Friday, October 26, 2007

To forgive or not to forgive…

Bottom line – forgiveness is not an option. One week ago we discussed the topic of forgiveness in our LifeGroups. It was an engaging time filled with challenge and conviction. Here is a link to our entire study.

Jesus really puts a huge emphasis on the importance of forgiveness. It is literally a must. Between Matthew 6:14-15 and Jesus’ parable of the wicked servant, he makes it very clear that it is an essential component.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:14-15
"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." – Matthew 18:32-35

Forgiveness is an extreme act of trust and faith in God. It challenges us to trust God for a better future - one that is based on the hope that our hurts will not have the final word in our lives. God asks us to give up our destructive thoughts stemming from offenses and to place our hope and trust in him for the future. Forgiveness builds confidence that we can survive the pain and grow from it. When we refuse to forgive, we are defying God, and our pride will limit his divine grace in our lives. Refusing to forgive by holding on to anger, resentment, and a sense of betrayal will make our lives miserable and ineffective. A vindictive attitude creates bitterness and destroys our ability to love and grow spiritually. A victim attitude destroys our faith and hope. Forgiveness honors the Lord and is a gift we give to ourselves. Forgiveness brings freedom! Forgiveness brings life!

There is no offense that cannot be forgiven! Not one! Forgiveness is essential.

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