Favor of Forgiveness

Man holding rock with bible verse John 8:7I love it when people do me a favor. It’s not always easy to return the favor, because sometimes favors can cost me time or money. There are times when a favor costs both.  Forgiveness is a favor that seems expensive because I have to lay down some pride in order to forgive deeply and completely.

Paul is writing a letter to this man Philemon who is a strong Christian leader and even has a church meeting at his home. In the salutation Paul even greets Philemon’s wife and son. I’m guessing that they were harmed as well. Onesimus had once been their slave and had escaped and connected up with Paul in Rome. Paul is sending Onesimus back where he belongs to the household of Philemon. Paul leans heavily on his relationship with Philemon to welcome Onesimus and forgive him. Check this out….

12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. (Philemon 12-21 NIV)

 

I believe that as a believer, forgiveness should be something that I practice often. The Lord for my many sins and mistakes has forgiven me. I believe that I’m expected to forgive – it’s not optional. Forgiveness is giving up my right to retaliate against the one who’s wronged me. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation and restoration. Forgiveness trusts the Lord to do the punishing of the one who’s wronged me. My role is letting God have control of my struggle. When a person asked for forgiveness they might just be asking for the biggest favor of your life or theirs.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Betrayal

A Crown Of ThornsWhen I think about my journey with the Lord, I’m guilty of betrayal way too often. There are sins that I think about and some sin seems to happen automatically. I can’t wrap my head around the pain I must cause the Lord when I step off the path He has for me and do my own thing. I am in need of grace really often because my sin is really betrayal.  Judas betrayed the Lord but couldn’t seem to find the repentance. Peter denied knowing Jesus three times and yet he repented. When I deny the Lord or sin against Him, I feel that I’ve betrayed Him again.  Check this out…

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. (Matthew 27:3-8 NIV)

Betrayal really hurts the person being betrayed. When I betray the Lord, it hurts Him, the One I’ve betrayed and me the betrayer. I need to find my way back through mercy and grace as soon as possible. I believe repentance needs to be a daily experience for me. My thoughts and actions are not always pure and honorable. The Lord knows me at the deepest level and the changes He wants to make there affect my everyday, walking around life. I am so grateful to know the Amazing Grace because it leads me to repentance after betrayal.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Forgiveness

Man holding rock with bible verse John 8:7I believe this to be one of the most important concepts to a Christ follower. I believe that this one of those things that is close to God’s heart. He is the Ultimate Forgiver. Forgiveness is when you lay down or let go of offenses and hurt that someone else has caused you. It is canceling a debt that is owned to you. I’ve been on both sides of forgiveness and either side is a struggle. To be forgiven is tough because I’m clearly aware of how much forgiveness I’ve just been blessed with. Being the one who forgives is tough unless I really grasp just how much the Lord forgives me. Jesus has some clear teaching on forgiveness. Check this out…

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:23-35 NIV)

Forgiveness is at the heart of my faith. The Lord forgives me of my sin and my mistakes – How can I not practice forgiveness to someone who wrongs me.  I’m not a doormat; I’m a door holder. I know when I’m being used and abused. While I’m forgiving, it does not mean that you can continue to hurt me. When Jesus is speaking of forgiveness, I can see grace woven thorough His teaching. As a follower of Jesus, I must grasp this concept early on in my journey. If I understand who I would be without Jesus, it’s easier for me to forgiven someone else who doesn’t yet understand that concept. I believe that Jesus is also teaching that forgiveness for His followers is not and option or add-on. It’s a core part of following Him. If I come to terms with how much I’ve been forgiven, then forgiving others is a piece of cake.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Forgiveness

Girl holding a heart-shaped boxI believe forgiveness is a process and an event. Let me explain. Sometimes I am hurt so deeply that forgiveness is the last thing on my mind. In fact, retaliation is what I’m dwelling on. I think forgiveness is probably one of the most challenging parts of my life. Over the years I’ve been hurt deeply by people close to me and with the Lords help I’ve become a forgiving person. I love the definition of forgiveness that Billy Graham used… “Forgiveness is giving up my right to strike back”. 

After reading a short chapter in Hosea this morning, the word forgiveness was all up in my lap. I believe it’s important for me to understand that the Lord has forgiven me of my sins and my forgiveness of others is not optional according to His Word.  Check this out….

The Lord said to me again, “Go, show your love to a woman loved by someone else, who has been unfaithful to you. In the same way the Lord loves the people of Israel, even though they worship other gods and love to eat the raisin cakes.” (Hosea 3:1 NCV) 

I don’t always understand the things of God. I have worked hard in my own personal life to live out forgiveness. I discovered that forgiveness is really a gift I give myself. In forgiving the person who hurt me or wronged me, I give myself freedom from the bondage of hatred and revenge.  A wise brother told me “when bad things happen to us, they can make us better or bitter”. The difference between those two words is “I”.  The kindness of the Lord to pour out forgiveness on me has created in me the ability to forgive others.

After reading this passage in Hosea, this song came to my mind that I heard over 10 years ago. Check this out….

Open up the skies of mercy
And rain down the cleansing flood
Healing waters rise around us
Hear our cries Lord let ’em rise
Open up the skies of mercy
And rain down the cleansing flood
Healing waters rise around us
Hear our cries Lord let ’em rise
 
It’s Your kindness Lord
That leads us to repentance
Your favor Lord, is our desire
It’s Your beauty Lord
That makes us stand in silence
Your love
Your love
Is better than life
 
We can feel
Your mercy falling
You are turning our hearts back again
Hear our praises rise to heaven
Draw us near Lord
Meet us here
 
It’s Your kindness Lord
That leads us to repentance
Your favor Lord, is our desire
It’s Your beauty Lord
That makes us stand in silence
Your love
Your love
 
It’s Your kindness Lord
That leads us to repentance
Your favor Lord, is our desire
It’s Your beauty Lord
That makes us stand in silence
Your love
Your love
Is better than life
Is better than life
 
“Kindness” by Chris Tomlin ©2000 River Music Songs

The kindness of God is like a fragrance that is attractive beyond description. Upon receipt of this kindness, I want to extend it to others!

Pressing On!
Dwayne