FORGIVENESS........Your Healing Balm when the Offender has gone!



FORGIVENESS:
1. A vital part of successful Christian living
2. It is for our freedom, not the offender
3. The manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit - Love
4. Reasons why we should Forgive
5. Real-life stories - Pastor Offers to Help Man Who Shot Him

Introduction
In the last write up on Forgiveness, we said that Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender, a 'let go' of an offense that flows from a kind-hearted person. 


The courage and willingness to forgive others is a sign of spiritual maturity and the lifestyle of successful Christians.  Forgiveness is not just for us to receive, but also for us to forgive others. The immediate benefit of forgiving other people comes to you, as forgiveness affects your spirit, soul, and body. 

So make the quality decision today to forgive anyone who has wronged you, right now and in the future.  Forgiveness is forbearance, and when you forebear with people and release them from your heart, it brings freedom to your body and spirit.  To forebear means to forgive an offense that was done deliberately to hurt you. To forgive someone who threatened to do evil to you and goes ahead to do it is never easy. 

A manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit - Love
Forgiveness is the manifestation of the fruit of the spirit Love according to Galatians 5:22 and the word of God says those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Forgiveness does not come easy for many,  because if you are in the flesh, you cannot forgive. Before you can forgive someone, you would have crucified the sinful nature in you, all the desires and emotions of sin are gone from you and the Love of God is already working in your life. The love of God is a seed of the Spirit that makes us walk, act and love like God. You were not born with it, it comes upon you after salvation.  

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, the bible says that love is patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth".  

It always protects, trusts, always hopes, always perseveres". This kind of love does not fail. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; and where there is knowledge, it will pass away. Forgiveness is hard if there is no seed of love of God in your heart. Pray for it today. 

Unforgiveness chokes
Unforgiveness, on the other hand, works against your body. Medical science has proven that chronic disease and compromised immune systems can result from a person’s failure to deal with emotional pain, and the best way to deal with emotional pain is to forgive. A lot of physical health complications can result from holding on to offenses with real threats to healthy living.

Dr. Frederic Luskin, the founder of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, notes that forgiveness is for us, not the offender. Max Lucado agrees: “Those who taste God’s grace but refuse to share it are tortured by anger; choked by bitterness and consumed by revenge. But for the one who tastes God’s grace and gives it to others, the reward is a blessed liberation. The prison door is thrown open. And the prisoner set free is yourself. 

This is why I say that forgiveness is a gift we should all embrace for our good and to prolong our lives. The following and more are the reasons why we should forgive others:

Reasons we should forgive

1. Forgive others because you were forgiven  - The forgiveness of sins you receive from the Lord was not because of your righteousness but by grace.  The salvation of your soul means that you have already received the forgiveness of your sins from the Lord.  The Lord expects you to extend the same forgiveness to others. 

2. Forgive so that your prayers are not hindered - In Luke 6:37 Jesus said, “Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” Pretty clear, isn’t it? The forgiveness you receive from the Lord after salvation is dependent on the forgiveness you extend to others. Don’t let unforgiveness prevent you from receiving answers to your prayers.

3. Compassion is beautiful, The merciful receive mercy - The offense may hurt, but remember that there is no perfect person living. Mistakes and wrong judgment happen, so be patient with people.   But remember that forgiveness is two-way traffic. One day you’re going to do something to someone that may bring him so much pain, and you will want to be forgiven. 

The bible says do not let mercy depart from you - for blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy

4. Forgive to Protect Your Spirit and soul - You have to get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander which results from holding offense.  As a born again Christian, you will grieve the Holy Spirit if you hold grudges against people.  Unforgiveness is a killer of destiny for a child of God, redeemed by His blood.  This is because as long as you don't forgive others, your prayers would not be answered by God.  It brings spiritual and physical stagnation. 

5. Forgiveness Creates Peace Of Mind - Whenever you forgive someone from your heart, you release yourself from self-imposed bondage and new things will start happening to you. The peace of mind you have whenever you obey the word of God.

6. Because Life is too short -  The life we live on earth is too short for it to be filled with bitterness and anger arising from people's wrongdoings, which you have recorded and kept in your diary - NO!.  Go and tear those trash and burn them away.  Free your mind and your spirit of any offense, after the offence is passed, and your thinking and rehearsing it cannot help you.

7. Forgiveness is obedience to the Word of God. - Jesus said whosoever hears my words and observe them, it is he that loves Me. The Lord commanded forgiveness and enshrined it in our daily prayer to remind us of the importance of forgiving other people.  When he was asked how many times, we should forgive a person in a day, He says seventy times seven times.  So, every act of forgiveness is an act of obedience.  In Isaiah 1:19, the bible says if you will be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land. Whenever you forgive others, peace of mind, healing and favor come to you.

8. Forgiving and forgetting heals wounds faster
Emotional wounds heal faster when we forgive the offender and forget about the event.  One of the best ways to achieve this is to pray regularly for the good of the offender after you have forgiven him.  The natural thing to do is to pray evil prayers, prayers of judgment on such a person.  

But, if you can forgive him/her and then pray good prayers for him or her, just the same good prayers you pray for yourself and your children, I can assure you whatever emotional pains you had will be gone soonest.

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TRUE LIFE stories - 
1. Pastor Offers to Help Man Who Shot Him

Emanuel Kidega Samson intended to kill at least ten white churchgoers when he attacked the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in September 2017. This according to a prosecutor’s statement Monday in Samson’s trial. During his shooting rampage, he murdered a thirty-eight-year-old woman.

Minister David “Joey” Spann was shot in the chest and in the hand. His wife was shot as well. However, he told reporters, “If I had the opportunity to talk to [Samson], I would. And I would try to help him.” 

2. “I FORGIVE YOU. AND MY FAMILY FORGIVES YOU.” 
In June 2015, Dylann Roof attacked the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charlotte, South Carolina, killing nine people. He later told authorities that he hoped to start a race war. 

The opposite happened.

At Roof’s bond hearing two days later, Rev. Anthony Thompson told the man who murdered his wife, “I forgive you. And my family forgives you. But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent. Confess. Give your life to the One who matters most: Jesus Christ, so that He can change it and change your attitude. And no matter what happens to you, then you’ll be OK. Do that and you’ll be better off than you are right now.” 

Several other family members at the hearing offered their forgiveness as well. 

City and state police prepared for racial riots, fearing the bloodshed and violence witnessed in Ferguson, Baltimore, Berkeley, and other cities following racially motivated crimes. But Charleston responded with acts of love, kindness, and grace. 

Makeshift flower memorials grew in front of Emanuel Church. Donors pledged thousands of dollars to help the victims’ families. Thousands gathered for an evening vigil and prayer service. More than fifteen thousand people of all colors and faiths joined hands to create a human bridge that stretched for two miles. 

The forgiveness Rev. Thompson and other family members offered Dylann Roof became a model the entire city followed. 

3. WHAT FORGIVENESS IS AND IS NOT

As we discussed yesterday, Christians can expect opposition to biblical values to escalate in the coming years. One aspect of “speaking the truth in love” is choosing to forgive those who attack our faith (Ephesians 4:15). 

Biblical forgiveness is giving the person who hurt us to our Father and trusts him for what is best (Romans 12:19). 

As Lewis Smedes explains in his classic, Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve, biblical forgiveness is not excusing what happened, pretending it didn’t happen or forgetting that it happened. It is pardoning, choosing not to punish. It is giving the person who hurt us to our Father and trusts him for what is best (Romans 12:19). 

One reason God calls us to forgive is that such grace gives to others what we have received from our Lord. We are to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). This is why Rev. Thompson forgave Dylann Roof: “Scripture tells me that I am a sinner, forgiven by Christ, and saved by grace. Therefore, I am obliged to forgive others who hurt me.” 

4. A $5,000 MISTAKE 
A second reason to forgive others is that such grace is a powerful component of our public witness. 

A customer at a steakhouse in Manchester, England, ordered a bottle of wine that cost about $290. A manager mistakenly selected a bottle worth more than $5,000.

The restaurant’s co-owner later tweeted: “To the customer who accidentally got given a bottle of Chateau le Pin Pomerol 2001, which is £4500 on our menu, last night – hope you enjoyed your evening! To the member of staff who accidentally gave it away, chin up! One-off mistakes happen and we love you anyway.” The tweet got more than 31,000 likes. 

What do Joseph, Moses, Jesus, and Stephen have in common? They each forgave those who harmed them (Genesis 50:20–21; Numbers 21:5–7; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). What else do they have in common? Their godly witness changed the world. 

5. “THE PRISONER SET FREE IS YOURSELF” 

A third reason to forgive others is that such forgiveness frees us from an endless cycle of anger and vengeance. 

Writing for the New York Times, Tim Herrera urges us to “let go of your grudges.” He cites research by the American Psychological Association that correlates anger in old age with higher levels of inflammation and chronic illness. Another study shows that anger reduces our ability to see things from other people’s perspectives.  

FIRE...









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