man and God, that mankind might be saved from the righteous judgment of God and be forgiven of their sinful acts and delivered from their sinful nature so that they might enjoy intimate fellowship with God!

But if we want to continue receiving forgiveness of sins throughout our life (for truly we will need it!), then God requires one thing of us all – that we completely forgive others like He constantly and completely forgives us.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:31-32, NIV).

The Impact of Unforgiveness.

Despite the clear instructions of scripture, friendships, families, marriages, ministries, and lives are being broken up at a frightening rate. People are turning to divorce, crime drugs, violence and gangs, trying to stop their personal pain and find their life’s happiness. We are seeing Jesus’ prophecy come true: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matt. 24:12, NIV).

Why is this happening? Counselors and psychiatrists have discovered a common thread – unforgiveness and bitter hearts! Sons and daughters are bitter against absent fathers or negligent mothers; wives are bitter against absent or abusive husbands; fathers are bitter against their own abusive fathers, turning their rage against their own families; women are bitter against men, and children are bitter against their parents. Everyone is holding unforgiveness against those who have hurt them, and the resulting bitterness of heart is eating them up inside. We are seeing a whole generation of bitter, angry, hard-hearted people boiling over with silent rage and unforgiveness!

The worst part about it is Satan is having a field day! Why? Because whenever unforgiveness and bitterness enter our hearts, Satan has a legal right to build a stronghold there!

“If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven – if there was anything to forgive – I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (i.e., methods, devices, and plans)”
(2 Corinthians 2:10-11, NIV).

Paul is saying here that if there exists any occasion where forgiveness is needed in the church, he wants to forgive along with everyone else, for he knows how Satan operates. He knew that every unforgiven offense was an opportunity for Satan to bring the bondage of bitterness, anger, criticalness, strife, and hard heartedness to the offended party. These things would open the door for other tormenting spirits as well! You see, it’s not just about relationships, but about your spiritual and natural health as well. When you do not forgive, your prayers go unanswered, your love grows cold, your natural resistance decreases, your joy and happiness are drained away, your spirit becomes darkened, and every sin you commit goes unforgiven by God until you forgive! Now tell me, is it really worth it?

Five Reasons Why A Person Won’t Forgive.

Someone may say, “But it’s so hard to forgive! You don’t know what they did to me! I just can’t seem to let it go, even though I know I have to!” If this is you, Beloved, then you need to examine yourself closely as to why you as a believer would keep this deadly emotional poison flowing through your system. Here are five reasons why most people will not forgive:

1) They don’t value the relationship. Many people simply refuse to forgive an offender because they no longer value the relationship that they have with them. They are more willing to discard the relationship than to make the effort to restore the relationship. This is due to a lack of love, for without the love of God within us, we cannot see the value that God places in every person on earth! Can you imagine what would happen if God treated us the same way?

2) They are afraid to forgive for fear of being put in a position of weakness and vulnerability with another person. This is the most common reason among those who have been hurt before. They use unforgiveness as a shield to keep distance between themselves and those who have hurt them. They feel safer hiding behind the bitterness and anger rather than letting it go and giving the person another chance, as the Bible instructs them to. The sad part is, they are keeping God out as well, and letting Satan in! Saints, remember this: true, godly love always takes risks, and there is no hurt in this world that God cannot heal!

3) They won’t forgive because pride keeps them from truly seeing themselves in God. Many people will exalt themselves in their own eyes until they treat every offense against them as if it were against God Himself! They see the offender as “unworthy” of their forgiveness or love, not realizing that they themselves are no better than the offender in God’s eyes as long as they hold that grudge. They fail to realize that if Jesus could forgive the sins committed against him during his earthly life and still love his offenders, who are we not to? We must learn to let God be the righteous judge of every sin and get out of His way!

4) They can’t forgive because they are focusing on the wrong image in their minds. Many saints hinder their ability to forgive by constantly thinking on the wrong thing: instead of focusing on the Word of God, the example of Jesus, and guarding themselves against the deception of the enemy, they will focus on the offender, the offense, the words spoken, and the pain experienced. They will rehearse it over and over in their minds, keeping the memories fresh and the wounds sore. Beloved, please listen: as long as you keep talking about it, thinking about it, and hearing about it, you’ll keep hurting over it. Part of forgiving is separating yourself and your pain from the memories of the event – you must put the past behind you, embracing the memory while releasing the pain!

5) They won’t forgive because they don’t understand the damage it does to their hearts. Most everyone who willingly holds onto a grudge does not realize the damage they are doing to themselves. Unforgiveness always leads to bitterness, and bitterness always leads to a hardened heart, one that cannot love or trust anyone. It affects our ability as parents, spouses, and friends. Everyone can tell bitter people; they’re the ones who have become abusive, hard, quick-tempered, stubborn, unfriendly, and cold. The offense may be years gone and long forgotten by the other party, but the impact remains long after the fact. Saints, we must understand this: the only person unforgiveness hurts is the unforgiver!

The Power of Love.

The Battle against unforgiveness is being lost by someone, somewhere, every day. Today it’s like a contagious disease, spreading from marriage to marriage and family to family, leaving behind divorces, broken families, bitter hearts, and painful memories. How can we stop it? The answer is so simple yet so deep that we often overlook it – we must learn to LOVE! Not the warm, fuzzy, teary-eyed lip service love that you see on television of get in many fellowships. But that selfless, aga`pe love of Jesus, the self-sacrificing love that led Him to give His life for us while we were still his enemies, the love that could accept rejection, lashes, beatings, spitting, nails, and a criminal’s cross and still say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Beloved, this is where the real battle for your spiritual life and happiness begins; not over doctrines, denominations, Bible versions, or spiritual gifts, but over who will love and who will hate, who will forgive and who will grow bitter! Oh saints, where are those who can turn the other cheek, who can love their enemies, who can bless those that curse them or spitefully use them? Where are those who can truly, honestly forgive? This is what the world needs to see, hear and experience! This is TRUE spiritual growth and a primary key to finding happiness! This is the nature of the true child of God, one who, like a rose, can take the crushing of this world and still give off the pleasing fragrance of love and forgiveness. This, beloved saints, is the mark of a true believer. Praise God!

How to find happiness – Forgiving Others Exercises:

1)      Make a list of those people who have hurt or wounded you in your life, whether they are alive or have passed away. Include a detailed list of the hurts and wounds inflicted upon you.

2)      Take the time to go before God and ask forgiveness for holding grudges against them; ask Him to remove the offense from your heart. Ask God to wash your heart in the blood of Jesus Christ and to fill you with love for that person. Renounce the Spirit of Unforgiveness, repenting from your heart before the Lord God.

3)      Forgive each offender. Forgive them verbally, out loud. Be specific in what you are forgiving them for. If you have trouble forgiving, review the “Reasons People Will Not Forgive” provided in this lesson. Focus on the impact that unforgiveness could have in your life and ask yourself, “Do I really want this poison in my life? What have I already lost because of unforgiveness? Is it really worth it to damage my own spirit because of this? What blessings am I missing out on because of this?” Now, go back and try again to forgive that person’s hurts against you. Do this for every person on your list and take your time.

(Note: if you still have trouble verbally forgiving this person, this may be a sign that you have developed a demonic stronghold in your life. Ask the Lord God to help you forgive them. You may need to seek deliverance counseling.)

4)      Once you have asked forgiveness from the Lord for harboring unforgiveness, and have verbally forgiven and released each person who has wounded you, now begin to pray a blessing over the life over each person. (Remember, Jesus said to “love those who hate you, bless those who persecute you.”) A sign of true forgiveness from the heart is when we can freely speak a blessing over those who have wounded us and truly mean it from our hearts.

5)      If you still know or have a relationship with someone who has wounded you in the past, it would be wise to go to that person and tell them that you have forgiven them for any trespasses, as well as asking their forgiveness for any sins you may have committed against them. The more hurtful the wound, the necessary this step may become. You may very well free them from the guilt of offending you!

Previous Keys To Happiness Lessons:

How to find Happiness – 15 Lesson Series – Overview

How to find Happiness – Introduction

How to find Happiness – Key #1 – A relationship with God

How to find Happiness – Key #2 – Being Thankful

How to find Happiness  - Key #3 – Learning How to forgive yourself

May you find true happiness, forgive yourself and may God answer your prayers – Amen!

Be Willing to Forgive

Successful People Know How to Forgive

In Genesis 50 we learn that Joseph was able to forgive his brothers, even after all of the terrible things they had done to him.

Genesis 50:15b-17

“What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

Genesis 50:20-21 goes on to explain Joseph’s reasons for forgiving:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

If you recall, Joseph’s brothers were very jealous of him because he was the favored son of the family and  had thrown him in a well and left him there, then they sold him into slavery for 8 ounces of silver. After this, Joseph was jailed in Egypt,  for something that he didn’t do and spent several years in prison. Even after all that Joseph had gone through because of his brothers, he was still able to forgive them and hold no ill will against them.

(for more background see Genesis 37, 39-41)

What else does the bible say about being able to forgive?

2 Chronicles 7:14
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Forgive, we have to realize that we are all sinners, we still have sin and we still do sin. Thus, we always need to not only be aware of it, but also repent from it and seek forgiveness. This is a must, daily act, not just when we think about it, or wait until we are convicted. We must be willing to seek forgiveness daily from God and others!   **

Matthew 6:13-15 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 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 are to forgive others in response to the fact that we have been forgiven. However, the forgiveness we may give to others will never compare to the forgiveness Christ has given us!  **

So, what blocks your seeking forgiveness from Christ and others?

Mark 11:25
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Luke 6:37
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive , and you will be forgiven.

Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

To learn how you feel about forgiveness and forgiving others ask yourself the following questions:     **

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  1. How do I exhibit forgiveness in my daily life?
  2. What can I do to develop a better attitude of forgiveness?
  3. What blocks forgiveness from working and being exhibited in me?
  4. How can I make forgiveness function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress?

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** Selected commentary and questions taken from Into Thy Word

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