And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Love is the first principle that I taught and forgiveness is the 2nd principle that we will be talking about in the following two segments - both are equally important to living the life desired. In this teaching, we are addressing forgiving others, and receiving God's forgiveness. These, working together with the "Love of God" will help you gain understanding, which produces freedom. Freedom is being free from sin, and in this session, we will be coming into truth about our own heart condition.
The heart was made to love, nothing else. When we forgive, we ARE loving. Love IS forgiveness. Jesus showed us the ultimate love of dying on the cross for us, and did it to bring us forgiveness. The first part of Matthew 22:38-40 was described when I spoke of the Love of God. As we read on in Matthew 22:38-40 it says, "…and the second one is like unto it, we are to love others as we love ourselves." Simply put, as we get to "know" God and how much He loves us and is able to receive that love for us personally, we are to do the same with others! We are to get to "know" people, so that a trust will build and that love begins flowing freely and honestly between each other. We need to forgive each other (including ourselves) and receive forgiveness (from God).
In order to love others though, we need to love ourselves. How do we do that? While on your love quest with God, His love begins to take root into your life. Then you are able to love yourself, in spite of yourself because it's His love in you loving you. As you "receive" God's love more and more, more of the impurities surface. Your sins are being exposed so you can confess them. When you confess them, God purges you and brings you even closer to Him. When you finally get that going with God, then loving others is a piece of cake! (John 4:19).
We get stuck though at the loving ourselves part! It's because we know ourselves all too well, all the hidden junk, all the past mistakes, etc., that we don't even want to make friends in fear they'll find all this stuff out. But the truth is, God already knows it anyway. We might as well come clean before Him, let Him sort things out from then on. When we isolate ourselves from people, we are living in fear. We are not being made perfect in love because we put our focus more on what others may think than what God thinks.
I have discovered something that rings true for every life who is having difficulty with what I've been talking about so far. And that is, we are not living IN forgiveness. What I mean is that we are not applying the forgiveness Jesus came to give us every single day of our lives. When we make a mistake (sin), we get mad at ourselves. We think we have to "pay" for them in some way, stay miserable for a few days, etc. But, if we truly believed we are forgiven, we would boldly go to the Lord the the minute we sinned, thereby staying free FROM sin, as Jesus promised. It's not that there won't be sin any longer, it's that when we do sin, we will recognize it, and apply the forgiveness of sins to our lives immediately.
I don't believe people are doing this. If they were, no one would be offended, hurt, angry, etc. We are only offended, hurt or angry when we "think" someone has done us wrong and we've taken it and did not forgive them for what we "think" they have done to us. But we wouldn't take it if we understood what forgiveness truly meant. I heard something the other day at church, "A humble man cannot be offended." As I thought about that, it is very true. A humble person understands God's love and has applied forgiveness to their lives, thereby, exercising compassion and love to others. I think that's a pretty good place to be.
David said in Psalm 51, "Only against YOU Lord have I sinned." He knew that any time we sin against anyone, it's really sinning against God. Matthew 25:40 says that whatever you do (or not do) to others, including forgiveness, you do it unto Him!
Your job as a believer is to believe, right? Then begin to believe you are forgiven, for all past sins, current sins, and future sins. And begin to receive God's love, so you can love yourself, so you can forgive others.
This is the foundation I speak of. Everything, and I mean everything, has to start here if you want to see change in your life.
So what about all those people who caused you hurt, people you think you have forgiven or those you just don't want to forgive? The Bible is clear when it says, "If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you." (Mark 11:26). And we all know that forgiveness from God is the only way we can have fellowship with Him. He demands holiness. And when we take what Jesus has given us, we are made righteous and holy! So therefore, we can have sweet fellowship with God. If you have difficulty hearing from God, it's because you are blocking the reception. God is talking, it's our "receiving" that has problems - again, because of our thinking. But when all our "junk" is out in the open and transparent and we receive the forgiveness He sent to give us, THEN you relationship with God will greatly improve! Yes, even with all your junk you just confessed!
The Bible also instructs us that what we do to others, we do unto Him. So if we don't forgive our brother, we are causing a breach with our Father. Remember, Jeremiah 5:25 says that we withhold good things from us. When we don't forgive, we block all blessings! Isaiah 59:1-2 says, God can heal us, but our sins and iniquities prevent Him from choosing to do so. He cannot move against our will nor does He move against His own words. The Bible is filled with condition - the condition is always about love and forgiveness! So what are our sins here? Our sins are unforgiveness and not receiving God's love. Yes, not receiving God's love is also sin.
So how do you forgive from your heart? Not just with lip service, because when we truly forgive, it's as though it never happened and you don't keep remembering what that person did to you the last time. In the love chapter in Corinthians, it says that love doesn't keep a record of wrongs done. So how big is your basket of "wrongs done" that you are carrying around? We need to forgive as God forgives us and casts that sin out completely, as though it never happened!
Here is a way you can know for sure if you have forgiven someone or not. If you feel a pain of any kind, sadness, discomfort, and a ping inside of you when you think of them, then you haven't truly forgiven. All pain in you is a result of unforgiveness! It is YOU that is keeping good things from happening to you.
See, if you truly applied the law of forgiveness to your life immediately to those who hurt you those many years ago or when you made a mistake, you would be a completely different person today and in a completely different place! And over the years the memory grows and grows which begins manifesting in our relationships with others. We start living through those painful filters. Let's say you were betrayed by someone or they lied about you. So you are now on your guard with others and being suspicious of just about everybody - and you many not even know why you have a hard time trusting. It's not anything they have done, it's because you are still filtering through those past hurts. It's just that the junk is rooted deep and more junk has been added on top of that junk that you can't see it any more. We are a BIG stinky onion! Layers and layers of pain!
Every pain in your life is a result of unforgiveness. Either you did not receive the forgiveness immediately from God, or you didn't forgive someone else.
It's that simple!
Every pain in your life is what is causing you to reap what you are living today. Be it physical (your body or circumstances), spiritual or emotional.
So what do you do?
Decide today to do something about it. Get a journal and write down every person's name that you can think of that you "believe" you have forgiven but you still have discomfort when you think of them, or those who you have not. Ask God to help you.
Then take one name and place it on the top of the page. Draw a line down the center of the paper making two columns.
On the left column, write down all the "offenses" this person did that hurt. Many of you may have done this in the past through help by a counselor or even an AA meeting, but this is only the first part. Many are still stewing in their juices as they are brought up and many stay there re-living the pain all over again. But this teaching is to help get rid of the pain once and for all.
So now write down all the things you became BECAUSE of that person. For example: angry, jealous, fearful, unwanted, unloved, bitter, confused, ashamed, embarrassed, rejected, abandoned, depressed, etc. Go ahead and write down as much as you can think of. If you can write things down, then you have NOT forgiven the person, otherwise these things would not be there. These things that you have "become" are YOUR sins that you retained from that relationship.
John 20:23 says that, "Whoseoever sins you remit shall be remitted unto them, and whosoever sins you retain shall be retained." This scripture clearly points out that when you do NOT forgive others, you get their sins! In other words, when you forgive, you do not take on their offenses (sins) but when you don't forgive, you GET their sins. So you are not only carrying around your own sins, but theirs as well. Isn't it a wonder why people don't want to be like the very person that hurt them, yet they turn out to be just like them? It's because the sins of the perpetrator becomes theirs. I find that as I minister to people, when listing this column, these are the very things the other person is experiencing too! Then to take it even further, now we are living through these painful filters, and doing the very things to others that were done to us. What a horrible cycle. We can only give away to others what we have.
It's important to identify any and all sins as it pertains to the person you are forgiving so you can become totally clean. See, it's not what the person did to you that is the issue; it's what you have retained from that person that is the issue. When we come before the Lord and confess these sins, we then are forgiven. Now we are "free" and clean to forgive the person - from our heart! Not just with lip service, and not with a but. What I mean is that you can tell if you truly forgave someone if 1) you have love and compassion for them 2) You don't feel the pain of that memory; and 3) there is no but.. I love you - but.... If you have a but - then you might need to recheck to see if you have truly forgiven from your heart.
Now I'm not saying that you stay in an abusive relationship. But when we forgive from our heart, we see clearly to make sound decisions for our life. AND... one of the greatest benefits of forgiving is that it releases all wrong soul-ties and co-dependent characteristics. What a bonus is that. We talk more in later sessions on soul-ties and co-dependency, but this is a start!
So what is your part in all this? You didn't confess your sins (right side of the column) and receive forgiveness of your sins first so you can be free to forgive others. Your sins bind you to that person! You aren’t free. If some of the individuals are still in your life, you will see that they can control and manipulate you with a look! This means that you still haven’t forgiven them from your heart. When we do, we are no longer tied to them (soul-ties). And that my dear is freedom!
Now take your list to God - those sins on the right column. And by the way, they aren't emotions - they are sins. I John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The reason we have to recognize our sins now is because we never did it back when they happened. So take this list to God and talk with Him.
Here is a sample prayer:
"Father, I come before you with these unresolved and unconfessed sins. I did not receive forgiveness for these things when they happened, so I've been carrying them around all this time. I receive forgiveness for them right now, applying the sacrifice Jesus came to bring us. He paid for all my sins, and I accept that and receive that right now. I ask for forgiveness and thank you for forgiving me for (name off each sin on your list). I receive forgiveness for each and every one, right now. Cleanse me and restore me Lord. I believe by faith that you have cleansed and purged me from all sin. Now I am free to forgive (the person's name), and I thank you for restoration me with (name of person). I also forgive myself. I ask you to put a new heart in me toward (name of person). I ask you to bless them Lord. Love them Lord and let them know you love them too. I also ask you to forgive me for blaming you and restore our relationship with each other Lord. Help me to receive your love right now and fill those areas where the sins left. Help me to "know" you more. In Jesus name, Amen."
Now this is just a sample prayer, prayer is just talking with God. As you have confessed and received forgiveness for your sins, you are now "free" to forgive the person who hurt you. The reason people aren't set free when they forgive, is because they didn't know they "took on" sins that had to be confessed too. Did you know a victim has also sinned? Even those who were raped and abused need to confess their sins. Why? Because when you don't forgive the perpetrator, you take on their sins too! Yikes! I know, I was one such person. I had gone through several abusive relationships along with being raped more than once, but i had to forgive. But I really couldn't forgive them, all that would come up is that shame and feeling dirty. But when I realized that my sins retained was keeping me in pain, that's when I decided to take God at His word. So I wrote down what I became. Not because I did something wrong but because they did something wrong and I "retained" their sins. For example, what I retained was this: Shame, anger, guilt, hate, distrust, feeling dirty, fearful, suspicious, isolated, feeling unsafe, etc. See how even a victim can be filled with sin that has to be confessed?
So now that you have dealt with one person, it's time to continue this same process with the rest. Not in groups, unless it was a group thing, but each person individually. And you just can't say, "I forgive everyone." This is a good place to start, but then facing one by one is the only way you are going to find your peace. I found that the same way it went in is the same way it has to go, one at a time. I had to do this over 200 times. After awhile, I didn't need to write it down, I just went through this process in my mind when I was driving, working, etc. Because when God brings someone to mind, that's when it's time to deal with it, not wait until later. Because I know that God brings someone to mind - maybe a blast from the past - when you are grocery shopping or driving your car. It means it's time to forgive.
Then as you do this with all those who have hurt you from childhood, the layers of pain is removed! Your onion that you had been becomes smaller and smaller (I teach more on the onion principle in a later session). Then to stop having painful things added from this day on, you forgive at the moment you "feel" pain by an offense. If someone does something today to hurt you or offend you, you just say, "I forgive you" and you do it QUICKLY! Right at the time it happened so that their sins won't jump on you and become you! You are not only keeping yourself free, but you are helping the other person to become free too.
This is how that works. When you forgive someone, you are releasing him or her to God. If you don't forgive them, you are still connected to them in some way (soul-tie) and God cannot move like He wants to in that person's life. So by forgiving them quickly, you are making them free game for God to do His will in their lives too! You'll see.
During my seminars, I teach this principle. Each and every person experienced a lighter feeling because layers of hurt were being removed from their lives, right before our eyes! Some have reported back that when they saw that person again, there was no ill feelings at all, only love and compassion! I know that when we forgive from our heart not only are we set free, but others are too.
I will remind you at the end of each session to stop and reflect on what you have learned, not rush on to the next teaching before it has had time to really do a work in your heart. All head knowledge is only going to cause you to be top heavy! We need to allow time for the seeds planted to grow and take root into our hearts. We not only need the "knowledge" but the understanding. Understanding gives revelation, and revelation makes it a reality in our own lives. Not just head knowledge, but heart knowledge that changes us. By doing this, you are "receiving." We not only need to "know", we need to "believe and receive."
Praising God is crucial to having all you learn take permanent residence in you. We remain in peace when we are strengthened in our spirit and that happens when we thank the one we are doing all this for.
And lastly, all work and no play is not scriptural. If you become overwhelmed or "heavy" spirited, stop and take a breather. It reminds me of flooding. If the water comes too quickly it doesn't have time to absorb into the soil, causing flooding and all that water is wasted. But if the water comes softly, and just enough that the ground absorbs, then it does great good!
To return Back.