Thanks to Eddie for his fine work with these sayings and pics. Click to enlarge
Archive for the ‘forgiveness’ Category
This post offers an illustration that inspires us about forgiveness. Ray Ortlund writes,
“Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) was a Dutch Christian whose family rescued Jews during World War II. They were betrayed and arrested. Corrie and her sister Betsy were sent to a Nazi concentration camp. Betsy died there, but Corrie’s life was spared. Several years after the war, she was speaking on the subject of forgiveness at a Christian meeting. After the meeting, one of her former prison guards appeared out of the crowd and approached her. Here he was, with his hand outstretched to her: “Will you forgive me?” The sufferings he had inflicted were real. Corrie’s anguish was not her own hyper-sensitivity. The wrong was monstrous. And now he’s asking, “Will you forgive me?” Corrie wrote:
“I stood there with coldness clutching my heart . . . . I prayed, ‘Jesus, help me!’ Woodenly, mechanically I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me, and I experienced an incredible thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arms and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. ‘I forgive you, brother,’ I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard, the former prisoner. I have never known the love of God so intensely as I did in that moment.”
Cf. Philip D. Douglass, “The Power of Forgiveness,” Covenant Magazine, February/March 1999, pages 8-9.”
Forgiveness is a very hard subject at times to think about and to really assess in our lives. In general, we know whether we have forgiven someone or not. But there are the hard cases, when we have been deeply hurt, that forgiveness is a much more sticky issue.
So when do you know if you have really forgiven someone.
Ron Edmonson offers five indicators:
- Is the first thought you have about them not about the injury they cause in your life?
- Ask yourself: Would you help them if you knew they were in trouble and you had the ability to help?
- Can you think positive thoughts about this person?
- Do you still think of getting even with this person?
- Have you stopped looking for them to fail?
If you want to learn more about these five, head over and read Ron’s full article. Worth your time if you struggle with this issue or know someone who does.
Are you looking for forgiveness today? Not the temporary kind but lasting and true and forever forgiveness? Where can you receive pardon for your sin?
Ray Ortlund writes, “We swim every day in an ocean of criticism, negative scrutiny, accusation, finger-pointing, fault-finding, e.g., “Your carbon footprint is too big, you haven’t made up for the colonialism of the past, you aren’t feeding the starving millions as much as you can, you _________________.” Add on top of all that our unmistakably real sins and failures and weaknesses, as God himself judges them, and how can we live again, breathe again?”
J. C. Ryle’s counsel, based on God’s true word, gives the answer: “Where must a man go for pardon? Where is forgiveness to be found? There is a way both sure and plain . . . . That way is simply to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. It is to cast your soul, with all its sins, unreservedly on Christ — to cease completely from any dependence on your own works or doings, either in whole or in part — and to rest on no other work but Christ’s work, no other righteousness but Christ’s righteousness, no other merit but Christ’s merit, as your ground of hope. Take this course and you are a pardoned soul.”
I have benefitted from Ken Sande’ book The Peacemaker which has some great chapters on resolving conflict and seeking forgiveness as well as extending it to others. Another work that I have on my “to-read” list is Pleasing People by Lou Priolo. Reading Tim’s post on “The Heart of Forgiveness” encouraged me to read Priolo’s work sooner rather than later. In his post Challies quotes Priolo’s response to what does true forgiveness look like.
According to Priolo, true forgiveness looks something like this:
- Acknowledge that you have sinned. Let the party you’ve offended know that you acknowledge wrongdoing. This is humbling but necessary. Acknowledge not only that you sin and are a sinner but that you have actually sinned against this person.
- Identify your sin by its specific biblical name. Do not simply acknowledge generic sin but acknowledge specific sin and call it by its biblical name (which keeps you from acknowledging something society may label as sin but the Bible does not). This ensures that you have thought deeply about your sin and have seen how it fits into what the Bible calls sin.
- Acknowledge the harm your offense caused. This is also humbling. You must acknowledge that your sin has had consequences and that you are owning up not only to the sin but also to the harmful consequences your sin brought about.
- Demonstrate repentance by identifying an alternative biblical behavior. Show that you have truly considered your sin by explaining what you should have done instead. Show what the appropriate alternative behavior would have been.
- Ask for forgiveness. This puts the onus on the offended party to accept your repentance and to extend forgiveness to you. It completes the reconciliation between the offender and the one who has been offended.
“In every relationship, every day you harvest what you previously planted and plant what you will someday harvest. When division and acrimony take place in a relationship, we aren’t experiencing mysterious difficulty. No, sadly, we’re harvesting what we have sown.”
“I have counseled many people, who once had great appreciation and respect for one another, who simply don’t like one another very much anymore. If fact, I have had people say to me that it is hard for them to look back and remember when the relationship was peaceful and good.”
“By God’s grace you don’t have to lug yesterday’s hurt into today’s relationship. Jesus died, not only to forgive you, but by his sin-conquering death, to enable you to forgive others. By his grace reconciliation and restoration really are possible. He really is the Prince of Peace.”
Please take the time time today to read this article by Paul Tripp where he outlines the steps of a bitter harvest of unforgiveness and bitterness in our relationships. Here are the seven places he lists as headings to where it will lead, but there is so much wise counsel in this article.
- Immaturity and failure
- Falling into comfortable patterns
- Establishing defenses
- Nurturing dislikes
- Becoming overwhelmed
- Envy of others
- Fantasies of escape
READ THE REST HERE.
Perhaps an even more telling gauge of our self-righteousness is the stance from which we offer our forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Is our forgiveness offered from a pedestal?
When sinned against, it is easy to occupy a superior position, extending forgiveness like a benevolent dictator to those who demonstrate their sincere repentance. Our stance is top down; our demeanor is paternalistic; our attitude is self-righteous.
In Matthew 6:1-18, Jesus contrasted true piety with people-pleasing religiosity. Speaking about prayer, Jesus delivered a stern warning about forgiveness. Forgiveness, he said, is a natural and necessary fruit of our having been forgiven by God. We must forgive those who sin against us, not like benevolent dictators from the top down but rather as fellow sinners from the bottom up.
Christians should be the most forgiving people because Christians are the most forgiven people. I have been thinking about that this week as I’ve been reading the book Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Brauns. Great read so far. Lots of biblical truth and masterfully illustrated with heart-gripping as well as some funny stories as well. Through the years I have also profited from Jay Adam’s book From Forgiven to Forgiveness as well as Ken Sande’s The Peacemaker on this subject.
On the shorter side J. C. Ryle has written as well on “5 Marks of Forgiveness” and they were reposted this week. All these have made me think again of this truth:
Monday (12/6): Forgiven Souls Hate Sin.
Tuesday (12/7): Forgiven Souls Love Christ.
Wednesday (12/8): Forgiven Souls Are Humble.
Thursday (12/9): Forgiven Souls Are Holy.
Friday (12/10): Forgiven Souls Are Forgiving.
Have you been forgiven by God based on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Who is it that you need to extend forgiveness today this day?