It's June 2015. Happy New Month to all my readers and followers. Thank you for being part of Myss Lafunky's blogspot. If you have any questions or need counselling, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week's post is about forgiveness. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:32 that we should be kind and forgive each other as God has forgiven us through Christ. Jesus also told us in the book of Luke 17:4-5 that "Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying, 'I repent,' you MUST FORGIVE THEM." The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
How easy is it to forgive those that offend us? Which is more difficult, to be the one who needs to forgive or to be the one who needs to be forgiven?
Meet Jessica and Andrew . . .
Jessica and Andrew are still angry that their baby died due to the doctor's negligence; they plan to sue the Hospital. Every time they look at their baby's picture, it brings bitterness and anger to their minds.
Meet Sarah . . .
Sarah has continued to be angry about two things 1) Her best friend secretly chose the same wedding date as her, 2) Sarah found out when she saw the wedding invitation cards in her best friend's bag.
Meet Adam . . .
Adam is hurt that his ex-girlfriend spread false rumours to their friends that they broke up because they had engaged in sexual immorality acts; albeit, Adam said he never engaged in any sexual acts with his ex, he broke up with her because of personal circumstances.
Adam is feeling bitter towards his ex-girlfriend, he feels he can never forgive her for spoiling his name among their friends and families.
Meet Noah . . .
Noah is still angry that his father separated from his mother; he has refused for his father to associate with his own family.
Meet Lisa . . .
Lisa is struggling to forgive herself for living a wayward life when she was a teenager. She is ashamed to talk about her past; whenever she remembers the past, she self-harm.
Jessica, Andrew, Sarah, Adam, Noah and Lisa are Born-Again Christians; they are struggling to let go of the hurts that they had experienced. They are also struggling to implement the teaching of Jesus Christ that I quoted above, where Jesus told his disciples that they must forgive over and over again
What's your attitude toward forgiveness?
My experience: I was offended by two people's action, whenever I saw them, I felt angry and I remembered the very reason why I was angry with them. There was a time that I was in a gathering with my Christian friends and I was told to pray for the two people that had offended me, although the person that asked me to pray was not aware of my bitterness towards those two people. I struggled to pray for them. I became broken, I knelt down and I wept, I said to my friends that I could not pray for those people as I was angry with them, I told my friends to say a prayer of mercy to Jesus on my behalf and I openly said a prayer of forgiveness, and I thanked God for revealing the state of my heart to me.
Has someone's conduct upset you? Can you identify with Jessica, Andrew and others? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to forgive and to let go of every hurt. You have to remember that when you forgive those that have hurt you, you are not doing it for them, you are doing it for yourself so that you can be free of bitterness, anger and resentment.
The disciples must have known that forgiveness was difficult, hence they told Jesus to increase their faith.
A few things to learn about forgiveness
Forgiveness does not make what happened right; all it means is that you have made a conscious decision not to let it control your life. By forgiving the person, you reclaim your peace of mind and you are obeying the Word of God.
Forgiveness can be hard if the offender refuses to acknowledge what had happened. Nonetheless, as a Christian, Jesus expects you to still forgive. Jesus is telling us that denying forgiveness to the offender will hurt us more than it hurts them.
Forgiveness depends on the person that is hurt not the offender. Although if you have offended someone, for peace sake, Jesus expects you to humble yourself by apologising and not repeat the same offence again.
Forgiveness is easier when you recognise that Jesus Christ has forgiven you for all your sins and He daily forgives you by His Grace.
Your willingness to forgive will enable you to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ, one which is free of guilt, sin, unforgiveness, etc. Jesus Christ instructed us to daily build into our prayers a request for God to forgive us in the same way we have forgiven others who have hurt us (Matthew 6:12).
Jesus sees it as hypocritical and false if you ask Him to forgive you of your sins, yet you are purposely not forgiving others of their hurt towards you.
As a Christian, Jesus expects you to live differently in comparison to how other people are living, He expects you to live a life of holiness, a peaceful life and a life that is guided by Him so that He can lead you right even until the day He calls you to reign with Him in Eternity.
Ask the Lord Jesus to search your heart and show you if there is any unforgiveness blocking His blessings in your life. Also, ask Jesus to teach you more about the power and gift of forgiveness.
It's time to do a self-assessment, who is that person that has offended you and you are still hurt?
Are you going to give forgiveness a chance?
A) Lord Jesus, increase my faith to forgive others and to forgive myself for all the wrong things that I have done.
B) Lord Jesus, I need Your touch right now. I can't seem to forget the harm that has been done to me. I am wallowing in pain, in anger and in bitterness. I know you have called me to forgive every single person that upsets me. I need your strength and help to forgive. I am done with holding grudges. Forgive me Lord for holding on to them (Amen).
- Myss Lafunky
Photo credit: http://christianfamilyinstitute.com/
Yes I would.ReplyDelete
Jessica and Andrews situation will be difficult. Any situation that involves loosing life is a difficult one. I remember reading the story of someone who watched her family being slaughtered in the holocaust.
She became a preacher and during one of her ministrations whilst preaching forgiveness, who should come forward but one of the soldiers involved in the loss of her family. She remembered his face so well. That for me is a very difficult position to be in and takes forgiveness to a whole new level.
Issues are real and life does take its toll. Forgiveness is a gradual process in some instances. I pray I never have to be in a position where it seems impossible
Forgiveness is actually easier said than done. Yes, I would, by His help.ReplyDelete
I recently had to let someone go over an offence that kept coming in different versions over years. I didn't want to admit I was holding grudges against the person until I decided to talk about it. I'm happy I was able to fully forgive even when the person tried to be defensive.
Regarding your question, all the prayers might not be pushed aside, but some might be. It can also open doors for spiritual attacks/imprisonment like in the case of the unforgiving servant in Jesus' parable in Matthew 18:21-35. Above all, unforgiveness will make anybody miss heaven because it is forgiveness through faith in the Blood of Jesus that gives us access to heaven. If therefore that forgiveness is withdrawn because one refuses to forgive his/her brother, it means the access to heaven is closed.
In my opinion though, forgiveness does not necessarily mean the offence is literally forgotten, but the sting, bitterness and hurt felt anytime it is remembered are no longer there.
Thanks for your comment. I agree with your view. People usually say forgive and forget. Perhaps what they mean is that we won't be dwelling on past hurts and when we remember, we are no longer hurt neither are we trying to seek revenge.Delete
I'm not sure re: if seeking justice means one has not forgiven.ReplyDelete
i am not sure if charging someone to court means that there is no forgiveness. For example, a serial killer should be put under lock and key so as not to repeatedly harm others. In this instance, it means that the affected family, just wants to keep others safe from the experience they have had even though they have forgiven. The offender has not repented and will still commit the crime.Delete
Thanks Myss Lafunky,ReplyDelete
Let me address the different scenarios one after the other.
1. Jessica and Andrew - Theirs is a very sad situation. The death of a child is very sad and causes all shades of pain to the parents and other loved ones. They need the grace of God to forgive and let go. However in their situation, there are two things involved.
I. Is the mistake or negligence of the Doctor a one off? One that a reasonable man can make. If it is, they can forgive and forget about the matter entirely.
2. Is it a normal attitude of the doctor or Hospital staff entirely? You know how hospitals operate especially in this part of the world ie Nigeria. We have heard so many stories of the lackadaisical and "I don't care" approach that is typical of many in the medical sector. If this is the case, apart from forgiving, there may be need to inform the relevant authorities and the public to forestall future occurence. On that ground, you are protecting someone from going through the pain you feel.
But in doing so, one has to search deeply and confirm that the motive for such actions are not just mere vindictive or vengeful.
2. Sarah- Sarah is hurt because she feels betrayed by her best friend. It could be painful especially when there has been a huge investment in the relationship. She needs to confront her friend, listen to her explanation and even if she has none, ask for grace to forgive.
Adam- In Adam's case, why is he really hurt? Is it because he feels there is a dent to his reputation? Or because he believes that the name of Christ won't be exalted if those that knows him hears such news about him.ReplyDelete
As broken Christians, we must realize that we have no reputation to protect. Because in this lies pride that is so subtle that can be overlooked.
When I hear something negative spread about me, why exactly am I hurt? Most times it stems from a heart that says "a whole me, how can people begin to believe this about me"
We must get ready for the world to say and believe the worst about us. It shouldn't concern or bother us one bit as long as we are not in anyway encouraging those thoughts and perceptions. If I'm single and I always spend the weekend in a Bachelor's house though we just spend time praying and fasting, I have no right to feel that my name is slandered on account of my faith.
But if I'm not engaging in such attitudes and I still hear rumors about me, it shouldn't bother me one bit.
It's the flesh that revolts and is offended and the bible makes it very clear that the flesh must die daily.
I remember once in my office where a senior partner tried to smear my name because I went for a Christian lawyers conference then at Calabar. He cooked up all sorts of stories because I attended with a christian lawyer in the office. He said we stayed in the same hotel room not even knowing that rooms were even paired not only on the basis of gender but also based on different chapters in the country to encourage relationship building.
I was hurt until I was corrected
by God. At the end of the day, I'm sure many got to know the true story.
Noah- sad and hurtful but he has to ask God for grace to forgive his father.ReplyDelete
Lisa- Lisa needs to be thought that her action is telling Jesus that His blood is not sufficient to cleanse her past. That she is wiser than God in that He has forgiven and forgotten but she still remembers them.
She has to be taught the love of God that is so deep and pure to make her a new creation. She needs to know that the Lisa that committed those atrocities is dead and that she is a new creation and one without a past.
With knowledge would come forgiveness and letting go entirely.
And she should ask for grace to use her past story to bless and caution other young people
I recently ran into a teacher who sexually assaulted me at 14. I still remember the terror I felt. And he was all smiles, asking after my well-being and wanted to shake my hand. It was in a bank hall and I wanted to humiliate him by letting him stick his hand out and wait for nothing. But I shook him. Then hurried to the convenience to wash my hand.ReplyDelete
He's still a paedophile. And I'm still angry that I haven't caught him red handed and can do nothing about it, while he's still walking free, harming children.
I'm not sure if I'm angry that he's free, or still angry at what he did. Everything's mixed up inside.
Forgiveness is never easy. It's painful and that's why it's impossible to be done in the flesh. It takes the Spirit of God to touch our hearts.Delete
One of the ways to learn to forgive is to picture how you were before God miraculously saved you and what you would have become if not for His mercy.
I read about a Pastor who God sent to his village to preach to those that killed his parents. He said "my parents died as sinners and may likely be in hell, so I should go preach to their killers so they would repent and make heaven "
Logically, it doesn't make sense. But that's why we are like Christ. That's why we must have the same mind that is in Christ and was in Stephen and the other disciples.
That's the cost of Christianity. That's the price we must pay on account of our faith. That's among the things that makes Christianity not to be a walk in the park but a narrow path which we must walk through.
This is what dying daily means.
Thanks Myss Lafunky once again.
I agree. That's the cost of Christianity. The daily price that we have to pay.Delete
Christianity doesn't make sense logically, no wonder God said we should not be carnal in our ways but rather we should walk in the Holy Spirit.
May God help us to conform to His Word at all times.