Chapter Three, Part Two
What Scripture Says
Daniel 9:9 NKJV
Matthew 6:8 NKJV
Isaiah 65:24-25 NKJV
Matthew 5:7 NKJV
Hebrews 8:12 NKJV
The Art of Forgiveness
Scripture says with God, mercy and forgiveness go hand in hand. The prophet Daniel made it clear to us that mercy and forgiveness come from God. We are not the driver. Mercy and forgiveness are forever and only ours through God. He says in Daniel 9:9, “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.”
We rebel, and Christ in God lifts us up.
We fail. We do not feel like giving mercy.
We would not choose to forgive.
Even though we have rebelled, God gives us abundant mercy and forgiveness, and more than that…God through Jesus gives mercy and forgiveness to us so that we may forgive others.
In Matthew 6:8 Jesus was talking to the crowds about how to talk to God and He told them, “your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Right after Jesus said that he gave them a model prayer, The Lord’s Prayer. He gave them an example prayer so they would know what to ask for and how to talk to God. Even so, we have to remember that God already knows what we need.
God knows we need His mercy in order for us to give mercy to others. We cannot conjure it up.
We need God’s love and grace so we can offer forgiveness to others. Spending time with God and asking God to give us His love and grace makes it so we can speak the words, “I forgive you.”
In Isaiah 65:24-25 we get a picture of God’s ultimate plan. When Isaiah saw the new heaven and the new earth, he wrote:
“It shall come to pass
That before they call, I will answer;
And while they are still speaking, I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
,And dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,”
Says the Lord.”
Being united with God makes all things possible.
When we cannot and do not feel like forgiving and offering mercy, we can speak the words, ‘I forgive you and give you mercy’. We can only do that through Jesus. By His grace, we offer mercy.
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.”
When we turn to God and ask for mercy we can receive mercy and give mercy.
Hebrews 8:12 we learn, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
We have not and do not receive mercy because we deserve it. We receive mercy simply because we turn to God and we ask for it.
Honestly, I’ve spoken to a lot of people over the years about forgiveness. While some struggle to forgive, once I tell them they don’t have to feel like forgiving and giving mercy, because it’s not about feeling it. When I tell them it’s about speaking the words, ‘God is merciful and forgives me and I forgive you,” it surprises them and then they tell God they forgive the other person. They just didn’t know they don’t have to feel like forgiving the other person.
Also, it’s been my experience that the people who carry a heavy burden about what they’ve done, cannot forgive themselves and they struggle to get past their indiscretion so that they can forgive others.
I’d go so far to say that almost 75% of people I’ve spoken with about mercy and forgiveness tell me they can’t forgive themselves for what they did.
Here’s the deal folks…God doesn’t want you to carry it. God wants you to ask Him to forgive you. That’s because God does forgive you. Unequivocally.
If you’ve done something that hurt another person, the first step is asking God to forgive you. The second step is to go to that person and ask them to forgive you. If they forgive you, good. If they tell you they will not forgive you, you’ve done all you can do and the matter is in God’s hands. You can then forgive them for not forgiving you. You have done what God wants you to do by confessing to the other person.
The third step is forgiving yourself. Say, “I forgive myself”.
God will take care of the rest.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Forgive
Whatever you are struggling with, work through the step and forgive.
That leaves it in God’s hands.
In God, Deborah