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Thursday, 5 October 2017

FORGIVENESS 2

FORGIVENESS  
REFLECTION:  Wednesday, October 4, 2017

                What is forgiveness? Jesus’ statement about one of the most
discussed topics within faith communities is found in Luke 17: 3-4      “if your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them”. These are simple instructions about forgiveness but they communicate ‘foundational aspects to the giving and receiving of forgiveness.”
                We have often heard people say, ‘forgive and forget”.  We read in Hebrews 10:17 “their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” But did God really forget them? To be God he didn’t forget these sins, they were recorded so that future generations could learn from them. When God forgets our sins, He no longer holds them against us.  The central issue is not that we forget, but what we do when we remember that someone has wronged us.  It is through God’s grace and the power of the Spirit that enables the transgressions to be blotted out. God is really testifying to God’s faithfulness and offers grace.
                The only way to truly forgive is to remember. This requires a careful look at what has actually happened. Two misconceptions_ we may need to forgive God and that we need to forgive ourselves.
                Often people blame God for what has happened but the blame is misplaced.  We may need to come to terms with what God has permitted in our lives. We may need to vent our anger to God or our disappointment with how He is working. But isn’t our anger only misplaced? God does not sin so therefore cannot be forgiven.
                Is it possible to forgive oneself? If a person has sinned, they are the offender and not the victim of the actions. But if the actions harm oneself—who needs forgiveness? There might be a feeling of guilt, shame, disappointment and anger. But when people speak about forgiving themselves, they nearly always talk about alleviating these feelings.
                If we turn forgiveness inward there is a danger that we would focus on feelings rather than the act which was done. Deep repentance and character transformation should come before emotional release. But there is genuine repentance when forgiveness does restore the joy one has!
                Psalm 32:1 “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven!”
QUESTIONS:
Do you remember the sins of others who have hurt you?
Do you remember those sins you have committed? Have you let go of the feelings tied with them in order that you can move forward? God is calling you to do this right now. Pray and ask forgiveness so that you might have joy in your heart.
PRAYER:  Holy God as I reflect on those actions and inactions which have gone against your teaching please lift away the feelings of guilt, shame, disappointment and anger. Enable me to search within to find a new way of life—filled with joy and hope. Hear me O God …. SILENCE… Amen.

Resource:  Gary Inrig, “The Risk of Forgiveness: What it means to forgive”. Discovery Series, ODB Ministries. p. 13-18

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