July 28, 2019
Passage: Matt. 6 :14-15; Mark 11:25; Col. 3:13; Matt. 7:12

Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender, letting go of grudges. Forgiveness is a commandment and not a choice. We are to forgive because we have been forgiven by God.
Therefore, we are to forgive without limits. Hurt by people leads to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge - or embrace forgiveness and move forward.

Who has not been hurt by the actions or words of another?
Wounds of hurt can leave you with lasting feelings of anger and bitterness, even vengeance.
But if you do not practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. Unforgiveness put one into imprisonment by that act. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy.

The act that hurt or offends you might always be with you, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help free you from the control of the person who harmed you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

Forgiveness may require a lifetime of forgiving, but it is important to the Lord. We must continue forgiving until the matter has been settled in our hearts.

Some key questions to address:
1. What happens if you cannot forgive someone?
Forgiveness is a process, and even small hurts may need to be revisited and forgiven over and over again.

2. What if the person you are forgiving does not change?
Getting another person to change his or her actions, behaviour or words is not the point of forgiveness. Commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.
We must be people who have learned to freely forgive.

3. How do I reach a state of forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a commitment to a personalised process of change. To move from suffering to forgiveness, you might:-
* Recognise the value of forgiveness and how it can improve your life.
* Consider seeing a Counsellor.
* Acknowledge your emotions about the harm done to you and how they affect your behaviour, and work to release them.
* Choose to always forgive the person who has offended you.

As you let go grudges, you will no longer define your life by how you have been hurt.

4. What are the effects of holding a grudge?
* Brings anger and bitterness into every relationship.
* Become so wrapped up in the wrong that you cannot enjoy the present.
* Become depressed or anxious.
* Feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose.
* Lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others.

5. What are the benefits of forgiving someone?
Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for improved health and peace of mind.

Forgiveness can lead to:-
* Healthier relationship.
* Less anxiety, stress and hostility.
* Lower blood pressure.
* Fewer symptoms of depression.
* Improved heart health.
* Improved self-esteem.

Consider these : -
If you die today as an unforgiving person, where will you spend eternity? Are you going to spend it in heaven or hell? Are you a true believer or just a churchgoer?
Forgive because you have been forgiven.

Amen

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