Forgiveness I   shared   my   intent   to   write   this   lesson   on   forgiveness   to   a   friend   who   is   a   nonbeliever.      He   said   he   did   not   think forgiveness   was   necessary—which   caused   me   to   deeply   consider   the   meaning   and   consequences   of   his   statement.     The next day I realized the following enlightening and profound spiritual truth: When one believes forgiveness in not necessary, it impedes their ability to know and experience God’s heart! For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16. God’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ is absolute, eternal, and an expression of His love. God’s forgiveness penetrates our heart and transforms our soul. Forgiveness is more powerful than we realize, because it operates within the spiritual realm. What’s   more,   forgiveness   operates   in   three   different   spiritual   dimensions—wher e each   type   of   forgiveness   enables   us   to   more   fully   know   and   experience   God’s   heart.     These   three   different   forms   of   forgiveness   comprise   the   content   of   this   lesson,   and is depicted by the triangle to the right:  1 . We must be forgiven by God. 2 . We must forgive others, self and God. 3 . We need to be forgiven by those whom we have harmed. We Must be Forgiven For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23 The   mystery   of   the   Gospel   of   Jesus   Christ   is   we   are   freely   forgiven—not   by   what   we   do—but   by   the   grace   of   God.     This   is   difficult   for   those   who   are   not   born   again   to   grasp   because   it   conflicts   with   our   human   rational   thought process—which   is   based   upon   everything   we   earn   and   achieve   in   life   is   based   upon   what   we   do.      No   one   gives   us anything of value for free…especially eternal life…which cannot be purchased (it has already been paid for by Jesus). But   God,   who   is   rich   in   mercy,   because   of   His   great   love   with   which   He   loved   us,   even   when   we   were   dead   in trespasses,   made   us   alive   together   with   Christ   (by   grace   you   have   been   saved),   and   raised   us   up   together,   and   made us   sit   together   in   the   heavenly   places   in   Christ   Jesus,   that   in   the   ages   to   come   He   might   show   the   exceeding   riches   of His   grace   in   His   kindness   toward   us   in   Christ   Jesus.      For   by   grace   you   have   been   saved   through   faith,   and   that   not   of yourselves;   it   is   the   gift   of   God,   not   of   works,   lest   anyone   should   boast.      For   we   are   His   workmanship,   created   in   Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:1-10 “In   Him   we   have   redemption   through   His   blood,   the   forgiveness   of   sins,   according   to   the   riches   of   His   grace.” Ephesians 1:7 “For   as   the   heavens   are   high   above   the   earth,   so   great   is   His   mercy   toward   those   who   fear   Him;   as   far   as   the   east   is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:11-12 We Must Forgive Those   who   are   forgiven—must   forgive—which   seems   relevant   and   logical.      However,   for   many,   this   can   be   very difficult   because   our   flesh   does   not   want   to   forgive.      In   fact,   our   flesh   usually   responds   with   very   strong   emotions   that demand vengeance and retribution for what was done to us.  However,   God   is   very   straightforward   about   forgiveness   for   those   who   are   born   again:   because   we   are   forgiven,   we must   forgive.      The   following   words   spoken   by   Jesus   Christ   reveals   His   truth   regarding   the   importance   of   forgiveness.     Although    we    are    forgiven    and    will    live    with    Him    for    eternity…to    not    forgive    someone    has    many    undesirable consequences that stifle our internal peace, joy, happiness, and spiritual growth. “Then   Peter   came   to   Him   and   said,   ‘Lord,   how   often   shall   my   brother   sin   against   me,   and   I   forgive   him?      Up   to   seven times?’  Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.  Matt 18:21-22 Peter   (a   disciple   of   Jesus)   thought   he   understood   forgiveness.      Throughout   time,   the   rational   thinking   of   man   says   fool me   once,   shame   on   you.      Fool   me   twice,   shame   on   me.      Do   it   again   and   %*$#^#&!!!      Peter’s   human   logic   and   attempt at   spiritual   wisdom   caused   him   to   think   to   forgive   seven   times   should   be   more   than   sufficient.      But   Jesus—Who reflected the character and heart of God—instructed we must forgive up seventy times seven (490 times). It’s   important   to   note   the   response   of   Jesus   is   not   about   a   specific   number.      But   rather,   it   provides   insight   into   the loving,   forgiving   and   patient   heart   of   God.      Consider   how   many   times   each   of   us   have   repeated   the   same   sin   over,   and over,   and   over.      Jesus   then   continued   to   instruct   Peter   by   reinforcing   our   need   to   forgive   (and   consequences   of unforgiveness) in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. Therefore,   the   kingdom   of   heaven   is   like   a   certain   king   who   wanted   to   settle   accounts   with   his   servants.     And   when   he had   begun   to   settle   accounts,   one   was   brought   to   him   who   owed   him   ten   thousand   talents.      But   as   he   was   not   able   to pay,   his   master   commanded   that   he   be   sold,   with   his   wife   and   children   and   all   that   he   had,   and   that   payment   be   made.     The   servant   therefore   fell   down   before   him,   saying,   ‘Master,   have   patience   with   me,   and   I   will   pay   you   all.’      Then   the master   of   that   servant   was   moved   with   compassion,   released   him,   and   forgave   him   the   debt.      But   that   servant   went   out and   found   one   of   his   fellow   servants   who   owed   him   a   hundred   denarii;   and   he   laid   hands   on   him   and   took   him   by   the throat,   saying,   ‘Pay   me   what   you   owe!’      So,   his   fellow   servant   fell   down   at   his   feet   and   begged   him,   saying,   ‘Have patience   with   me,   and   I   will   pay   you   all.’      And   he   would   not,   but   went   and   threw   him   into   prison   till   he   should   pay   the debt.      So,   when   his   fellow   servants   saw   what   had   been   done,   they   were   very   grieved,   and   came   and   told   their   master all   that   had   been   done.      Then   his   master,   after   he   had   called   him,   said   to   him,   ‘You   wicked   servant!   I   forgave   you   all that   debt   because   you   begged   me.      Should   you   not   also   have   had   compassion   on   your   fellow   servant,   just   as   I   had pity   on   you?’     And   his   master   was   angry,   and   delivered   him   to   the   torturers   until   he   should   pay   all   that   was   due   to   him.     “So,   my   heavenly   Father   also   will   do   to   you   if   each   of   you,   from   his   heart,   does   not   forgive   his   brother   his   trespasses.”     Matthew 18:23-35 Some   may   perceive   the   response   of   the   master   as   revenge,   and   based   upon   conditional   forgiveness.      I   see   the response   by   the   master   as   punishment   that   is   designed   to   change   the   attitude   of   the   heart   and   behavior.      Consider   the parable   if   the   master   did   not   respond;   or   worse,   rewarded   the   servant.      God   is   holy;   His   word   is   absolute;   and   there   are consequences   when   we   do   not   obey.      In   addition,   consider   the   interaction   between   the   master   and   the   servant   from the   perspective   of   a   father   and   son   relationship.      When   a   son   disobeys,   will   the   father   punish   his   son   for   the   son’s benefit?  Plus, will the father disown his son for what he did, or still love him unconditionally?   For   those   who   received   God’s   grace   and   forgiveness,   harboring   unforgiveness   will   create   conflict   within   our   heart   and soul.      Think   about   the   contradiction   when   a   Christian,   who   has   received   eternal   and   unmerited   forgiveness   by   the sacrificial   blood   of   Jesus   Christ,   asks   God   for   forgiveness   of   their   sin   when   they   have   not   forgiven   someone   else.      The internal   conflict   can   range   from   unpleasant   to   debilitating;   and   is   a   consequence   of   not   obeying   God’s   word.      In   the same   way   the   master   delivered   the   servant   to   the   torturers   until   he   should   pay   all   that   was   due   him…the   torture associated with the deprivation of spiritual peace is a form of spiritual chastisement…for our betterment. My   son,   do   not   despise   the   chastening   of   the   Lord   nor   be   discouraged   when   you   are   rebuked   by   Him;   for   whom   the Lord   loves   He   chastens,   and   scourges   every   son   whom   He   receives.”      God   deals   with   you   as   with   sons;   for   what   son is   there   whom   a   father   does   not   chasten?      Furthermore,   we   have   had   human   fathers   who   corrected   us,   and   we   paid them   respect.      Shall   we   not   much   more   readily   be   in   subjection   to   the   Father   of   spirits   and   live?      For   they   indeed   for   a few   days   chastened   us   as   seemed   best   to   them,   but   He   for   our   profit,   that   we   may   be   partakers   of   His   holiness.      Now no   chastening   seems   to   be   joyful   for   the   present,   but   painful;   nevertheless,   afterward   it   yields   the   peaceable   fruit   of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:5-11 And   because   you   are   sons,   God   has   sent   forth   the   Spirit   of   His   Son   into   your   hearts,   crying   out,   “Abba,   Father!”     Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.  Galatians 4:6-7 Here are additional scriptures regarding forgiveness. Jesus   said   “And   whenever   you   stand   praying,   if   you   have   anything   against   anyone,   forgive   him,   that   your   Father   in heaven   may   also   forgive   you   your   trespasses.      But   if   you   do   not   forgive,   neither   will   your   Father   in   heaven   forgive   your trespasses.”  Mark 11: 25-26 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger,   clamor,   and   evil   speaking   be   put   away   from   you,   with   all   malice.      And   be   kind   to   one   another,   tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:30-32 “Judge   not,   and   you   shall   not   be   judged.      Condemn   not,   and   you   shall   not   be   condemned.      Forgive,   and   you   will   be forgiven.”  Luke 6:37 “And   be   kind   to   one   another,   tenderhearted,   forgiving   one   another,   even   as   God   in   Christ   forgave   you.”      Ephesians 4:25-32 Here is something else to consider. Why would God mandate we forgive others?  Take time and think about your answer. My answer to this question is in the form of another reflective question. Can you identify one commandment from God that was not for our physical and spiritual benefit? Consequences of Unforgiveness When   we   hold   onto   unforgiveness,   we   will   also   experience   anger,   bitterness,   hatred   and   a   desire   for   retribution—which results in: Distress to our body and mind. Continued aggravation of our internal “scars” cause by the one who harmed us. A “restricting filter” between us and God. What’s   more,   the   day-to-day   internal   suffering   and   pain   associated   with   unforgiveness   soon   becomes   “normal”   to   us because   we   forgot   what   it   was   like   to   live   without   the   internal   turmoil.      Meanwhile,   the   never-ending   boil   of   caustic   rage continues to fester to the surface in what we say and do. In addition, when we hold onto unforgiveness: We are held in bondage by the person(s) who committed the offense against us. Their   crime   continues   to   influence   our   ability   to   live   life   to   the   fullest   by   limiting   all   that   there   is   to   experience   in our walk with our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. However,   when   we   are   able   to   stand   back   from   a   distance…and   look   at   everything   that   has   occurred   to   us   from   an eternal,   spiritual   and   “big   picture”   perspective—and   reflect   upon   the   grace   and   forgiveness   God   has   given   us   in   His Son, Jesus Christ—is when we are able to begin the process of breaking the stronghold and chains of unforgiveness. It   is   safe   to   say   those   who   harmed   us   do   not   deserve   to   be   forgiven.      However,   it’s   also   safe   to   say   we   did   not   deserve God’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ.  God’s desire for us is to: Let go of that which continues to destroy us from within. To forgive as He has forgiven us—as a reciprocal act of His love, His mercy and His grace. Forgiveness—the    deliberate    act    of    relinquishing    (surrendering,    abandoning)    our    feelings    of    resentment    and/or vengeance   towards   someone   who   has   harmed   us—is   biblically   mandated.      But   there   is   a   very   good   reason—because forgiveness is much more powerful than we realize in that it can heal the internal “damage.” Forgiveness: Is a powerful spiritual weapon. Will restore our body, heart and soul from the devastating harm caused by trauma, such as: o Verbal abuse. o Mental abuse. o Physical abuse. o Sexual abuse. o Domestic violence. o Parental separation. o Loss of a loved one. Takes power away from Satan and his demonic minions. Changes our perception of: o Those who have harmed us. o The world around us. Even   if   the   person   who   committed   the   crime   does   not   care,   refuses   to   change,   or   is   no   longer   living—forgiveness   is still   vitally   important   for   the   one   who   was   harmed—for   it   is   a   source   of   healing—which   has   been   proven   by   medical research on forgiveness. Medical Research on Forgiveness There   have   been   multiple   studies   on   the   psychological   and   physical   effects   of   forgiveness   during   the   past   20   years.     Medical   research   has   determined   there   are   many   psychological   and   physical   benefits   that   occur   when   we   forgive.     (This should not be surprising because God’s word instructs us to forgive!) Note: The following content is from an article posted by the American Psychological Association (APA). Research   has   shown   that   forgiveness   is   linked   to   mental   health   outcomes   such   as   reduced   anxiety,   depression   and major psychiatric disorders, as well as with fewer physical health symptoms and lower mortality rates. APA content source: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/01/ce-corner The   Mayo   Clinic   is   one   of   America’s   top-ranked   medical   institutions;   is   regarded   as   one   of   the   best   residency education programs in the United States; and performs significant research in multiple medical fields.  N ote: The following content is from an article posted by the Mayo Clinic.  Unforgiveness can cause: Forgiveness can make way for improved health and peace of mind. Forgiveness can lead to: Healthier relationships. Improved mental health. Less anxiety, stress and hostility. Lower blood pressure. Fewer symptoms of depression. A stronger immune system. Improved heart health. Improved self-esteem. Forgiveness is a commitment to change by to moving from suffering to forgiveness by: Recognizing the value of forgiveness and how it can improve your life. Identify what needs healing and who needs to be forgiven and for what. Acknowledge your emotions and behavior caused by harm done to you, and work to release them. Choose to forgive the person who's offended you. Transition from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person. Consider joining a support group or seeing a counselor. Mayo content source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692 For more information on psychological and medical research findings Google “research on forgiveness.” Where Do I Find Strength to Forgive? It   is   important   to   realize   and   remember—the   intent   of   Satan   and   his   minions   is   to   cause   unforgiveness,   anger,   hatred, bitterness,   and   a   desire   for   vengeance—to   occur   in   all   of   us.     This   is   what   he   orchestrates   between   nations;   and   this   is what   he   instigates   between   persons—all   with   the   intent   of   causing   spiritual   and   physical   death.      When   we   choose   to forgive, his divisive power is taken away, and its grip ceases its hold on us. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord…remember: Where you were, where you are, and where you are headed (eternally) because of Jesus. This transformation is because in Christ you are forgiven. “And   you,   being   dead   in   your   trespasses   and   the   uncircumcision   of   your   flesh,   He   has   made   alive   together   with   Him, having   forgiven   you   all   trespasses,   having   wiped   out   the   handwriting   of   requirements   that   was   against   us,   which   was contrary   to   us.      And   He   has   taken   it   out   of   the   way,   having   nailed   it   to   the   cross.      Having   disarmed   principalities   and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”  2 Colossians 2:13-15 “In   Him   we   have   redemption   through   His   blood,   the   forgiveness   of   sins,   according   to   the   riches   of   His   grace.” Ephesians 1:7 Look through your spiritual eyes and consider: The darkness that is in the world. The influence of Satan in people’s lives. The number of people living in darkness who: o Have no clue what they’re doing. o Are blindly led by unknown forces. It is by the grace of God you can see these spiritual truths. Now consider: The person(s) who harmed you. Their existence in overwhelming darkness. The effect of Satan’s influence. The eternal consequences of: o What they did. o What you can do. Remember…even though the one who harmed you may: Discount/disown what they did. Respond with disdain No longer live. Forgiveness is for YOUR healing. I Cannot Forgive Myself We   once   lived   in   darkness   and   were   influenced   by   principalities,   powers,   rulers   of   darkness   of   this   age,   and   spiritual hosts   of   wickedness.   (Ephesians   6:12).      But   we   are   now   in   the   light   of   Jesus   and   can   see   with   greater   clarity.     (Ephesians 5:8)  All   of   us   have   memories—which   are   part   of   our   soul   and   are   eternal.      This   includes   the   good   memories   and   those   we wish   never   occurred.      There   are   times   when   a   memory   flashes   across   my   mind;   I   cringe   at   the   thought   of   what   I   did; and   I   ask   how   is   it   possible   for   God   to   forgive   me.      Unfortunately,   God’s   grace   and   forgiveness   does   not   erase   our memories of past sins.  Our memories remain for a purpose.  For example, our memories: Provide us with a benchmark that allows us to compare how much we have grown in Christ (sanctification). Provide us with an ability to understand and have compassion towards those who are bound by similar sin. Reinforce humility. Will be illuminated and judicated during the Judgment Seat of Christ.  (See 2 Corinthians 5:9-11) Magnify   our   thankfulness,   praise   and   worship   of   God   while   we   are   still   in   our   physical   bodies…and   especially when   we   are   on   the   “other   side”   in   our   spiritual   bodies   as   we   join   the   great   multitude   praising   God.      Imagine   what it   will   be   like   when   we   see   our   Savior   and   Lord   in   Heaven…and   we   truly   realize   for   the   first   time…how   much   God loves us…and we were truly forgiven for that which we thought was unforgivable.  Then   I   heard   something   like   the   voice   of   a   great   multitude   and   like   the   sound   of   many   waters   and   like   the   sound   of mighty   peals   of   thunder,   saying,   "Hallelujah!   For   the   Lord   our   God,   the Almighty,   reigns.   "Let   us   rejoice   and   be   glad   and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”  Rev 19:6-7 Remember…the   sacrificial   death   of   Jesus   Christ   did   not   provide   a   means   to   forgive   a   few   of   our   “less   important”   sins.     He   also   died   for   those   sins   that   seem   unconscionable   (shocking,   immoral,   inexcusable,   and   horrifying).      To   perceive otherwise discounts the unfathomable gift of grace God has bestowed upon us via His Son, Jesus. How Can I Forgive God? My   father   died   of   lung   cancer   when   I   was   14   years   old.      It   was   a   devastating   and   traumatic   experience.      Looking   back, I   had   no   idea   of   what   was   going   on   internally   as   I   experienced   anger,   frustrations,   confusion,   and   a   mournful   heartache that reached into the marrow of my bones.  I missed my father.  I miss him to this day. Approximately   three   years   later,   while   standing   in   the   water’s   edge   in   Huntington   Beach,   California,   I   accepted   Jesus Christ   as   my   savior.      When   I   was   21   years   old,   I   accepted   Jesus   Christ   as   my   Lord.      I   had   made   a   complete   mess   of my life and my only choice was to give it to Him. I am now 65 years old, and I can say with confidence that every one of God’s promises is true.  My   wife   and   I   discuss   the   loss   of   my   father   on   occasion.      (As   of   March,   2020,   we   will   celebrate   our   40th   year   of marriage.)      We   both   wonder   if   we   would   have   met   if   my   father   did   not   die.      I   also   wonder   if   my   life   in   Christ,   my teaching   ministry   and   the   website   would   also   exist   as   it   does   today.      I   will   not   know   until   I   am   on   the   “other   side”   and   I can ask Jesus directly.  Until then, the following assisted me in overcoming my pain, and forgiving God: 1 . Express your pain and thoughts in prayer.  Be honest with God (He can handle it). 2 . Recognize His thoughts and ways are different from ours.  (Isiah 55:8-9) 3 . Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  (Proverbs 3:5) Each   of   us   needs   to   come   to   the   point   where—by   faith—we   conclude   the   events   we   go   through   in   life   are   allowed   by Him to accomplish His purpose in our lives, and in the lives of others. What If I'm the One Who Needs Forgiveness? We   have   all   harmed   someone   in   one   form   or   another.      Those   who   have   entered   into   the   light   of   Christ   will   look   back with remorse and guilt, and may experience negative consequences for our wrongdoing. If you need to obtain forgiveness from someone you have harmed: 1 . Honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you've done and how they have affected others.  2 . Pray and confess your sins to God.  3 . Then,   if   possible,   talk   to   those   whom   you   have   harmed.      Express   your   sincere   sorrow   and   regret   for   what   you have done, affirm it was wrong, and ask for forgiveness.  4 . If your wrongdoing resulted in a financial impact, if possible, reimburse their loss.  5 . Do   not   explain   why   or   provide   excuses   why   you   did   what   you   did.     This   is   not   about   you.     This   is   about   those   you have harmed and their recovery.  This   action—if   done   with   a   sincere   heart—will   begin   to   dissolve   your   guilt,   shame   and   pain.      No   one   is   perfect.      We   all make   mistakes.      Plus,   God   is   more   interested   in   the   attitude   of   our   heart   than   he   is   with   our   failures.      His   love   for   us   is beyond measure—which motivates us to repentance and obedience in all areas of our lives. Your   actions   will   begin   the   internal   process   of   freeing   you   from   the   consequential   turmoil   of   what   you   did.      However,   it is   important   to   realize   the   person(s)   you   harmed   may   not   forgive   you.      They   will   likely   need   to   overcome   their   pain   and anger,   and   find   forgiveness   in   their   own   time.      Regardless,   remember   to   treat   them   with   humility,   compassion   and empathy—and most important—agape love.  Summary Jesus   Christ   was   a   perfect   reflection   of   God.      As   such,   consider   some   of   the   last   words   spoken   by   Jesus…after   he   had   been   rejected,   accused, and   abused…as   He   hung   on   the   cross   dying,   He   said   “Father,   forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  Luke 23:34 It   is   these   words   that   provide   spiritual   insight   into   the   nature   of   God’s heart, and   words   that   provide   us   with   guidance   in   how   to   respond   to   a dark world. Here is a link to a wonderful video on forgiveness:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxoMbPWuk0I Forgiveness   is   more   powerful   than   we   realize.      However,   forgiveness   can   be   difficult   because   the   scars   can   be   deep and   calloused—especially   if   there   was   sexual,   physical,   mental   and/or   emotional   abuse.      But   remember,   forgiveness   is a   choice—and   most   important—it   is   for   your   benefit,   healing   and   spiritual   wellbeing.      Think   about   it…all   of   the consequences   of   unforgiveness   are   detrimental   to   life   and   living.      But   when   forgiveness   is   based   upon   a   sincere   heart and   bolstered   by   the   Holy   Spirit,   it   will   break   the   chains   that   bind   you;   as   it   melts   away   the   inappropriate   thoughts, undesirable emotions and harmful physical responses. If you are harboring unforgiveness in your heart…the following prayer may assist you.  Heavenly   Father,   in   the   name   of   Jesus   Christ   I   come   before   Your   throne   of   grace   and   mercy   to   find   help   in   my   time   of need.      Thank   you,   Jesus,   for   dying   for   me   and   paying   the   price   for   my   sins.      Your   word   says   that   we   are   to   forgive others   as   we   have   been   forgiven.      However,   Lord,   I   have   been   deeply   hurt   and   I   am   having   difficulty   in   forgiving because   of   what   was   done.      Holy   Spirit,   I   give   you   my   heart,   I   give   you   my   soul,   I   give   you   my   emotions,   and   I   give   you my pain—because only You can change me from within.  Help me to forgive as you have forgiven me.  Amen. Therefore,   as   the   elect   of   God,   holy   and   beloved,   put   on   tender   mercies,   kindness,   humility,   meekness,   longsuffering; 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.  Colossians 3:12-17 I   pray   you   find   the   desire   and   power   to   forgive   those   who   have   harmed   you…for   those   who   live   in   darkness   do   not know what they have done. All for His Glory Harold D. Thomas
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Forgiveness I   shared   my   intent   to   write   this   lesson   on   forgiveness   to   a friend   who   is   a   nonbeliever.      He   said   he   did   not   think forgiveness   was   necessary—which   caused   me   to   deeply consider     the     meaning     and     consequences     of     his statement.        The    next    day    I    realized    the    following enlightening and profound spiritual truth: When one believes forgiveness in not necessary, it impedes their ability to know and experience God’s heart! For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16. God’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ is absolute, eternal, and an expression of His love. God’s forgiveness penetrates our heart and transforms our soul. Forgiveness is more powerful than we realize, because it operates within the spiritual realm. What’s    more,    forgiveness    operates    in    three    different spiritual    dimensions—where    each    type    of    forgiveness enables    us    to    more    fully    know    and    experience    God’s heart.      These   different   forms   of   forgiveness   comprise   the content of this lesson. 1 . We must be forgiven by God. 2 . We must forgive others, self and God. 3 . We   need   to   be   forgiven   by   those   whom   we   have harmed. We Must be Forgiven For   all   have   sinned   and   fall   short   of   the   glory   of   God.     Romans 3:23 The   mystery   of   the   Gospel   of   Jesus   Christ   is   we   are freely   forgiven—not   by   what   we   do—but   by   the   grace   of God.      This   is   difficult   for   those   who   are   not   born   again   to grasp   because   it   conflicts   with   our   human   rational   thought process—which   is   based   upon   everything   we   earn   and achieve   in   life   is   based   upon   what   we   do.      No   one   gives us     anything     of     value     for     free…especially     eternal life…which    cannot    be    purchased    (it    has    already    been paid for by Jesus). But   God,   who   is   rich   in   mercy,   because   of   His   great   love with   which   He   loved   us,   even   when   we   were   dead   in trespasses,   made   us   alive   together   with   Christ   (by   grace you   have   been   saved),   and   raised   us   up   together,   and made   us   sit   together   in   the   heavenly   places   in   Christ Jesus,    that    in    the    ages    to    come    He    might    show    the exceeding   riches   of   His   grace   in   His   kindness   toward   us in    Christ    Jesus.        For    by    grace    you    have    been    saved through   faith,   and   that   not   of   yourselves;   it   is   the   gift   of God,   not   of   works,   lest   anyone   should   boast.      For   we   are His   workmanship,   created   in   Christ   Jesus   for   good   works, which   God   prepared   beforehand   that   we   should   walk   in them.  Ephesians 2:1-10 “In    Him    we    have    redemption    through    His    blood,    the forgiveness   of   sins,   according   to   the   riches   of   His   grace.” Ephesians 1:7 “For   as   the   heavens   are   high   above   the   earth,   so   great   is His   mercy   toward   those   who   fear   Him;   as   far   as   the   east is     from     the     west,     so     far     has     He     removed     our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:11-12 We Must Forgive Those    who    are    forgiven—must    forgive—which    seems relevant   and   logical.      However,   for   many,   this   can   be   very difficult   because   our   flesh   does   not   want   to   forgive.      In fact,   our   flesh   usually   responds   with   very   strong   emotions that    demand    vengeance    and    retribution    for    what    was done to us.  However,   God   is   very   straightforward   about   forgiveness for   those   who   are   born   again:   because   we   are   forgiven, we   must   forgive.      The   following   words   spoken   by   Jesus Christ    reveals    His    truth    regarding    the    importance    of forgiveness.      Although   we   are   forgiven   and   will   live   with Him    for    eternity…to    not    forgive    someone    has    many undesirable   consequences   that   stifle   our   internal   peace, joy, happiness, and spiritual growth. “Then   Peter   came   to   Him   and   said,   ‘Lord,   how   often   shall my   brother   sin   against   me,   and   I   forgive   him?      Up   to seven   times?’      Jesus   said   to   him,   ‘I   do   not   say   to   you,   up to   seven   times,   but   up   to   seventy   times   seven.      Matt 18:21-22 Peter    (a    disciple    of    Jesus)    thought    he    understood forgiveness.       Throughout    time,    the    rational    thinking    of man   says   fool   me   once,   shame   on   you.      Fool   me   twice, shame    on    me.        Do    it    again    and    %*$#^#&!!!        Peter’s human   logic   and   attempt   at   spiritual   wisdom   caused   him to    think    to    forgive    seven    times    should    be    more    than sufficient.      But   Jesus—Who   reflected   the   character   and heart    of    God—instructed    we    must    forgive    up    seventy times seven (490 times). It’s   important   to   note   the   response   of   Jesus   is   not   about   a specific   number.      But   rather,   it   provides   insight   into   the loving,   forgiving   and   patient   heart   of   God.      Consider   how many   times   each   of   us   have   repeated   the   same   sin   over, and   over,   and   over.      Jesus   then   continued   to   instruct Peter      by      reinforcing      our      need      to      forgive      (and consequences    of    unforgiveness)    in    the    Parable    of    the Unforgiving Servant. Therefore,   the   kingdom   of   heaven   is   like   a   certain   king who   wanted   to   settle   accounts   with   his   servants.      And when   he   had   begun   to   settle   accounts,   one   was   brought to   him   who   owed   him   ten   thousand   talents.      But   as   he was   not   able   to   pay,   his   master   commanded   that   he   be sold,   with   his   wife   and   children   and   all   that   he   had,   and that   payment   be   made.      The   servant   therefore   fell   down before   him,   saying,   ‘Master,   have   patience   with   me,   and   I will   pay   you   all.’      Then   the   master   of   that   servant   was moved   with   compassion,   released   him,   and   forgave   him the   debt.      But   that   servant   went   out   and   found   one   of   his fellow   servants   who   owed   him   a   hundred   denarii;   and   he laid   hands   on   him   and   took   him   by   the   throat,   saying, ‘Pay   me   what   you   owe!’      So,   his   fellow   servant   fell   down at   his   feet   and   begged   him,   saying,   ‘Have   patience   with me,   and   I   will   pay   you   all.’      And   he   would   not,   but   went and   threw   him   into   prison   till   he   should   pay   the   debt.      So, when   his   fellow   servants   saw   what   had   been   done,   they were   very   grieved,   and   came   and   told   their   master   all   that had   been   done.     Then   his   master,   after   he   had   called   him, said   to   him,   ‘You   wicked   servant!   I   forgave   you   all   that debt   because   you   begged   me.      Should   you   not   also   have had   compassion   on   your   fellow   servant,   just   as   I   had   pity on   you?’     And   his   master   was   angry,   and   delivered   him   to the   torturers   until   he   should   pay   all   that   was   due   to   him.     “So,   my   heavenly   Father   also   will   do   to   you   if   each   of   you, from     his     heart,     does     not     forgive     his     brother     his trespasses.”  Matthew 18:23-35 Some    may    perceive    the    response    of    the    master    as revenge,   and   based   upon   conditional   forgiveness.      I   see the    response    by    the    master    as    punishment    that    is designed   to   change   the   attitude   of   the   heart   and   behavior.     Consider   the   parable   if   the   master   did   not   respond;   or worse,   rewarded   the   servant.      God   is   holy;   His   word   is absolute;   and   there   are   consequences   when   we   do   not obey.      In   addition,   consider   the   interaction   between   the master   and   the   servant   from   the   perspective   of   a   father and    son    relationship.        When    a    son    disobeys,    will    the father   punish   his   son   for   the   son’s   benefit?      Plus,   will   the father   disown   his   son   for   what   he   did,   or   still   love   him unconditionally?   For   those   who   received   God’s   grace   and   forgiveness, harboring    unforgiveness    will    create    conflict    within    our heart   and   soul.      Think   about   the   contradiction   when   a Christian,    who    has    received    eternal    and    unmerited forgiveness   by   the   sacrificial   blood   of   Jesus   Christ,   asks God    for    forgiveness    of    their    sin    when    they    have    not forgiven   someone   else.      The   internal   conflict   can   range from   unpleasant   to   debilitating;   and   is   a   consequence   of not   obeying   God’s   word.      In   the   same   way   the   master delivered   the   servant   to   the   torturers   until   he   should   pay all    that    was    due    him…the    torture    associated    with    the deprivation    of    spiritual    peace    is    a    form    of    spiritual chastisement…for our betterment. My   son,   do   not   despise   the   chastening   of   the   Lord   nor   be discouraged   when   you   are   rebuked   by   Him;   for   whom   the Lord   loves   He   chastens,   and   scourges   every   son   whom He   receives.”      God   deals   with   you   as   with   sons;   for   what son     is     there     whom     a     father     does     not     chasten?     Furthermore,   we   have   had   human   fathers   who   corrected us,   and   we   paid   them   respect.      Shall   we   not   much   more readily   be   in   subjection   to   the   Father   of   spirits   and   live?     For   they   indeed   for   a   few   days   chastened   us   as   seemed best    to    them,    but    He    for    our    profit,    that    we    may    be partakers   of   His   holiness.      Now   no   chastening   seems   to be    joyful    for    the    present,    but    painful;    nevertheless, afterward   it   yields   the   peaceable   fruit   of   righteousness   to those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:5-11 And   because   you   are   sons,   God   has   sent   forth   the   Spirit of   His   Son   into   your   hearts,   crying   out,   “Abba,   Father!”     Therefore,   you   are   no   longer   a   slave   but   a   son,   and   if   a son, then an heir of God through Christ.  Galatians 4:6-7 Here are additional scriptures regarding forgiveness. Jesus   said   “And   whenever   you   stand   praying,   if   you   have anything   against   anyone,   forgive   him,   that   your   Father   in heaven   may   also   forgive   you   your   trespasses.      But   if   you do   not   forgive,   neither   will   your   Father   in   heaven   forgive your trespasses.”  Mark 11: 25-26 And   do   not   grieve   the   Holy   Spirit   of   God,   by   whom   you were   sealed   for   the   day   of   redemption.      Let   all   bitterness, wrath,   anger,   clamor,   and   evil   speaking   be   put   away   from you,    with    all    malice.        And    be    kind    to    one    another, tenderhearted,    forgiving    one    another,    even    as    God    in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:30-32 “Judge   not,   and   you   shall   not   be   judged.      Condemn   not, and   you   shall   not   be   condemned.      Forgive,   and   you   will be forgiven.”  Luke 6:37 “And   be   kind   to   one   another,   tenderhearted,   forgiving   one another,   even   as   God   in   Christ   forgave   you.”      Ephesians 4:25-32 Here is something else to consider. Why would God mandate we forgive others?  Take time and think about your answer. My answer to this question is in the form of another reflective question. Can you identify one commandment from God that was not for our physical and spiritual benefit? Consequences of Unforgiveness When     we     hold     onto     unforgiveness,     we     will     also experience    anger,    bitterness,    hatred    and    a    desire    for retribution—which results in: Distress to our body and mind. Continued   aggravation   of   our   internal   “scars”   cause by the one who harmed us. A “restricting filter” between us and God. What’s   more,   the   day-to-day   internal   suffering   and   pain associated   with   unforgiveness   soon   becomes   “normal”   to us   because   we   forgot   what   it   was   like   to   live   without   the internal    turmoil.        Meanwhile,    the    never-ending    boil    of caustic   rage   continues   to   fester   to   the   surface   in   what   we say and do. In addition, when we hold onto unforgiveness: We    are    held    in    bondage    by    the    person(s)    who committed the offense against us. Their   crime   continues   to   influence   our   ability   to   live life    to    the    fullest    by    limiting    all    that    there    is    to experience   in   our   walk   with   our   Savior   and   Lord, Jesus Christ. However,    when    we    are    able    to    stand    back    from    a distance…and   look   at   everything   that   has   occurred   to   us from       an       eternal,       spiritual       and       “big       picture” perspective—and   reflect   upon   the   grace   and   forgiveness God   has   given   us   in   His   Son,   Jesus   Christ—is   when   we are   able   to   begin   the   process   of   breaking   the   stronghold and chains of unforgiveness. It   is   safe   to   say   those   who   harmed   us   do   not   deserve   to be   forgiven.      However,   it’s   also   safe   to   say   we   did   not deserve   God’s   forgiveness   in   Jesus   Christ.      God’s   desire for us is to: Let   go   of   that   which   continues   to   destroy   us   from within. To   forgive   as   He   has   forgiven   us—as   a   reciprocal   act of His love, His mercy and His grace. Forgiveness—the       deliberate       act       of       relinquishing (surrendering,    abandoning)    our    feelings    of    resentment and/or    vengeance    towards    someone    who    has    harmed us—is    biblically    mandated.        But    there    is    a    very    good reason—because    forgiveness    is    much    more    powerful than we realize in that it can heal the internal “damage.” Forgiveness: Is a powerful spiritual weapon. Will    restore    our    body,    heart    and    soul    from    the devastating harm caused by trauma, such as: o Verbal abuse. o Mental abuse. o Physical abuse. o Sexual abuse. o Domestic violence. o Parental separation. o Loss of a loved one. Takes    power    away    from    Satan    and    his    demonic minions. Changes our perception of: o Those who have harmed us. o The world around us. Even   if   the   person   who   committed   the   crime   does   not care,       refuses       to       change,       or       is       no       longer living—forgiveness   is   still   vitally   important   for   the   one   who was   harmed—for   it   is   a   source   of   healing—which   has been proven by medical research on forgiveness. Medical Research on Forgiveness There   have   been   multiple   studies   on   the   psychological and   physical   effects   of   forgiveness   during   the   past   20 years.      Medical   research   has   determined   there   are   many psychological   and   physical   benefits   that   occur   when   we forgive.      (This   should   not   be   surprising   because   God’s word instructs us to forgive!) Note:   The   following   content   is   from   an   article   posted   by the American Psychological Association (APA). Research   has   shown   that   forgiveness   is   linked   to   mental health    outcomes    such    as    reduced    anxiety,    depression and   major   psychiatric   disorders,   as   well   as   with   fewer physical health symptoms and lower mortality rates. APA content source: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/01/ce-corner The   Mayo   Clinic   is   one   of   America’s   top-ranked   medical institutions;    is    regarded    as    one    of    the    best    residency education   programs   in   the   United   States;   and   performs significant research in multiple medical fields.  Note:   The   following   content   is   from   an   article   posted   by t he Mayo Clinic.  Unforgiveness can cause: Forgiveness    can    make    way    for    improved    health    and peace of mind. Forgiveness can lead to: Healthier relationships. Improved mental health. Less anxiety, stress and hostility. Lower blood pressure. Fewer symptoms of depression. A stronger immune system. Improved heart health. Improved self-esteem. Forgiveness   is   a   commitment   to   change   by   to   moving from suffering to forgiveness by: Recognizing   the   value   of   forgiveness   and   how   it   can improve your life. Identify   what   needs   healing   and   who   needs   to   be forgiven and for what. Acknowledge   your   emotions   and   behavior   caused   by harm done to you, and work to release them. Choose to forgive the person who's offended you. Transition   from   your   role   as   victim   and   release   the control and power the offending person. Consider    joining    a    support    group    or    seeing    a counselor. Mayo   content   source:   https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy- lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692 For    more    information    on    psychological    and    medical research findings Google “research on forgiveness.” Where Do I Find Strength to Forgive? It    is    important    to    realize    and    remember—the    intent    of Satan   and   his   minions   is   to   cause   unforgiveness,   anger, hatred,   bitterness,   and   a   desire   for   vengeance—to   occur in    all    of    us.        This    is    what    he    orchestrates    between nations;     and     this     is     what     he     instigates     between persons—all    with    the    intent    of    causing    spiritual    and physical   death.      When   we   choose   to   forgive,   his   divisive power is taken away, and its grip ceases its hold on us. If   you   have   accepted   Jesus   Christ   as   your   Savior   and Lord…remember: Where   you   were,   where   you   are,   and   where   you   are headed (eternally) because of Jesus. This    transformation    is    because    in    Christ    you    are forgiven. “And    you,    being    dead    in    your    trespasses    and    the uncircumcision   of   your   flesh,   He   has   made   alive   together with    Him,    having    forgiven    you    all    trespasses,    having wiped    out    the    handwriting    of    requirements    that    was against   us,   which   was   contrary   to   us.     And   He   has   taken   it out   of   the   way,   having   nailed   it   to   the   cross.      Having disarmed   principalities   and   powers,   He   made   a   public spectacle    of    them,    triumphing    over    them    in    it.”        2 Colossians 2:13-15 “In    Him    we    have    redemption    through    His    blood,    the forgiveness   of   sins,   according   to   the   riches   of   His   grace.” Ephesians 1:7 Look through your spiritual eyes and consider: The darkness that is in the world. The influence of Satan in people’s lives. The number of people living in darkness who: o Have no clue what they’re doing. o Are blindly led by unknown forces. It   is   by   the   grace   of   God   you   can   see   these   spiritual truths. Now consider: The person(s) who harmed you. Their existence in overwhelming darkness. The effect of Satan’s influence. The eternal consequences of: o What they did. o What you can do. Remember…even though the one who harmed you may: Discount/disown what they did. Respond with disdain No longer live. Forgiveness is for YOUR healing. I Cannot Forgive Myself We    once    lived    in    darkness    and    were    influenced    by principalities,   powers,   rulers   of   darkness   of   this   age,   and spiritual   hosts   of   wickedness.   (Ephesians   6:12).      But   we are   now   in   the   light   of   Jesus   and   can   see   with   greater clarity.  (Ephesians 5:8)  All   of   us   have   memories—which   are   part   of   our   soul   and are   eternal.      This   includes   the   good   memories   and   those we    wish    never    occurred.        There    are    times    when    a memory   flashes   across   my   mind;   I   cringe   at   the   thought of   what   I   did;   and   I   ask   how   is   it   possible   for   God   to forgive   me.      Unfortunately,   God’s   grace   and   forgiveness does   not   erase   our   memories   of   past   sins.      Our   memories remain for a purpose.  For example, our memories: Provide    us    with    a    benchmark    that    allows    us    to compare    how    much    we    have    grown    in    Christ (sanctification). Provide   us   with   an   ability   to   understand   and   have compassion   towards   those   who   are   bound   by   similar sin. Reinforce humility. Will     be     illuminated     and     judicated     during     the Judgment Seat of Christ.  (See 2 Corinthians 5:9-11) Magnify   our   thankfulness,   praise   and   worship   of   God while    we    are    still    in    our    physical    bodies…and especially   when   we   are   on   the   “other   side”   in   our spiritual    bodies    as    we    join    the    great    multitude praising   God.      Imagine   what   it   will   be   like   when   we see   our   Savior   and   Lord   in   Heaven…and   we   truly realize    for    the    first    time…how    much    God    loves us…and   we   were   truly   forgiven   for   that   which   we thought was unforgivable.  Then   I   heard   something   like   the   voice   of   a   great   multitude and   like   the   sound   of   many   waters   and   like   the   sound   of mighty   peals   of   thunder,   saying,   "Hallelujah!   For   the   Lord our   God,   the Almighty,   reigns.   "Let   us   rejoice   and   be   glad and   give   the   glory   to   Him,   for   the   marriage   of   the   Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”  Rev 19:6-7 Remember…the   sacrificial   death   of   Jesus   Christ   did   not provide   a   means   to   forgive   a   few   of   our   “less   important” sins.          He     also     died     for     those     sins     that     seem unconscionable    (shocking,    immoral,    inexcusable,    and horrifying).          To     perceive     otherwise     discounts     the unfathomable   gift   of   grace   God   has   bestowed   upon   us   via His Son, Jesus. How Can I Forgive God? My   father   died   of   lung   cancer   when   I   was   14   years   old.      It was   a   devastating   and   traumatic   experience.      Looking back,   I   had   no   idea   of   what   was   going   on   internally   as   I experienced     anger,     frustrations,     confusion,     and     a mournful   heartache   that   reached   into   the   marrow   of   my bones.  I missed my father.  I miss him to this day. Approximately    three    years    later,    while    standing    in    the water’s   edge   in   Huntington   Beach,   California,   I   accepted Jesus   Christ   as   my   savior.      When   I   was   21   years   old,   I accepted    Jesus    Christ    as    my    Lord.        I    had    made    a complete   mess   of   my   life   and   my   only   choice   was   to   give it to Him. I   am   now   65   years   old,   and   I   can   say   with   confidence   that every one of God’s promises is true.  My   wife   and   I   discuss   the   loss   of   my   father   on   occasion.     (As   of   March,   2020,   we   will   celebrate   our   40th   year   of marriage.)      We   both   wonder   if   we   would   have   met   if   my father   did   not   die.      I   also   wonder   if   my   life   in   Christ,   my teaching   ministry   and   the   website   would   also   exist   as   it does   today.      I   will   not   know   until   I   am   on   the   “other   side” and   I   can   ask   Jesus   directly.      Until   then,   the   following assisted me in overcoming my pain, and forgiving God: 1 . Express    your    pain    and    thoughts    in    prayer.        Be honest with God (He can handle it). 2 . Recognize   His   thoughts   and   ways   are   different   from ours.  (Isiah 55:8-9) 3 . Trust   in   the   Lord   with   all   your   heart,   and   lean   not   on your own understanding.  (Proverbs 3:5) Each    of    us    needs    to    come    to    the    point    where—by faith—we   conclude   the   events   we   go   through   in   life   are allowed   by   Him   to   accomplish   His   purpose   in   our   lives, and in the lives of others. What If I'm the One Who Needs Forgiveness? We   have   all   harmed   someone   in   one   form   or   another.     Those   who   have   entered   into   the   light   of   Christ   will   look back    with    remorse    and    guilt,    and    may    experience negative consequences for our wrongdoing. If   you   need   to   obtain   forgiveness   from   someone   you   have harmed: 1 . Honestly     assess     and     acknowledge     the     wrongs you've done and how they have affected others.  2 . Pray and confess your sins to God.  3 . Then,    if    possible,    talk    to    those    whom    you    have harmed.      Express   your   sincere   sorrow   and   regret   for what   you   have   done,   affirm   it   was   wrong,   and   ask   for forgiveness.  4 . If   your   wrongdoing   resulted   in   a   financial   impact,   if possible, reimburse their loss.  5 . Do   not   explain   why   or   provide   excuses   why   you   did what   you   did.      This   is   not   about   you.      This   is   about those you have harmed and their recovery.  This   action—if   done   with   a   sincere   heart—will   begin   to dissolve   your   guilt,   shame   and   pain.      No   one   is   perfect.     We   all   make   mistakes.      Plus,   God   is   more   interested   in the   attitude   of   our   heart   than   he   is   with   our   failures.      His love   for   us   is   beyond   measure—which   motivates   us   to repentance and obedience in all areas of our lives. Your   actions   will   begin   the   internal   process   of   freeing   you from   the   consequential   turmoil   of   what   you   did.      However, it   is   important   to   realize   the   person(s)   you   harmed   may not   forgive   you.      They   will   likely   need   to   overcome   their pain   and   anger,   and   find   forgiveness   in   their   own   time.     Regardless,     remember     to     treat     them     with     humility, compassion   and   empathy—and   most   important—agape love.  Summary Jesus     Christ     was     a perfect       reflection       of God.      As   such,   consider some   of    the   last   words spoken   by   Jesus…after he    had    been    rejected, accused,                    and abused…as   He   hung   on the   cross   dying,   He   said “Father,   forgive   them,   for   they   do   not   know   what   they   do.”     Luke 23:34 It   is   these   words   that   provide   spiritual   insight   into   the nature   of   God’s   heart, and   words   that   provide   us   with guidance in how to respond to a dark world. Click on the link below to watch a a wonderful video on forgiveness:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxoMbPWuk0I Forgiveness   is   more   powerful   than   we   realize.      However, forgiveness   can   be   difficult   because   the   scars   can   be deep    and    calloused—especially    if    there    was    sexual, physical,   mental   and/or   emotional   abuse.      But   remember, forgiveness    is    a    choice—and    most    important—it    is    for your   benefit,   healing   and   spiritual   wellbeing.      Think   about it…all     of     the     consequences     of     unforgiveness     are detrimental   to   life   and   living.      But   when   forgiveness   is based   upon   a   sincere   heart   and   bolstered   by   the   Holy Spirit,   it   will   break   the   chains   that   bind   you;   as   it   melts away   the   inappropriate   thoughts,   undesirable   emotions and harmful physical responses. If    you    are    harboring    unforgiveness    in    your    heart…the following prayer may assist you.  Heavenly   Father,   in   the   name   of   Jesus   Christ   I   come before   Your   throne   of   grace   and   mercy   to   find   help   in   my time   of   need.      Thank   you,   Jesus,   for   dying   for   me   and paying   the   price   for   my   sins.      Your   word   says   that   we   are to   forgive   others   as   we   have   been   forgiven.      However, Lord,   I   have   been   deeply   hurt   and   I   am   having   difficulty   in forgiving   because   of   what   was   done.      Holy   Spirit,   I   give you   my   heart,   I   give   you   my   soul,   I   give   you   my   emotions, and   I   give   you   my   pain—because   only   You   can   change me   from   within.      Help   me   to   forgive   as   you   have   forgiven me.  Amen. Therefore,   as   the   elect   of   God,   holy   and   beloved,   put   on tender       mercies,       kindness,       humility,       meekness, longsuffering;   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.  Colossians 3:12-17 I   pray   you   find   the   desire   and   power   to   forgive   those   who have   harmed   you…for   those   who   live   in   darkness   do   not know what they have done. All for His Glory Harold D. Thomas
Jesus