Chapter One, Part Three
The Art of Forgiveness
Luke 17:3-4 NKJV
Matthew 6:14 NIV
Were you wrong or were you wronged? Is there a gray area?
It’s been my experience that a lot of times in life, there is gray area. However, if we focus on that we miss the point. Scripture is pretty clear on how we are to respond.
Luke 17:3-4, “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
Did you pay attention to the other person’s attitude?
Their attitude is not your concern. The operative word in Luke 17:3 is “take heed to YOURSELF”.
I think of it this way: I can take care of what I have control over and that is myself.
If someone does something to you, TELL him/her. Speak your mind. Do not gossip about it. Do not carry it secretly. Do not worry about it. Speak the truth.
I used to say to my kids, “your fault, his fault, any bodies fault, stop now.” We need to speak our case to the other person and if they are sorry, forgive them.
In the last part of Luke 17:4 we are instructed to forgive them as many times as they repent. It’s not our job to keep track of how many times we’ve forgiven someone. Remember, every time we forgive we are turning the matter over to God.
A few lessons ago we dealt with Luke 18:1-8a when the PERSISTENT widow showed up at the judge’s door, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.”
As we continue to forgive, God listens. According to Luke 18:8a, The other person will get justice…
There are times when we need to make sure we are open to their apology. If we have been wrong or if we have wronged, or both, we need to ask for their forgiveness AND we need to forgive.
The gray area of an issue can make it difficult to bear. Sometimes we’re just not sure what God wants. If that is the case we need to remember that Jesus told us to Love One Another. Your fault, his fault, anybodies fault, the answer is Love (John 15:12).
There are also times when we need to Listen. We can always go to God and ask what we need to do (Matthew 7:7).
Even if the other person doesn’t repent, it’s better for us if we are quick to forgive. I repeat, it’s better for US if we forgive because that puts the matter in God’s hands.
It’s also better for us if we are quick to forgive because “if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
Once again we need to remember that forgiveness is NOT a feeling…it’s a choice.
God tells us to forgive and we make a choice to forgive. That choice of forgiveness puts the matter in God’s hands.
We are no longer in charge.
God will take over from there.
Forgiving someone for whatever reason is what we are called to do. We do not need to establish who was right and who was wrong. We only need to say, “God, I forgive _____.”
I also need to add that this is one issue that I have to remind myself of almost EVERY time it comes up. Because I am human, it’s my nature to sort through the details. Even though I know what scripture says, I automatically begin ruminating on what happened. Then, I stop. I remember, “Oh, yea” and I tell God I forgive them.
My fault, your fault, anybodies fault…FORGIVE.
Then God takes charge.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Forgive
If you are carrying around something you did or something someone else did, turn it over to God. Forgive it.
In God, Deborah