Saturday, September 29, 2012

Life Shape Family Growth and Discipleship Week 4 – Forgiveness


A huge part of family is forgiveness … move the family past the problem.

Memory Verse: Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal …

Forgiveness simply means that we are moving on. In human terms it means that we give up our personal rights to hate, harbor resentment, punish or defame others. We put them in God’s hands and leave them there – not in hopes He will punish them, but in hopes they will change.

Un-forgiveness relegates us to live in the past which cannot be changed.

Forgiveness simply means that we are moving on …

Forgiveness does not release us from the obligation of being responsible for others and responsibly honest with others. However, we must hold the right motivation of heart – which motivation only God can judge.

Jesus told us:
Luke 6:37  Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Matthew 18
21  Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
22  Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Anger, hurt, and distrust are not always signs of un-forgiveness. The question of forgiveness is not always: forgiveness verses un-forgiveness - Rather what we often struggle with is not forgiveness but restoration.

We can fully forgive a person and yet not be restored.

Forgiveness is a right, restoration is a responsibility. Forgiveness rests with the offended party – restoration is the responsibility of the offender. If one sins, trespasses against you or otherwise offends you, they have the God given right to be forgiven and, a God given responsibility to be restored.

Forgiveness is free … Restoration can cost you a lifetime!

Note: A proper response to sins/offenses which are past/present/future:
It is often best to forget it and act like it did not happen, even though we know it did. However, it is never good to deny it or ignore it and act like it is not happening when we know it is!

Forgiveness is not always easy; it is not a miracle; it is an act of the will; it often requires determination; at times it must be revisited until restored.

God’s Word on forgiveness does in no way indicate that we are to peacefully co-exist with sin or overlook the ongoing atrocities of life. Nor does forgiveness negate correction or punishment for infractions committed. However, forgiveness is essential for moving past the problem.

We must remember that God is going to forgive those who repent whether we do or not. Since God is the Author of forgiveness, often we must access this gift by grace through faith. This means that sometimes we must begin the act of forgiving by seeking God’s grace and ability to forgive. For some it can be a struggle, but if we hold true the following course we will find that God’s grace is sufficient to help forgive and move us past the problem.

Here are 4 Sure Steps which will “Move the Family Past the Problem”.

Determine that we will not bring the offensive situation or circumstance up again:
1.   To the person we are forgiving (condemning or criticizing)
2.   To ourselves (refueling the fire; reliving the pain; justifying sin)
3.   To others (uncovering nakedness; causing division; seeking support – definition of gossip … not a part of the curse or cure)
4.   To God (seeking vengeance, punishment or harm)