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FORGIVE THEM, O MY FATHER-They know not what they do.

Elevation of the Cross, by Rembrandt

Forgive them, O my Father,
They know not what they do.

The Savior spoke in anguish,

As sharp iron nails went through.

No word of anger spoke He

To them that shed His blood,

But prayer and tenderest pity

Large as the love of God.

For me was that compassion,

For me that tender care;

I need His wide forgiveness

As much as any there.

It was my pride and hardness

That hung Him on the tree;

Those cruel nails, O Savior,

Were driven in by me.

And often I have slighted

Thy gentle voice that said:

Forgive me too, Lord Jesus,

I knew not what I did.

O depth of sweet compassion!

O love divine and true!

Save Thou the souls that slight Thee,

And know not what they do.

Words: Ce­cil F. Al­ex­an­der,

in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1875, alt.

http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/f/o/r/forgivet.htm

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Forgive or else!

Jesus taught His followers to include forgiveness in their daily prayers. Along with the request for daily bread, they should pray:

“Forgive us the wrong we have done, as we have forgiven those who have wronged us” (Matthew 6:12 N.E.B.).

Recognizing the brokenness of our world, Jesus taught his followers to anticipate two daily needs:

1. The need to receive forgiveness

2. The need to offer forgiveness.

Jesus knew there would be occasions (daily) when they would sin against God (and need to receive His forgiveness) and occasions when they would be sinned against (and need to offer forgiveness).

If we ignore either one of these needs, the results are personally and relationally destructive. A failure to receive forgiveness results in unresolved guilt. A failure to offer forgiveness results in unresolved anger. Unresolved guilt and unresolved anger are physically, emotionally, and spiritually debilitating. They also easily multiply into other sins because they alienate us from God and other people (Hebrews 12:15).

Forgiving others and God’s forgiveness of your sins

After presenting His guide for daily prayer, Jesus had more to say about forgiveness. Perhaps he sensed a need for additional clarity about just how important forgiveness is to God. Jesus warned, “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” (Matthew 6:14-15).

Forgive, or else!

Does this strike you as a “Forgive, or else…” kind of warning? It certainly qualifies as one of the hard sayings of Jesus. “How can this be?” we ask. Is Jesus teaching that there is a conditional relationship between the forgiveness that we offer to others and the forgiveness we receive from God? Is he saying that God will withhold forgiveness from us if we refuse to forgive others? Yes. This much is clear. In another place, Jesus said, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25).

Quid pro quo

What do you find confusing about  a conditional relationship between your act of forgiving and God’s forgiveness of your sins? Does it appear to teach that we earn or merit God’s forgiveness by forgiving others? Does it contradict a gospel of grace? Is there a quid pro qo arrangement (a favor for a favor) in the gospel? I thought our salvation was based on God’s unmerited favor in Jesus Christ. What Jesus teaches appears to be a works based approach to God.

Don’t confuse the order in the gospel:

The key to resolving what feels like a tension to us is to understand what we receive in the gospel of God’s grace and to keep first things first. In the order of the gospel, forgiveness of our sins is so great that God expects forgiven people to forgive others (See: Matthew 18:23-32; Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:13). God’s forgiveness of our sins then is the basis for our forgiveness of others. So it would look like this: Since God has so graciously forgiven your sins by lovingly bearing the just penalty of them at the cross (II Corinthians 5:18-21), He expects you to forgive as He forgave you. If, in daily experience, as a forgiven disciple of Christ, you refuse to forgive those who sin against you, don’t come talking to God about your need for His forgiveness. This is the order of the gospel.

The Apostle Paul had this order in mind when he wrote: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NLT).

Anger, bitterness……idolatry

We must not gloss over the urgent warning from our Lord in Matthew 6:14-15. The spiritual consequences of withholding forgiveness are significant. In fact, this may be one of the primary reasons why many followers of Christ are not experiencing the joy and fulness of life in Christ. A little root of bitterness is personally troubling and poisonously infectious. When we’ve been hurt we become vulnerable to anger and angry people are vulnerable to bitterness. Anger gains full hold when it turns into bitterness and bitter people are difficult to help. God pictured anger as a vicious animal looking to pounce its’ prey (Genesis 4:6-7).  We must deal with our anger before it becomes bitterness (see: Hebrews 12:15; Ephesians 4:26-27). When bitterness is a fully entrenched condition of the heart, it is more difficult to dislodge.  Bitterness for many people has become a form of idolatry that rules their hearts in place of God. To gain freedom, we must see bitterness as a protective mechanism used to guard our cherished resentments and we must confess it as idolatry.

A bad attitude toward God?

Sometimes the resentments we hold have a subtle line directed at God. After all, God could have changed things but evidently chose not to! But those who stay connected to the Christian community typically conceal their attitude toward God behind a veneer of expected Christian gregariousness. I encounter this often when I travel and teach on forgiveness themes. I am usually approached with general questions about “why God would allow…?” Then, as I probe, I find out that the issue is more personal. We must not take lightly the dangers of allowing our hearts to become resentful toward God. The father in the book of Proverbs warned his son about the danger of a bad attitude toward God. ”My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves” (Proverbs 3:11-12). The father wisely offered advanced notice to his son that life will not always turn out the way you think it should. The father had already told his son to trust God with all of his heart and acknowledge God in all of his ways (proverbs 3:5-6). But when trials and hardships come, and one feels helpless to change his circumstances, God becomes an easy target of a resentful heart. Many centuries later the writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews treated this father’s advice as God’s enduring word to first century believers (see Hebrews 12:1-15). They too stood in danger of misunderstanding their hardships (i. e. hostile treatment from sinful men) and becoming resentful and bitter toward God.

The point:

The teaching of Jesus is a firm reminder that an unforgiving heart contradicts the gospel and disrupts spiritual progress (Philippians 2:12-13). The way out of unforgiveness, resentment and anger is to meditate continuously on the greatness of God’s forgiveness of your sins— on the gospel of grace).

Reflect on these great words:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” “…if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 1:9;2:1-2)

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1-2).

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:8-14).

Note: Don’t confuse forgiveness and reconciliation. Some people struggle to forgive because they think forgiveness always means immediate restoration to an offender. It does not.

Reblogged from Wisdomforlife

http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/forgive-or-else/

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Seven signs of true repentance

How do you work toward reconciliation when you’ve been deeply and perhaps repeatedly hurt by someone? How can you rebuild trust? The first and most important step is to confirm the genuineness of the apology or repentance of the one who hurt you. While it is true that changes to deeply ingrained patters do not occur overnight, certain attitudes are essential to authentic repentance and to hope for change. These attitudes flourish in hearts where God has granted repentance (see: II Timothy 2:25).

Seven signs of genuine confession and repentance: (essential for enablers)

The offender:

  1. Accepts full responsibility for his/her actions (instead of saying, ”Since you think I’ve done something wrong…” or “If  have done anything to offend you…”).

  2. Accepts accountability from others.

  3. Does not continue in the behavior or anything associated with it.

  4. Does not have a defensive attitude about being in the wrong.

  5. Does not have a light attitude toward his or her hurtful behavior.

  6. Does not resent doubts about his/her sincerity- nor the need to demonstrate sincerity. (Especially in cases involving repeated offenses)

  7. Makes restitution wherever necessary.

Restitution gives the offender an opportunity to demonstrate by actions that he or she wishes to be restored to the injured person and to society in general. The harder you work to make restitution and repair any damage you have caused, the easier it will be for others to believe your confession and be reconciled to you. Forgiveness does not necessarily release an offender from responsibility to repair the damages caused by his or her actions. An injured party may exercise mercy and choose to waive the right to restitution, but in many cases making restitution is beneficial even for the offender. Doing so demonstrates remorse, sincerity, and a new attitude, which can strengthen reconciliation. At the same time, it serves to establish lessons that will help the offender avoid similar wrongdoing in the future.

Move forward with caution:

An unrepentant offender will resent your desire to confirm the genuineness of his confession and repentance. He may resort to lines of manipulation.

  • “I guess you can’t find it in yourself to be forgiving.”

  • “You just want to rub it in my face.”

  • “I guess I should expect that you want your revenge.”

  • “Some Christian you are, I thought Christians believed in love and compassion.”

These lines reveal an unrepentant attitude. Don’t be manipulated into avoiding the step of confirming the authenticity of your offender’s confession and repentance.

Use these signs carefully and with prayer. In difficult cases, seek a wise counselor. For genuine reconciliation to occur, you must be as certain as you can of your offender’s repentance—especially in cases involving repeated offenses. It is hard to truly restore a broken relationship when the offender is unclear about his confession and repentance.  Even God will not grant forgiveness to one who is insincere about his confession and repentance. The person who is unwilling to forsake his sin will not find forgiveness with God (Proverbs 28:13).

Only God can read hearts we must evaluate actions. Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16a). We must not be deceived by superficial appearances of repentance. Clear changes in attitude and behavior are the fruit of true repentance.

Steve Cornell

Reblogged from Wisdomforlife

http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2007/07/17/seven-signs-of-true-repentance/

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Moving from Forgiveness to Reconciliation

“He said I am sorry but it’s at least the tenth time! I don’t know what to do. I am told that it’s my Christian duty to forgive and the Lord knows I’ve tried. But each time I forgive him, he changes for a little while and then returns to the same behavior. I have a gut feeling I am handling things the wrong way. He never really changes and I just get more angry. What should I do?”

Sound familiar? I encounter people all the time who are trying to forgive someone who has repeatedly hurt them. They know it’s their Christian duty to forgive but often feel they’re being taken advantage or manipulated. They also have a disturbing sense that they’re enabling the selfish behavior of their offender.

Is there something wrong with this picture? Is this what forgiveness requires? Is it possible to forgive someone while withholding reconciliation from him? There is an urgent need in the Church to learn the differences between forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness is always required by God but it does not always lead to reconciliation.

Forgiveness:

Jesus warned that God will not forgive our sins if we do not forgive those who sin against us (see: Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:25). It’s not that we earn God’s forgiveness by forgiving; instead, God expects forgiven people to forgive (See: Matthew 18:21-35). Yet forgiveness is very different from reconciliation.

It’s possible to forgive someone without offering immediate reconciliation. It’s possible for forgiveness to occur in the context of one’s relationship with God apart from contact with her offender. Reconciliation is focused on restoring broken relationships. Different from forgiveness, restoration is a process and, when trust has been deeply violated, restoration is often a lengthy process.

Reconciliation:

Reconciliation is a process conditioned on the attitude and actions of an offender. Restoring a broken relationship is the goal of reconciliation but those who commit significant and repeated offenses must realize that their actions affect the timing of the process. If genuinely repentant, they will accept this fact with brokenness and humility. Of course, only God can provide the needed strength for embracing the process. 

In some cases, even if an offender confessed his wrong to the one he hurt, and appealed for forgiveness, the offended person could justifiably say, “I forgive you, but it might take some time for me to regain trust and restore our relationship.” The evidence of genuine forgiveness is personal freedom from a vindictive or vengeful response (see: Romans 12:17-21), but not always an immediate restoration of relationship.

Minor offenses:

Forgiveness and reconciliation occur together in relation to minor offenses. In relationships shaped by the gospel, “love covers a multitude of sins” (i.e. offenses)” (I Peter 4:8). Those who withhold restoration over minor offenses are revealing lacking in genuine love based in the gospel (see: Ephesians 4:32-5:1). Where such love is absent, immaturity and manipulation threaten unity. Please take time to review the two principles for resolving conflict here.

When deeply or repeatedly betrayed, however, forgiveness does not necessarily require that one immediately grant the same level of relationship back to an offender. Even when God forgives our sins, He does not promise to remove all consequences created by our actions. Yes, being forgiven, restored, and trusted is an amazing experience, but it’s important for those who hurt others to understand that their attitude and actions will affect the process of rebuilding trust. Words alone are not enough to restore trust in such cases.

When a husband speaks harshly to his wife in a way that is out of character, his acknowledgement of sinning against her should be received with forgiveness and restoration. If he repeatedly speaks this way, he should expect his acknowledgements of wrong to be more difficult to receive. If the pattern continues, his wife could appropriately tell him that she forgives him but will not accept his harshness in the future without consequences. 

When someone has been significantly hurt and feels hesitant about restoration with her offender, it’s both right and wise to look for changes in the offender before allowing reconciliation to begin. This is especially true when the offense has been repeated.

The act of forgiveness surrenders the desire for revenge in the context of one’s relationship with the God who said, ““It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” (Romans 12:19). Forgiveness is first about God. When genuine, the heart of an offended person should be open to the possibility of reconciliation (unless personal or family safety are clearly at risk). Forgiveness requires us to offer a repentant person an opportunity to demonstrate repentance and to regain trust. When a person has repeatedly behaved in a sinfully harmful and irresponsible manner, he must accept the fact that reconciliation will be a slow and difficult process.

Three main considerations in the timing of a process of reconciliation:

  1. The attitude of the offender

  2. The depth of the betrayal

  3. The pattern of the offense (often repeated offenses)

When an offended party works toward reconciliation, the first and most important step is to confirm whether the offender is genuinely repentant (Luke 17:3). An unrepentant offender will resent a desire to confirm the genuineness of his confession and repentance. He might even resort to lines of manipulation.

  • “I guess you can’t find it in yourself to be forgiving.”

  • “You just want to rub it in my face.”

  • “I guess I should expect that you want your revenge.”

  • “I am not the only one who does wrong things, you know?”

  • “Are you some kind of perfect person looking down on me?”

  • “Some Christian you are, I thought Christians believed in love and compassion.”

These lines of manipulation reveal an unrepentant attitude. Don’t be tricked into into avoiding the step of confirming the authenticity of your offender’s confession and repentance. Carefully and prayerfully use the seven signs of true repentance listed below. I highly recommend seeking the guidance of a wise counselor to help you see things clearly — (but only one who understands the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation). Such a counselor can help an injured person establish boundaries and define steps toward reconciliation that are restorative rather than retaliatory.

It’s hard to genuinely restore a broken relationship when an offender is unclear about his confession and repentance. You must be as certain as you can of your offender’s repentance—especially in cases involving repeated offenses or deep betrayals of trust. Even God will not grant forgiveness to one who is insincere about his confession and repentance. The person who is unwilling to forsake his sin will not find forgiveness with God (Proverbs 28:13).

Of course, only God can read hearts –– we must evaluate actions. Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16a). We must not allow superficial appearances of repentance to control our responses. Displays of tears or appearing to be sorry must not become substitutes for clear changes in attitude and behavior.

Seven signs of genuine repentance:

The offender:

  1. Accepts full responsibility for his or her actions. (Instead of: “Since you think I’ve done something wrong…” or “If have done anything to offend you…”).

  2. Welcomes accountability from others.

  3. Does not continue in the hurtful behavior or anything associated with it.

  4. Does not have a defensive attitude about his or her being in the wrong.

  5. Does not have a light attitude toward his or her hurtful behavior.

  6. Does not resent doubts about his or her sincerity – nor the need to demonstrate sincerity — especially in cases involving repeated offenses.

  7. Makes restitution where necessary.

Thought: “If we can restore to full and intimate fellowship with ourselves a sinning and unrepentant brother, we reveal not the depth of our love, but its shallowness, for we are doing what is not for his highest good. Forgiveness which by-passes the need for repentance issues not from love but from sentimentality (John R. W. Stott, Confess Your Sins, p.35).

Ten Guidelines for those hesitant to reconcile:

Those who have been significantly (and repeatedly) hurt are not wrong for feeling hesitant about reconciling with their offenders. When your offender is genuinely repentant, however, it’s important to be open to the possibility of restoration (unless there is a clear issue of safety involved). Jesus spoke about reconciliation with a sense of urgency (see Matthew 5:23-24). If you’re hesitant to reconcile, work through the following ten guidelines with the aid of a wise counselor.

1. Be honest about your motives – Make sure that your desire is to do what pleases God and not to get revenge. Settle the matter of forgiveness (as Joseph did) in the context of your relationship with God. Guidelines for reconciliation should not be retaliatory.

2. Be humble in your attitude – Do not let pride ruin everything. Renounce all vengeful attitudes toward your offender. We are not, for example, to demand that a person earn our forgiveness. The issue is not earning forgiveness, but working toward true reconciliation. This demands humility. Those who focus on retaliation and revenge have allowed self-serving pride to control them.

3. Be prayerful for the one who hurt you – Jesus taught his disciples to pray for those who mistreat them (Luke 6:28). It is amazing how our attitude toward another person can change when we pray for him. Pray also for strength to follow through with reconciliation (see: Hebrews 4:16).

4. Be willing to admit ways you might have contributed to the problem – “Even if you did not start the dispute, your lack of understanding, careless words, impatience, or failure to respond in a loving manner may have aggravated the situation. When this happens, it is easy to behave as though the other person’s sins more than cancel yours, which leaves you with a self- righteous attitude that can retard forgiveness (i.e. relational forgiveness). The best way to overcome this tendency is to prayerfully examine your role in the conflict and then write down everything you have done or failed to do that may have been a factor.” (Ken Sande, The Peacemaker, p. 168). I do not recommend this point to promote the notion of equal or shared blame for all situations.

5. Be honest with the offender – If you need time to absorb the reality of what was said or done, express this honestly to the one who hurt you. Yet we must not use time as a means of manipulation and punishment.

6. Be objective about your hesitancy – Perhaps you have good reasons for being hesitant to reconcile, but they must be objectively stated. Sometimes, for example, repeated confessions and offenses of the same nature make it understandably hard for trust to be rebuilt. This is an objective concern. Clearly define your reasons for doubting your offender’s sincerity.

7. Be clear about the guidelines for restoration – Establish clear guidelines for restoration. Requirements like restitution can be clearly understood. Others include financial accountability, holding down a job, and putting away substances, attending counseling, taking medications, etc…

8. Be realistic about the process – Change often requires time and hard work (Philippians 3:12-14). Periodic failure by an offender does not always indicate an unrepentant heart. By failure, I am not including behaviors like violence or relapses into adultery. Behavior patterns typically run in deep channels. They can hold a powerful grip on a person’s life. A key indicator for change is the attitude of the offender. While proceeding with caution, be careful about demanding guarantees from a person who has truly expressed repentance. If the person stumbles, the process of loving confrontation, confession, and forgiveness may need to be repeated. Setbacks and disappointments are often part of the process of change. Don’t give up too easily on process of reconciliation. Keep the goal of a fully restored relationship open.

9. Be mindful of God’s control “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). “We know that God works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). “When you are having a hard time forgiving someone (i.e. being restored), take time to note how God may be using that offense for good. Is this an unusual opportunity to glorify God?  How can you serve others and help them grow in their faith? What sins and weaknesses of yours are being exposed? What character qualities are you being challenged to exercise? When you perceive that the person who has wronged you is being used as an instrument in God’s hand to help you mature, serve others, and glorify him, it may be easier for you to move ahead with forgiveness (i.e. restoration)” (Ken Sande,The Peacemaker, p.165;cf. Hebrews 12:7;I Pet.2:23b; 4:19). (Italicized words added).

10. Be alert to Satan’s schemes – In Ephesians 4:27, the apostle Paul warns about the possibility of unchecked anger giving Satan an opportunity in our lives. A few verses later, the Apostle wrote, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 4:29-5:2). Meditate on these words and put them into practice! (See also: II Corinthians 2:14; Hebrews 12:15).

Steve Cornell

Reblogged from Wisdomforlife

http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2007/07/28/forgiveness-is-one-thing-reconciliation-is-another/

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Living by grace when hurt by others

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When we struggle to forgive those who hurt us, we’re encouraged to remember how great God’s forgiveness is for us. Jesus warned that God expects forgiven people to forgive. But what Jesus said about refusing to forgive might feel more than a little disconcerting for those struggling to forgive. Jesus added a warning that those who refuse to forgive should not expect to receive forgiveness from their Heavenly Father.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).

 Is it easier to see ourselves as candidates for God’s forgiveness than to see our offenders as deserving of our forgiveness? This is exactly what Jesus confronted and reversed in his parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35. Read it.

We all have a tendency to provide larger margins of moral allowance for ourselves (and for those we love as extensions of ourselves) than for others. This is the problem of having clear vision for the splinters in the eyes of others and blindness about the logs in our own eyes (Matthew 7:1-6).

Yet when badly hurt by others, we don’t hit a forgiveness switch and move on. The sting of pain can linger for a long time depending upon the depth of the hurt. We need to hear reminders about how great God’s grace and forgiveness is toward us — but applying them is sometimes more challenging. Listen again to these words calling us to the radical love of our Heavenly Father.

“But love your enemies, do good to them… Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36).

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 4:32-5:2). 

One of the most powerful examples of forgiveness is found in the life of the OT character, Joseph. Here is a man who was sold as a slave by his envious brothers. Years later, when he had the power and authority to get revenge, Joseph made telling confessions that unlocked the secret to forgiveness. 

Joseph said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). Here Joseph confessed that God (not his offenders) is Lord of his circumstances. His brothers were clearly responsible for their evil deeds (and he did not deny nor minimize this truth). Yet he recognized that God sovereign ruled over their evil actions even though their evil actions did not conform to God’s moral will (see Acts 2:22-24; 4:27-28).

Life happens between two intentions: “You intended….” (horizontal) “but God intended….” (vertical).  Joseph learned to trace the hand (and presence) of God through the painful twists of a life that seemed to be controlled by the evil intentions of others. Connect the horizontal to the vertical or you’ll lose perspective quickly. The same is true of the temporal and eternal (II Corinthians 4:16-18). 

Extending forgiveness is far more difficult for those who do not often celebrate their own forgiveness and for those who cannot confess that God is Lord of their circumstances, not their offenders (Relate: Hebrews 12:7).

God, we need your help to live by grace when hurt by others. Help us to get perspective — to see as you see. Please draw our hearts into deep contemplation and exclamatory celebration of your grace and forgiveness.

Steve Cornell

Reblogged from Wisdomforlife http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/living-by-grace-when-hurt-by-others/

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FAITH IN FORGIVENESS IS MARKED BY GRATITUDE

 

This forgiveness of God is perfect, and He is willing to forgive ALL SINS—past, present and future. God in His grace is free to fully justify and forgive the believing sinner based on the blood of Christ (the work which He accomplished on the cross on our behalf, dying as our Substitute). Recognizing God’s gracious forgiveness ought to be cause for much thanksgiving and “thanks-living!” It should be a stimulus for holy conduct (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-13). How can we do anything less than serve and love the God who has forgiven us our sins! Here are but a dozen of many, many verses which speak of the complete forgiveness that a person receives when He believes on the Lord Jesus Christ.

*  “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12).

*  “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared” (Ps. 130:3-4).

*  “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).

*  “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back” (Isa. 38:17).

*  “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee” (Isa. 44:22).

*  “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve” (Jer. 50:20).

*  “Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:18-19).

*  “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

*  “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 8:12; 10:16).

*  “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His Name’s sake” (1 Jn. 2:12).

*  “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col. 2:13).

*  “To him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission (forgiveness) of sins” (Acts 10:43).

 We cannot earn our salvation, but we sure can make God happy that He saved us!

http://skipslighthouse.blogspot.com/2012/08/faith-in-forgiveness-is-marked-by.html

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