When forgiveness is harder than you thought

You want to, but you can’t. You want to release the person, but you can’t. It seems to grip you in every part of your being.

We use the term “unforgiveness” to describe a daunting inability to forgive another person in your heart. Unforgiveness holds you hostage and keeps you from moving forward with your daily activities. It may even build strongholds in your life with a demonic element that won’t let go.

When you release the person in forgiveness, you yourself become free. You release yourself from bondage. Remember that forgiveness can be immediate, but trust must be rebuilt over time. It won’t be as simple as returning to business as usual. Give it time. Allow time for trust to be rebuilt.

Yes forgiveness is a must. Then, take time to rebuild trust in the relationship.

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Plenty of reasons to celebrate!

You may not think so. In fact, you may have been thinking of hanging up that celebration hat permanently. For you, celebration may simply be a fleeting memory, never to return again.

The Israelites were a celebrating bunch. Much beyond their regular festivals throughout the year, there were such opportunities whenever they wanted to. But what’s there to celebrate?

They celebrated their relationship with God through the fellowship oferings. These were also called peace offerings (Lev 3). They celebrated their relationship with God and with each other. These were also offered along with sin offerings – indicating that they celebrated the restoration of their relationship with God.

No matter what you have done or where you are in life, God is waiting and longing for you to turn from your situation and return to him. He is waiting to celebrate a restored relationship with you!

The ultimate end of all suffering

Each one of the disciples followed Jesus with many expectations. It wasn’t just 12, there were more than 500 followers at the time of the ascension of Jesus. They were all alive when Corinthians was written (1 Cor 15:6).

Some began following Jesus because of the healing they received. Others had demons cast out of them, found meaning in life, found acceptance, received forgiveness of sins, and numerous other needs were met by Jesus.

But one day, their hopes were dashed as their master hung on that cross like a criminal after a cruel beating worse than an animal. His flesh was torn, as his body suffered extreme torture that was unheard of for any human. As he hung on that cross, it was more like flesh hanging on to bones as his appearance was almost inhuman.

As many were astonished at you — his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind (Isa 52:14).

Then the dead, lifeless body of Jesus flopped down from that cross. Someone thought it was a good idea to bury him. Otherwise, his body would have been left to decay on the cross or flung somewhere for the animals (such was the end of men’s bodies after crucifixion).

But this was Jesus. He was their healer, deliverer, miracle worker, and a host of other adjectives that were incapable of describing him. But all hope was now gone. Maybe it was just a dream, a fleeting wish. So, it’s time to return to the daily routine of mundane tasks. After all, who was I to believe that life could have any meaning?

Then on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave, defeating death itself. It had to be done. He had to do it. He had to be the one to do it. He was the only one who could. Death had to be defeated.

The ultimate end of hopelessness is death. It is also the ultimate end of all sickness, abuse, rejection, hatred, violence, and any other form of inhuman act of injustice on this earth. Thus death had to be defeated. And Jesus defeated death.

The next time you suffer anything, think of the ultimate end of all suffering: Death. Then repeat these words:

“O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55)

Then keep your eyes on Jesus.

70 x 7 

Keep forgiving. All the time. When Jesus gave the instruction to forgive 70×7, the idea was not a specific number of times we need to forgive (some texts state: “77 times”). It was to be a limitless, ongoing attitude and practice of forgiveness.

There needs to be a clear recognition that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) 

And I must acknowledge that I am the “chief” of those sinners. Once I acknowledge that I am greatly in need of forgiveness as everyone else, the playing field levels off, and I am more free to forgive. 


Arrogance and pride need to give way to 70×7.


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Go ahead and give them a piece of your mind 

Maybe not.

Because usually, “a piece of your mind” just complicates the matter at hand. Better to hold your peace.

Then wait. 


Wait for the appropriate time. Consider the environment, the mood, and the context. You’ll have a much greater impact.

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Judge and condemn!

But first look in the mirror.

I still have to say that Injustice disturbs me to the core. It’s worse when done against the defenseless and innocent.

But when I look in the mirror, I wonder how my sin was the cause of severe suffering for the innocent and defenseless Jesus. He lay on that cross in direct response to my sin and rebellion.

Still I’m disturbed by the Injustice I see all around me. But Jesus said to leave it. He’ll take care of all that in the final day.


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Encourage, discourage, or mock – your choice

​    It’s your choice. You can mock them since you are much better. Your experience surpassses theirs and its no comparision at all. Others mocked you when you were starting out.

    You can discourage them for their own good. After all, with this poor performance, it’s better they find something else to do. They’re never going to get anywhere like this.

    But you can also encourage them to do their best at whatever they do. Tell them they’ll do better. Just keep moving forward, keep pushing, keep striving. You may never see them again. But they’ll always be grateful because someone encouraged them. To keep moving forward.

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Take it or leave it

Don’t go after people like you’re trying to make a sale. The Gospel is good news to some and foolishness to others.

Find out who values it as good news. Invest your time, effort, and energy there.

How do you do this? Use the “take it or leave it” approach. If they see it as foolishness, they’ll walk away – and you too. If they find value in it as good news, they’ll grab hold of it.

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Candy is tasty and therefore good

 

This flawed logic is the basis for numerous traps. Intentionally or unintentionally, it has trapped many and led them on unhealthy paths.

    “Bells, lights, and whistles” are attractive deviations. They look good, and feel good. Those who fail to realize the lack of depth will consistently fall into traps. One either needs discernment or humility to listen to those who do. Most of all, learn to listen to the Holy Spirit.

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Ridiculous trust

How much – or how far should we trust? After risking and trusting, what if we are let down? The risk involves our honor, reputation, and future.

Noah trusted God without any evidence or confirmation. His trust in God was at a higher level than we could imagine. He took one risk after another – all in obedience to God.


Noah took the risk of building the ark one beam at a time. He did it while everyone watched. I’m sure they asked about the foolishness of such a huge project – for an unknown cause and an unseen God.


Don’t expect everyone to follow God. The risk is too great. It’s often the minority and not the major part of society that makes the decision to follow.


But the ones who follow are ready to take the risk. Everyone who sees them may ridicule them, but their hearts are set on the one who called them. And the one who called will transform them into the image of Jesus.


But there are many who don’t trust Jesus with their lives – but they do attend church. I suppose Church is like fire insurance for them. By all means they want to avoid hell. And but by no means do they want to give up control of their lives to someone else – even to Jesus.


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