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How to Forgive – Lenten Devotion
The pages of the Bible are packed with tales of forgiveness, both in the Old and New testaments. The God of the Bible shines through as one who is always willing to forgive and one who is ready to give a chance. In the New Testament the message of forgiveness dazzles out through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Amazingly, just as God forgives unworthy wretches, he expects His children to forgive.
Now you might say that it is impossible to forgive some who continue to offend, some offences you argue are too heinous to be forgiven or you just simply throw up your arms and refuse to forgive. If that’s how you feel about those who hurt and upset you, then you might take a long look at Calvary. Here you find a Man falsely charged, stripped, insulted, bruised, mocked at and totally blood soaked. If you look longer, you might hear Him mumble in His weak state, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Does that pull the break? This Man on Calvary, Jesus prays that God His Father forgive the bullies who continue to taunt Him. You find Jesus demonstrating what He preached through a dying declaration on the cross, forgiving His offenders totally, unconditionally.
In all probability you are reading this material because you too have experienced the forgiveness of Christ in your life. When that is the case, is it not fair that you forgive those who hurt you? Living with grudges chokes out the joy of salvation and hauls a believer out the presence of God.
Forgiving others is certainly not easy. It might sound ridiculous but when you learn to forgive, you find yourself delivered from the shackles that bind your soul and living the life of Christ. The guidelines here will help you get rid of the pile of grudges in your heart and put you on a road that heals from resentment and helps you forgive.
•Think of all that you have done that hurts God. Confess any sin that He reveals. Thank and Praise God for the healing balm of forgiveness He applies to your ailing heart.
•Make a complete list of all those who offend/have offended you. No matter how big or small the offense seems, include it anyway.
•Once your list is ready, get on your knees and begin to share with God the hurt you experience/d as a result of what these people said or did. Pour out your heart to God and lay it all bare before Him. You don’t have to hide those aches and sighs. Talk it through as you would to a close friend.
•Next ask God to help you forgive each of them. Tell them name by name and pray that in Jesus’ Name you too may be able to forgive these people.
•Now go ahead and start praying for each of one on your list. Pray that God blesses them. Resist that desire to ask God to punish them. That’s God’s job and He knows His work too well. Rather, pray at least a few lines that the people in your list may know the love of God. If you are aware of their needs, pray that God meets them. This might sound absurd and it is tough the first time. But as you keep at it, you find yourself praying earnestly for the very ones that grieve/d you.
•Once you finish praying for your offenders, think of one good deed you might do to them. Maybe a small note or inviting them over for a cup of tea or just a smile is good enough. This again is no easy task. It might sound impossible. But with Christ’s strength go right ahead and show these offenders that you have forgiven them and you accept them as they are.
Keep following these check points till bridges mend and hearts heal. You might face new insults and fresh abuse but keep pressing on keeping the cross of Christ in mind. Once you do, you will find greater joy in being an instrument of reconciliation in the hands of your God with whom there is always healing and forgiveness.
You can pick up these books from the Amazon Store for more on forgiveness.
Buy 'Do Yourself a Favor...Forgive: Learn How to Take Control of Your Life Through Forgiveness' by Joyce Meyer from Amazon
Buy 'The Power of Forgiveness: Keep Your Heart Free' by Joyce Meyer from Amazon
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