SIMPLY FORGIVE: Lesson 13 supplement

forgiveness

“FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY DO”  Luke 23:34
Forgiveness is not a feeling, but a decision. A life of excellence comes with a forgiving heart. Let these words that Jesus spoke on the cross resonate with you this week.
The concept that forgiveness of others is what’s best for ourselves is sometimes difficult to grasp. But not only is it healthy for us to forgive others, it is required of us.  Our heavenly Father requires us to forgive others daily. In obedience to our Father, when we forgive He forgives us.

 Scripture Memorization

“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins,  too.”  Mark 11:25
 So how do we ask for help to forgive when we do not have the strength or desire? Let’s look at the model prayer that Jesus taught to His disciples found in Matthew 6. Beginning with, “Give us this day our daily bread,” Jesus leaves no question of how often we should pray. This means we daily come to Him in prayer. In that daily prayer we are instructed according to Mark 11:25 to first forgive those that have hurt us. Then in verse 12, He continues to teach us to pray: “Forgive us our sins just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.” Refusing to forgive others is too high a price to pay.  WHY? The act of forgiveness grants us the privilege of being forgiven by our heavenly Father.

How often should we forgive that person who did us wrong? Scripture spells it out in simple math:  seventy times seven times, and if I do my math right it equals 490 times. The message here isn’t to literally forgive someone 490 times—-I believe it means no matter how many times someone wrongs you, you keep on forgiving. You forgive, you forgive again and you forgive again.

Just as forgiveness sets us free, a lack of forgiveness creates resentment that will eat away at our lives. It is unhealthy to allow these feelings of resentment and bitterness to grow or before we know it, these feelings will occupy our minds. We will go to bed thinking bitter thoughts and wake up thinking bitter thoughts.These thoughts halt us from renewing our mind daily to the gifts of Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  Before we realize we will begin to enjoy holding onto the offenses more than reflecting His image. This resentment truly interferes with a routine of reestablishing our commitment to God daily.

Bitterness robs us of the joy that would normally be experienced with our family, friends, or other blessings that God has for us. Unforgiveness is like carrying a 100 lb. backpack everywhere you go and while you carrying that weight everything you do is so so hard. But when you “forgive”  you are throwing that heavy backpack off .  You are removing the very weight that slows you down. Without the weight of unforgiveness everything becomes light and manageable again as you purposely keep your eyes on Jesus. Forgiveness allows you to let go of the hurtful events of the past. The act of forgiveness ushers in  freedom. This freedom will  physically, emotionally and mentally bring you to a place of health where you can Run to the very bright future that God has for you.

We need to forgive because we desperately need forgiveness. For we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Without a doubt, that is why God created forgiveness. God has made a way for us to start anew.

 you may fall on your knees and pray—to God’s delight!
    You’ll see God’s smile and celebrate,
    finding yourself set right with God.” Job 33:26

We all have made mistakes but we don’t have to carry it and regret it for our entire life. We can lay it at the feet of Jesus.

“You’ll sing God’s praises to everyone you meet,
    testifying, ‘I messed up my life—
    and let me tell you, it wasn’t worth it.
But God stepped in and saved me from certain death.
    I’m alive again! Once more I see the light!” Job 33:27-28

 In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

God did not give us life to just endure, but to enjoy abundantly. What is holding you back from the abundant life? What are you holding onto? I believe the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself. If this is your struggle, decide today to forgive yourself. There is no offense that God does not forgive.

 He will forgive you. Begin today, reading scripture and renewing your mind daily to the promise of forgiveness. Share your story here on this blog site,www.bonnieliabenow.com, and allow us to pray for you. There is such freedom in forgiveness. Allow yourself to experience it.

Take this opportunity to write your stories. Complete pages 63-66 in The Study.

Both books can be purchased easily by copying &  pasting this website to your browser. Purchase The Study (workbook) for $8.99 and Excellence with Simple Elegance will be Free. 

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In the Act of Forgiving when someone does something wrong; don’t forget all the things they did right.
First Corinthians 13 saysLove is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
 We do not keep record of being wronged because we have forgiven ‘the wrong’ immediately! Women of faith we need to be ladies who do not take offense easily. Certainly this is not easy to do. It is true.  But many things are not easy and there are few things in life that don’t require practice to be proficient. So practice forgiveness with instant reconciliation. Understand that conflicts cause much greater damage to relationships when left unresolved. Love by choice, not by circumstance remembering to overcome each conflict with love.
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.  Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.”
―    Mother Teresa

My husband is always reminding me that it is better to be righteous than right. Choosing a life of faith and living it in excellence always comes with sacrifice. Choosing to be righteous (morally upright and acting according to the holiness of God) might feel like a sacrifice when you really want to let the offender know that YOU ARE RIGHT in a situation and they are wrong!

  Please share your story where you were required to sacrifice for ‘holy living’.

Jesus understands the sacrifice you endure, because He made the first and ultimate sacrifice for you. 
While hanging on the cross He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Jesus paid for our sins on the cross. His blood shed covered it all. Receive His forgiveness and live freely in His unconditionally love.
A major emphasis of Jesus’ teaching is how to build and maintain right relationships with God and others.  God views these relationships as vital components of our Christian lives. (I suggest reading Gary Smalley’s book, The DNA of Relationship. It is an excellent read) Our pursuit of excellence and personal relationship with Jesus should produce within us the qualities of character that builds and sustains all our relationships. Adopt the forgiveness of others in your prayer life as a daily discipline.

Promise

“Forgive other people and other people will forgive you. Give, and it will be given to you. You will have more than  enough. It can be pushed down and shaken together and it will still run over as it is given to you. The way you give to others is the way you will receive in return.”

Blessing

“the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

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