All posts in “FORGIVENESS”

FORGIVENESS -KARIN LARISSA

FORGIVENESS

KARIN LARISSA

Matthew 6:12

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

 Why is forgiving someone who wronged you so incredibly hard? You feel like withholding that forgiveness will somehow pay that person back for a little bit of what they did to you. Forgiveness can feel impossible, especially when the wrong against you is something atrocious like sexual abuse, murder of someone in your family, or simply a friend stabbing you in the back.

Here’s the thing though. The wrongs you have done against God are innumerable, horrible, and a daily occurrence. Even one tiny little sin against God is enough to damn us all to hell for eternity, but God in all his grace and forgiveness loved us enough to send his only son to take on all our sins and die for us so that we can live. If God can forgive us then where do we get off thinking that we can’t forgive someone? Yes, some things seem unforgiveable and may take a long time to heal from, but God can help you and, if you ask him for it, he can give you a heart of true forgiveness. Hanging on to that heart of bitterness will only hurt you in the long run. God can and will soften your hard and bitter heart; you just have to allow him.

QUESTION 1. Is there someone you are refusing to forgive? Are there multiple people? If you need to, make a list.
QUESTION 2. Why aren’t you forgiving them? Do you feel like it’s justified because of what they did to you?
CHALLENGE: If you are harboring any bitterness and anger in your heart towards someone, give that up once and for all. Look to Christ and what he did for you as an example; then forgive that person.

FORGIVENESS -ROSS KAELLNER

FORGIVENESS

ROSS KAELLNER

Frustration is a fact of life and it comes in many forms for all of us. For Ross Kaellner it came in the form of a scam artist named Andy who was supposed to move all his possessions to Boston for a great price. Only problem is that his family’s stuff never made it to Boston. Filled with anger and bitterness Ross turned it over to God after reading Ephesians 4:31-32, which says that we should Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Who in your life fills you with frustration, just by hearing their name? Before you let your hatred and anger prevail, read over this passage in Ephesians again, and ask God for the strength to forgive someone in your life that has offended you. If God has it in his heart to forgive you, don’t you think you could forgive others? Don’t wait; there is joy and peace to be found when we forgive as Christ calls us to forgive!

QUESTION 1. Who is frustrating you these days? Maybe it’s someone who embarrassed you time and time again at school. Or a friend that spread lies about what you did or did not do. Maybe it’s someone you live with. When you mouths open up in the direction of each other – it’s like a countdown towards the beginning of World War III. Who is it that frustrates you?
QUESTION 2. What does Paul mean when he says that we should forgive one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven us?
CHALLENGE: We challenge you to forgive, as Christ calls all of us to forgive. Don’t wait and be free today from the anger and pain today!

FORGIVENESS -TOMMY OLMSTEAD

FORGIVENESS

TOMMY OLMSTED

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

There’s a pretty common story in the Bible about a woman who gets caught in the middle of her sin and is brought to Jesus by the religious leaders. Now, Jesus knew that He was being tested, but His response is so incredible. Back in those days, adultery was a sin that was punishable by death. Knowing this, Jesus responded in such a way that He would uphold the law, but also show the power of His grace.

“Let any one of you who is without sin throw the first stone,” Jesus said to the crowds of people anticipating the punishment of this woman.

As they all faced the reality of their own sin, they knew there was nothing they could do to condemn her because they too had messed up in some way. Some might have left because of fear that their own sin would be found out, some because they were repentant, and some because they realized there was nothing to see there. Whatever the reason, they left. There was now no one but Jesus and this woman left standing there.

I can only imagine the embarrassment and shame that flooded this woman’s mind while a sense of relief enters her heart. I can only imagine how she must have felt as she stood before the only man that had the right to punish her for her sins. After hearing this story more times than I could count, the Holy Spirit brought my attention to one incredible detail that changed how I engage with this story.

Not even the woman had the right to throw the first stone.

So often, we have the hardest time forgiving ourselves or accepting forgiveness for our sins and poor choices that we make. However, according to this interaction with Jesus, we don’t have the right to throw the first stone at ourselves. Far too often we walk around holding on to chains that God has already broken through His forgiveness and grace. Jesus set the woman free so she could be free, not so she could stand there embarrassed and full of shame.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

There is nothing you’ve done that is outside of God’s ability to forgive and redeem. So instead of beating yourself up, run to the One who wants to set you free so you can leave your sin behind you.

QUESTION 1. What choices do you have a hard time forgiving yourself for making?
QUESTION 2. What is holding you back from stepping into the freedom that Christ offers you from sin?
CHALLENGE: Spend some time confessing your sins to God and to someone you trust. Then let go of those chains and keep moving forward, rejoicing in God’s power to set you free!

FORGIVENESS -JANIE LOVEJOY

FORGIVENESS

JANIE LOVEJOY

Ephesians 4:31-32

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

There isn’t a single one of us who hasn’t been hurt by someone. Imagining yourself forgiving the person who has wronged you is like imagining yourself going skydiving without a parachute. The person doesn’t deserve your forgiveness, the person hasn’t even asked for your forgiveness, and you don’t know how forgiving the person will fix the issue. But the thing is, that none of us are deserving of forgiveness. We deserve eternal separation from God because of all the times we have wronged him; but that’s not how he sees it.

You’re forgiven. It already happened over 2000 years ago when Jesus died for you. He took everything you did or ever will do on himself. So if God, the creator of everything, can forgive us time and time again, who are we to not forgive others? When you withhold forgiveness you only hurt yourself by bringing more pain, anger and bitterness into your life; and nobody has time for that. It may be ridiculously hard to forgive certain people, especially if they have really hurt you, but know that when you do forgive it will bring you freedom. Forgiveness doesn’t always heal the issue, that is between God and that person, but it does bring peace of mind and healing for you.

QUESTION 1. Who in your life are you refusing to forgive?
QUESTION 2. Why are you scared to forgive this person? Is it a source of revenge for you? God is a god of justice; He will take care of it.
CHALLENGE: Put away all your pain and hurt that comes with not forgiving someone by going out and actually forgiving. And next time you feel like you just can’t forgive someone, look to Jesus; he forgave you first.

FORGIVENESS -MEGAN MACHA

FORGIVENESS

MEGAN MACHA

Matthew 6:12

“…and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”

Eva Mozes Kor was born in the January of 1934 with her twin sister Miriam. When they were 10 years old, the girls were stripped from [either stripped of or snatched from] their everyday lives and taken to Auschwitz. They were only one of many pairs of twins that were subjected to torturous testing by Dr. Josef Mengele. Her small body was pushed to the verge of death and she was viewed as nothing more than a “dirty Jew”. Though she refused to die and made it out of Auschwitz alive, her memories and pain remained.

Almost seventy years later, Eva was asked to be a witness against the Nazis who took part in her attack. Her response was incredible. Eva had resolved within her own heart that she was going to forgive those who hurt her. Although she did not stop the fight for justice, she did decide that she no longer wanted to hold on to the pain. She encourages others to strive for forgiveness for those who’ve caused their own hurts as well.

Eva did not have to forgive the men; it would have made no difference to them if she had not. However, forgiveness made all the difference for her. She was holding on to hurt that had a lasting impact on her life and she was tired of carrying it with her. Forgiveness allowed her to let go. Her forgiveness shows a more complete view of why Jesus calls us to forgiveness.

Jesus came to lead us into a life that is filled to the fullest with goodness. When we hold on to hurt, it takes up space in our life that He intends for blessings. Jesus calls us into forgiveness for a few reasons. First, it creates unity among people. Second, it is a way for us to follow in His footsteps. Third, it frees us. Forgiveness is not only a call to reconciliation; it is a call to freedom! When we forgive others as Christ forgave us, it humbles us to let go of our hurt so we can make more room for the joy that freedom in Christ offers us. (It’s difficult to understand how this last sentence flows with the previous sentences.)

QUESTION 1. Who have you had a hard time forgiving? What benefits are there from holding on to that pain?
QUESTION 2. What do you need to do in order to truly forgive someone who hurt you?
CHALLENGE: Write a letter to someone you need to forgive today and allow yourself to let go of that pain. You don’t have to send the letter, but allow God to show you how to forgive like he forgives!

FORGIVENESS -ALYSHA MORONI

FORGIVENESS

ALYSHA MORONI

Ephesians 4:26 …don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry

There will be many times in life that someone or something makes you very angry, but it’s how you deal with and express that anger that makes all the difference in the world. Answer this question for me: Do you really enjoy being angry? It sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it? I mean who enjoys being angry? But if we don’t enjoy being angry, then why do we spend so much time and energy being angry?

Sometimes we have such a struggle with letting go of our anger that we end up letting our bitterness and misery destroy our health and well being. The worst part is that…we do it to ourselves. It’s really crazy if you think about it; someone makes us angry, but by continuing to hold on to that anger, we often times hurt ourselves far worse than anything or anyone else did originally. By holding on to our anger we let the harm that an individual or individuals did to us continue to hurt us.

The Apostle Paul tells us to let go of our anger, and to not even let the sun go down before we do it. How do you let it go? Simple…it’s called forgiveness. It’s what Jesus did for you upon the cross he was crucified on and it’s what he continually does for us each time we turn our backs on him and follow our own selfish desires. Christ calls us to forgive the person or persons who make you angry not only for their sake, but, believe it or not, for your sake especially!

QUESTION 1. Are there people that you are harboring anger towards? What about and why are they making you so angry?
QUESTION 2. Regarding your answer to question 1, have you been enjoying the freedom that comes from releasing your anger to God and truly forgiving those who hurt you?
CHALLENGE: Let forgiveness reign in your life and hand your anger over to God. Live free and don’t let the sun go down today while you are still angry.

FORGIVENESS -CONNOR CIPPOLA

FORGIVENESS

CONNNOR CIPPOLA

Colossians 2:13-14

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

My mom has a very compassionate heart. She doesn’t like seeing anyone, especially animals hurting. One day she found a small bird lying on the back deck after flying into our window and her heart broke. She put the little bird in a box and left it on the kitchen counter with a note for my dad that read, “This little guy flew into the window and is still in shock. When he wakes up, please give him some food and water.” She wanted to nurse this little bird back to health, but it was far too late. We weren’t quite sure how to break the news to her that the bird was already gone and he wasn’t coming back. She wanted to keep something alive that was already dead.

So often we do the same thing with our past mistakes or choices. We keep trying to keep our old sins and past identity alive when it has already been buried with Christ. Things we have done in the past are forgiven when we ask God to forgive us. There is no need to hold onto those things any longer. They don’t have any hold on you anymore. You don’t have to keep identifying yourself with any of it anymore. You are free. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Live in the freedom of your forgiveness. Let what is dead and buried stay dead and walk in the freedom you have been given through the forgiveness and renewal of following Christ! You are made new!

QUESTION 1. What areas of your past are you holding onto right now?
QUESTION 2. What is keeping you from accepting forgiveness and moving forward in freedom?
CHALLENGE: Write a list of sins, mistakes, or choices you need forgiveness for. Then find a way to get rid of it as you ask God to forgive you.

FORGIVENESS -KINSE MINSCHKE

FORGIVENESS

KINSE MINSCHKE

Colossians 3:12-13

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

 There is so much evil in this world we live in. It seems like every day I hear about a new bombing, murder, drive-by shooting, war, and the list goes on. I have also heard people say things that are so awful they can be just as evil as the acts that these people are choosing to do.

Here is the hard truth: God calls us to love and forgive these people, not to say hateful and spiteful words about them. Crazy, huh? This is so ridiculously countercultural, but it is something so important. Forgiving them doesn’t mean you support what they do, and it is okay to get righteously angry about evil, but you still must forgive them, or the hatred harboring in your heart will only keep growing.

We, too, are sinners in need of forgiveness which God has so graciously given us, so who are we to say who deserves forgiveness and who doesn’t. After all, we didn’t deserve it either. If you are holding on to anger towards someone right now, ask God to soften your heart and help you forgive them. When you do, you will feel an incredible weight lifted off your shoulders because revenge and retribution are not ours to give; they are for God and God alone. Don’t allow a grudge or an unforgiving heart to kill your soul; find freedom in forgiveness.

QUESTION 1. Who are you harboring anger against in your heart? What good is it doing you to not forgive them?
QUESTION 2. Do you deserve to be forgiven? Then why don’t they?
CHALLENGE: If there is someone you need to forgive, go to God and ask for a change of heart, and for the ability to forgive them just as he forgave you.
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