Receiving God’s Forgiveness
Chapter Four, Part Two
The Art of Forgiveness
What scripture says about Receive
Mark 11:25 NKJV
Matthew 5:23-24 NKJV
Colossians 3:1-4 and 12-17 NKJV
Psalm 40:3, NKJV
In part two of forgiving yourself we will look at how we receive what God has for us.
When I started Spiritual Direction with an experienced director I learned ai had to completely revamp how I thought about relating to God.
I had been led to believe (by the churches I’d been part of) that I needed to be obedient and DO for God. My Spiritual Director continually told me (maybe a thousand times) that God was God and it wasn’t about what I could DO for God. He said it was about what God HAD for me.
Honestly, in all my years of being a believer, no one had ever said that to me. So, I went back to scripture an did a big picture overview. I noticed that God did call people, like David and God did send them out, but it was God who performed miracles, brought people to help, and cared for the called.
How did I miss that? And I suppose the bigger question is, wasn’t that prideful and arrogant of me to believe I could change the world by what I did?
How did I get past that?
I faced the cold hard reality that even after we’ve received God’s forgiveness, we mess up and ask God to forgive us.
Then God forgives. Again and again God forgives us.
When another person is involved, God gives us the ability to love and forgive the other person.
In Mark 11:25 we read, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
For years I thought this scripture meant it was a test. If we forgive we will be forgiven, but it’s not a test. The phrase ‘if you have anything against anyone’ means we need to surrender our heart to God. When we hold onto a grudge, we are stuck. Since God won’t force us because He gives us free will, our surrender is needed. When we surrender we are telling God we’re okay with God being in charge. Once we surrender to God, He can give us the ability to forgive the other person. Then because we are surrendered to God, God can forgive us.
The power source is God. Because God is God, we need to let God be God.
We have to admit there is a God and we are not ‘it’. In doing that, we surrender to God.
In Matthew 5:23-24, we learn, “if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
In this case, regardless of whose fault it is, both parties need to agree to surrender the problem to God. Both parties have to surrender in order to be reconciled. Once they surrender to God, it’s possible for God to bring forgiveness and reconciliation to both parties.
Think of it this way…in Colossians 3:1-4 Paul wrote, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
It is God who raised us up and called us. It wasn’t our idea. The first time God came to me I was very young. I knew I wanted to be with Jesus. I didn’t approach Jesus…Jesus came to me.
When we surrender to God we are given the ability to see the things above (like Christ being seated at the right hand of God) we want to focus on what it’s like to be in heaven. God shows us His glory and we realize it’s eternal. Earth as it is now is temporary. We surrender to Jesus and now we can see what it’s going to be like when we appear with in Jesus in heaven.
Continuing in Colossians 3:12-17 we read, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Once we surrender to God we receive mercy, kindness, humility, and forgiveness which we offer to others. God gives His love to us. God gives peace. God gives wisdom. Everything we do, we do in the name of Jesus, who gave us everything.
WE didn’t (don’t) create mercy, kindness, love, peace, humility, and forgiveness. All of those elements are IN and FROM God.
We surrender giving God permission to give us part of Himself. God will give us as much of Himself as we will receive.
Psalm 40:3 says, “He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.”
Who put a new song in our mouths?
In whom do we trust?
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Surrender control to God
Let God be God in your life.
In God, Deborah