Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

Look upon me and be merciful to me, As Your custom is toward those who love Your name. Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me. Redeem me from the oppression of man, That I may keep Your precepts. Psalm 119:132-134

When Unforgiveness is a Good Thing

mvLet me be clear about one thing – being an unforgiving person is not a good thing, it’s a bad thing. However, it’s a bad thing from which we can discover a couple or three good things. What redeeming trait can come from evil, you ask? First, the recognition that you might be merciless. Are you a Christian who hates Michael Vick for what he did to animals?


We can fix that.

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15

Of course when I say ‘we’ I mean Jesus. Did your read the Bible passage above? Jesus said it and He wasn’t just waxing poetic; He was laying down doctrine for believers to learn and employ. There’s no getting around Christ’s instructions to His church; there’s either obedience or disobedience.

But it’s hard!

If you think the Christian walk is hard, you’re not doing it correctly. More accurately, you’re probably walking out your Christian faith in your flesh rather than the Spirit (click on those terms if you’re not familiar with them). Believe it or not, this is a good thing too! It’s good because you just recognized why you can’t forgive Michael Vick and why your walk with Jesus seems difficult at times! Jesus said that His teachings are easy and that the burdens we are to carry are light. Was He lying to us? Of course not! Jesus set into motion a practical way by which the children of God can easily identify a hitch in their giddy-up.

Still not seeing it?


Do you know what that means? Your flesh, or more precisely, your fleshy heart, is hindering you.

Consider this truth:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10

The heart, that emotionally driven component of our flesh, is deceptive, but emotions in themselves are not evil. They are the God-given vehicles that bring us to places of decision. Sadness, anger, happiness, they all eventually lead to a choice, but what choice? In the teachings of Jesus, we have been given the right responses for every circumstance, but left to ourselves we have sin. It really is just that simple. The Christian must recognize that only God effectively searches the heart and tests the mind, otherwise our emotional paths will misguide us. Hopefully it’s clear by now: Christian folks who harbor hatred towards Michael Vick are being driven by their emotions rather than Jesus.

But I’m Not a Christian!


Let’s fix that! Hatred and sin eat people alive, and ultimately destroy, but thankfully there is a cure: salvation found in Christ Jesus. God the Father is the Mastermind behind absolute forgiveness! Through His Son Jesus He provided a way by which all humanity can be saved.

Are you human?

Good, than you qualify.

The Bible teaches the following: all mankind has sinned (Romans 3:23) and that sin separates us from God.  The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. God demonstrated His love toward us while we were still sinners, by sending Christ to die and pay the penalty of our sin (Romans 5:8).  If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). If you believe by faith, you have been justified through faith, and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1 ). There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

You can pray right now to acknowledge and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. The prayer does not save you; Jesus saves you. Believe that by faith.


“God, I know that I have sinned against you and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. With your help, I place my trust in You for salvation. Help me to die to my flesh each day and to walk in Your ways. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness – the gift of eternal life! Amen!”

It’s time to let hatred and unforgiveness go. It has been reported that Michael Vick is a Christian. If this is true (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), then Jesus has already forgiven him, so it’s time you did too. Do you want to know something else? It doesn’t matter if Michael Vick is a Christian or not; our Lord’s directive to the church was to forgive all men, not just Christian men.

Let hatred go

“I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.” Exodus 6:6b-7a

Did you pray to receive Jesus today? Please leave a comment below and let me know. I’d like to help you get moving in the right direction.

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“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” Romans 4:7-8

Salvation as we know, is about the forgiveness of sins. Around 1739 the Moravians were in Alaska sharing the Gospel when they stumbled upon a problem—in the native Alaskan language there was no word for forgiveness, which made it kind of hard to talk about the subject matter. Not a problem. After pondering the issue for a little while, they made up a word.


That word ‘issu-magijou-jung-nainer-mik’ is currently the longest word in the native Alaskan language and it literally means, “Not being able to think about it any more.” Isn’t that beautiful? It almost perfectly describes how God the Father views the sin of His children—He isn’t able to think about it anymore. Why? Because we’re justified by Christ’s blood and God sees us as if we have never sinned.

In other words, the Father does not look at us; see our sin and say, “Lucky for you My Son died for those sins.” No! He sees us robed in His Son’s righteous and sinless! That’s like going to court with a speeding ticket and the judge saying, “Sir, the charge you are talking about does not exist.”

God isn’t winking at our sin…it’s completely gone! Incredible, isn’t it? The only work the believer must do (which really isn’t any effort) is to accept delivery of the free gift.

Have you received God’s free gift?

Are you going to Heaven?

“I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” Jeremiah 31:34

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

My pastor calls it night watch; those times you can’t sleep because the Lord has some stuff He’d like you to do. Sometimes its prayer time; i.e., allowing the Father to bring to mind certain folks and situations, and other times its just classroom victuals. Last night it was a little of both. I was up so long last night I concluded I’d surely be exhausted come morning, but amazingly, I was up earlier than usual feeling completely rested. Was it all a dream? I assure you it was not.

Help Me to Remember

I must have said that fifty times as He spoke to my heart. Several times I wanted to get up and jot things down, but I determined I could not interrupt what the Father was doing. The difficulty for me this morning was twofold: trying to recall it all (so it might make sense to the reader) and omitting personalities so as to not adulate or vilify anyone.

The gist of His impartation centered upon the doctrine of reverence. What God pointed out to me is that I rarely revere Him. Oh, I say that I do, but my actions don’t always acquiesce with my claims. It’s not that my deeds are evil necessarily, but that they do not consistently reflect a reverent attitude towards God. In other words, if I truly feared God, would I be saying the things I say and doing the things I do? God is watching and He is listening and my tendency (frequently) is to behave as if He was my high school, stoner buddy rather then the Creator of the Universe.

How it Started

This exchange with God began as I recounted five individuals that I thought I needed to pray for and forgive. I thought I needed to forgive them because I thought that they had somehow wronged me. As I poured over each case before the Lord, He led me to recognize that my legal positions were flawed. It wasn’t that these folks were innocent of the charges I levied against them, but rather the evidence to support the allegations was circumstantial at best. Are they guilty? God didn’t say. He didn’t say because their guilt or innocence was not the issue; of issue was the ‘whole duty’ of a Christian man in the light of whatever his circumstances.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Romans 13:1

“Under the legal system I have placed you,” God was saying to me, “is not every man considered innocent until his guilt is proven?”


God was telling me that because I felt I had to forgive them I had already determined they were guilty of something. The reality is that in each situation the evidence did not support my accusation. “That,” He added, “is not a ‘God Revering Response.’”

It was beginning to come together. It’s not about how I’ve been responding to others, it’s about how I have been responding before You! So simple, yet it so profound—my response in any given situation is but an opportunity to revere God. It’s never been a matter of overlooking someone else’s behavior, but a matter of demonstrating godly reverent behavior at every chance I am given. If I fear Him, in the best biblical sense, my attitude, my actions, my responses will reflect that reverence. It’s my whole duty to God! I knew this already, didn’t I?

Understand how freeing this is. Judicial bondage must give way to mercy because mercy is the spiritual byproduct of reverence to God. We don’t revere God to obtain mercy, but nevertheless mercy is the result. And God is pleased.

The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy. Psalm 147:11

Charles Haddon Spurgeon summarized the verse this way:

“While the bodily powers give no content to God, spiritual qualities are his delight. He cares most for those emotions which centre in Himself: the fear which he approves is fear of Him, and the hope which He accepts is hope in His mercy. It is a striking thought that God should not only be at peace with some kinds of men, but even find a solace and a joy in their company. Oh! The matchless condescension of the Lord, that His greatness should take pleasure in the insignificant creatures of his hand. Who are these favoured men in whom Jehovah takes pleasure? Some of them are the least in His family, who have never risen beyond hoping and fearing. Others of them are more fully developed, but still they exhibit a blended character composed of fear and hope: they fear God with holy awe and filial (befitting of a son or daughter) reverence, and they also hope for forgiveness and blessedness because of the divine mercy. As a father takes pleasure in his own children, so doth the Lord solace himself in his own beloved ones, whose marks of new birth are fear and hope.”

This is going to sound incredibly obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway: any action that does not express reverence to God is irreverent and irreverence is always a sin. If I sense a need (for example) to forgive someone based solely on what I think to be true rather than the actual facts of the case, regardless if they are guilty or not, I am in sin. Keep in mind, forgiveness is merely the vehicle by which God brought me to this place. The issue is and always will be the whole duty of man as it pertains to revering God in everything we say or do. Do we fear God? Is our behavior an expression of that fear?

What’s your God revering response (GRR); what are some of the ways we routinely express irreverence?

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. Genesis 45:4-5God Can Use Your Biggest Mistake

For the believer and the nonbeliever, everything happens for a reason and nothing comes about by coincidence. Even this morning when I had a mini road-rage episode, God used the event to reveal some residual evil in my heart and to perform a little fine-tuning of my soul. It is in these moments I find myself thanking the Lord for answering my prayers (to make known to me my true heart), showing me what an idiot I still am, and for demonstrating His faithfulness and interest in this my sanctification process.

Joseph (a picture of Christ Jesus) is schooling his brothers in this doctrine. The brothers, led by Judah, had previously expressed their readiness to learn by the confession of their sin and as a result Joseph gives them pardon. The essence of Joseph’s actions were later summed-up in these words by Jesus on the cross.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34

Do we fully understand the implication of Christ’s words? On this day, everyone within earshot of Jesus; every Jew, every soldier, every sinner heard the same exact message that Joseph told his brothers, “do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves…for God sent me before you to preserve life.” Had they confessed they would have received a gracious pardon. For those with breath still in their lungs, the offer remains.

Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Acts 3:17-18

For those presently in Christ the good news is that we can stop beating ourselves silly over the mistakes we make. God has foreknowledge of our corrupt manner and has designed a purpose that will bless both Him and us mutually. The progression continues when we acknowledge our wickedness and confess our sin to Jesus. Christ will never give His approval to our sin, but He will turn it around as a Kingdom-building mechanism that brings honor, glory, and praise to Him.

But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more… Romans 5:20b

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By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son… Hebrews 11:17

Bible Error?

By faith we are told, that Abraham attempted to offer his ‘only son’ as a sacrifice to God. The skeptic and naysayer say pridefully, “See, the Bible is in error—everyone knows that Abraham’s first son was Ishmael and Isaac was his second.”

We who believe know better, for Ishmael was the result of a sinful work of Abraham’s flesh in an attempt to help out God by fathering a child through Hagar, his wife Sarah’s servant. The Genesis account of that story reminds us that God does not need our help and this account in Hebrews reminds us that God does not rub our noses in the messes we tend to make.

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12

We Know It Is True

Consider the Hebrews ‘Hall of Faith’ and all the names listed therein. From our Old Testament lessons we recall the unrighteousness, the sins, and the lawless deeds of these men and women, but in Hebrews 11 God does not remember. Not one sin is mentioned; not Abraham’s, not Samson’s, and not even David’s. The only thing that God recollects is their obedience by and through their faith.

What is the lesson for us? It is time to forget what God has already forgotten and is it time to remember that whatever we do outside of faith is of no eternal value.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him… Hebrews 11:6a

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“You have heard that it was said, ’An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Matthew 5:38-42
Forgiveness Makes You Like Christ

If we believe that having a forgiving spirit makes us like Christ, then it stands to reason that an unforgiving spirit makes us like satan. Think about it. When we adhere to the eye-for-an-eye doctrine, we pay back exactly the bad thing that was received and are emulating the evil that was perpetrated against us. No wonder Jesus would rather see us with two black eyes.

While we are in this mode we tend to become emotionally attached to those who we refuse to forgive, carrying around burdens of loathing and contempt. It is like stepping in dog poop, scraping it off your shoe, and then carrying it around in your back pocket so you will never forget what happened to you.

Jesus would remind us that any time spent with satan is time that could be spent with Him. The more time we spend with Christ the more we become like Him, taking on both His flavor and fragrance, just like water does as it streams through a garden hose.

satan’s Balancing Act

Another mistake to avoid is shifting blame when we have wronged others, catching ourselves before actually declaring, “What I did may have been wrong, but he deserved it.”

In a worldly sense we might be correct, but in godly sense we have just been tricked by the devil. While the assertion might be 100% accurate, attempts at balancing the scales are only hiding the fact that we have still sinned. Satan found a way for us to justify our behavior and we took the bait. We latch onto to it because it seems to be fair and equitable, but somewhere down the road the Lord will reveal the error.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

“But I want justice!” 

Let it go.

Stop and think about it.  What do you really want?  Do you want justice for yourself or would your rather have mercy?  Oh, and I’m not talking about how you you handled yourself in this situation, but all the other times (remember when you did something to someone else that is exactly like what this guy just did to you?). If you’re truthful you will want mercy, not justice. If Jesus first came to dole out justice, we would all be a heap of trouble. Praise be to God that when we deserved justice, He sent His Son to give us mercy. By the way, there is a bottom line: Christ has forgiven us and we are mandated to forgive others.

Romans 5:8 

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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