Forgiving sins against us can be very difficult. Below are three truths to \”hear\” daily and four commitments to exercise in order to find the power to forgive. For each section look up the verses cited and write a prayer to the Father confessing where you have struggled to believe His perspective or apply His instructions toward the person to whom has sinned against you. Ask him for help in believing His Word and doing His will in the pain you are suffering. Ask him for his forgiveness as you commit to moving forward in forgiveness. Hide in your heart daily for the next month key verses from this study. Choose verses that best remind you to affirm and put into action what the Holy Spirit has revealed to you about biblical forgiveness. Move away from bitter thoughts by rehearsing specific verses below and taking specific steps of obedience by faith.
A. REHEARSE THE TRUTH – Renew Your Faith Daily In Three Biblical, Faith-Affirmations
1. God Is My Sovereign Father – Rom 8:28-29; Heb 12:7-10
I believe that no matter what has happened or will happen to me, God turns all into good for those in Christ, for He alone is sovereign, good, and wise (Rom 8:28). He can and must be trusted, if I am going to be enabled to forgive (Heb 11:6). The best example of this reality is Jesus Christ on the cross. His faith in His Sovereign Father helped him endure and forgive – Matt 26:53; 1 Pet 2:23; Heb 12:2; Lk 23:34; the Father used the worst event in history to accomplish the greatest good in history – 1 Cor 2:7-8; Col 2:15
2. I Am a Forgiven Sinner – Mat 18:21-35; Luke 7:47-48
I believe that no matter what my offender did to me, my sin and sinfulness before God is infinitely worse (see Jesus’ parable in Matthew 18:21-35). Yet, I have not received the damnation I deserve (Eph 2:1-5), and instead I have received what I do not – every spiritual blessing as an adopted child of God by grace through Christ (1 Jn 3:1; Eph 1:3ff; Eph 2:8-9). The more I am aware of how great the benefits are that I have received through Christ and how great the debt was that I owed to God, the more easily I can forgive others their sins against me (Luke 7:47-48). The only reason I have acted better than my offender has, is because of the grace of God in Christ – Christ in me (Gal 2:20; 1 Cor 15:10).
3. God Is a Righteous Judge – Rom 12:17-21; Ps 37; Matt 18:32-35
I believe that God will one day execute vengeance upon all sin (Ps 37; Rom 12:17-21). No one gets away with any sin against God and His law. My offender will be judged for his sin against me, for it is against God; yet, I too will be judged by this same God, if I do not forgive him (Mk 6:14-15; Mk 11:25). If I have been forgiven so much by God, and yet choose not forgive those who sin against me, I am committing a greater sin than has my offender (Matt 18:31-35). God deals with all sin in one of two ways – He turns us from sin back to Himself, or he turns us over to sin leading to a future in Hell.
APPLICATION – Get accountable for implementing a daily study and meditation strategy on the above three faith-affirmations and accompanying passages in relation to ____________________ (name of offender or offense).
EXERCISE YOUR FAITH – Continue to Choose Faith-Inspired Responses, not Feeling-Inspired Reactions
1. Put to Death Self-Pity by actively choosing to not rehearse the sin – Ps 103:12; I make a commitment before God not to bring up this offense to myself, to others, and even to the offender (Eph 4:32; Ps 19:14; Mk 11:25; James 4:11; Col 3:13; Heb 8:12; Ps 103:12). However, if the offender has not repented, and their sin is big enough or repeated enough, I must seek biblical wisdom in my responsibility to be a spiritual influence through passages such as Luke 17:3, 2 Tim 2:24-26, Matt 18:15-17, and 1 Thes 5:18. Yet, even if they do not repent and make amends, there is no reason for self-pity when I ponder the truth about the future good that all past and present sufferings are producing, if I respond obediently (Rom 8:28-31; 2 Cor 4:17; Acts 8:56-60; Ps 37:4-9; Ps 73:17-28)
2. Put On the Sympathy of Christ by thinking compassionately toward those who have hurt me – Heb 4:15; Eph 4:32; Col 3:12; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:59-60; I will learn to look at the “larger” truth about those who sin against me. I will learn to replace the memory of their sin by humbly considering that they have experienced circumstances in their life that have encouraged their sin against me. I will remember the grace equation of 1 Cor 15:10: add their past trials and temptations to my life and remove God’s grace, and I turn out worse. Compassion also bears in mind that every person has strengths and weaknesses that influence proclivities to certain sins. And, finally, compassion perceives that the unrepentant are victims of Satan (2 Tim 2:24-26). Thus my offender is in far more peril. They will either suffer Fatherly discipline that leads to repentance (Rev 3:19) or eternal anguish beyond comparison in hell (Rom 12:19; Ps 50:16-23; 1 Pet 4:18-19).
3. Put on Self-Examination when tempted to judge your offender. – I Tim 1:15; Luke 18:13; Matt 7:5; Rom 14:13 I will use this present suffering as a God-ordained opportunity to reveal areas in which I need greater growth and change: are there any sins I need to confess and pursue change in that provoked this person to sin against me (Matt 7:5); how can I better live by faith when treated wrong (Ps 37:4); where does selfishness desires and proud beliefs need greater mortification in light of the glory of Christ’s humility and love (Phil 1:27-2:5; James 4:1-10); how do I find greater delight in Christ and His gifts to me when experiencing earthly losses (Ps 73:21-28). This present suffering is indeed ultimately a Divine blessing as it forces a deeper affirmation and pursuit of the more valuable life (Phil 3:10-12; James 1:2-4; Rom 8:28-29; 1 Pet 2:21ff; 1 Cor 13:1-4). If present suffering leads to more Christlikeness, then Christ’s influence will more fully influence conviction of sin in those who have hurt me (1 Pet 2:12, 15; 3:1-2, 16; Rom 12:21; Prov 16:7; Saul’s conversion in Acts 9:4 was in context of Stephen’s response to stoning in Acts 7:59-8:3; 2 Cor 4:10-12).
4. Put On Self-Investment in place of apathy toward your offender -Matt 5:43-47; I will do specific kind deeds as deemed wise and appropriate, for those who sin against me. (Eph 4:32; Rom 12:19-21; Luke 6:35; Matt 5:43-47; Matt 6:21)
APPLICATION – Each week record briefly and give account for what you are doing to practically exercise these four faith-inspired responses to being sinned against in relation to __________________ (name of offender or offense).
Such radical forgiveness as described above can be very difficult – especially if the sin against you has been repeated and major. If any of the above has challenged you – even made you feel angry or confused, please reach out to us for help today. God wants you to go deeper in understanding and applying His kind of forgiveness. Request a consultation or counseling session today or watch the two-part video series on overcoming bitterness.