No Forgiveness, No Love. Feb 21 2021

No Forgiveness, No Love  

It’s important that as God’s children, we constantly ask ourselves if we are living in obedience to God. Are we seriously considering God’s guidance when we make each decision? You may think, God doesn’t care about each decision…after all, what does it matter if I wear socks or not. Actually, the socks don’t matter but our attitude does. He has given us freedom to make all of our decisions. And God has given us every resource we need to make good decision. He is even willing to forgive us when we don’t. And even better, He is willing to make things work out for our good when we trust Him with all our choices, even the bad ones, if we turn control over to Him, He will work it out for our good & His glory. The important point is that we realize He cares all about us & as the Bible tells us, in Luke 12:7 (AMPC) But [even] the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm; you are of greater worth than many [flocks] of sparrows.

Last Sunday, Veronica shared Scriptures about God’s love & how He led her into personalizing them and hearing Him say “I love you Veronica”. After church, she shared with me the conversation she had with God as He led her through the process of realizing how the words of the Bible are God’s love letters to her.

God wants each of us to read His Word hearing Him speak to us as individuals. There was a song we sang in my youth “He’s Everything to Me” by Ralph Carmichael. “Till by faith I met Him face to face, And I felt the wonder of His grace, then I knew that He was more than just a God who didn't care, that lived a way out there and now He walks beside me day by day.” God wants a personal relationship with us. It is important for us to realize that the Bible is God’s love letters to each of us. He wants to fill us with His wisdom & He want to bless us with an abundant life. 

So why do we struggle so much. Life is hard! We are not perfect and our world is far from perfect. Sin abounds. I was listening to David Jeremiah preaching about Daniel (the story is found in Daniel 10: 13, 20-21). He explained that Daniel was troubled so he prayed & fasted for 3 weeks seeking God’s answer. The angel, Gabriel, was dispatched from Heaven the first day of Daniel’s prayer. However, God’s message was delayed for 3 weeks by the prince of the kingdom of Persia. Pastor Jeremiah explained that “there is an often-overlooked truth that a battle is waging in the invisible world that powerfully influences the events of each day we live.” 

Paul in Ephesians 6:12 says “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places."

I would like you to see that God has given us His Word in order for us to know Him, know His plan, His faithfulness. John 16:33 says “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Sin abounds and God has forewarned us; we will struggle with the challenges of this life. However, no matter what we experience, God has given us promises that can enable us to experience the victory He has already won as we faithfully come in agreement with Him and allow Him to infuse and empower us with His presence through His Scripture. For it is in His Word that we can learn to know who we are in Him & Who He is in us.

Last week, Steve Petit shared a powerful message with us and for those who may not have heard it, please go to the website (Parkview Baptist Church-Gainesville, Fl) and listen to it. He reminded us that Jesus presented His life to His Father for us; He was a living sacrifice, holy & pleasing to God so that we could be forgiven our debt of sin.

Paul in Romans 12: 1 reminds us that our response should be the same “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. 

I like how Peterson put it in The Message: 12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Last week Steve also shared that there are 2 places where we learn to identify with Jesus as a man of sorrow & grief. They are in marriage & in church. I believe this is true because God established them both. And Satan wants to destroy them and take away the influence God intends for family & church to be in the world. John 13:35 (CEB) This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”

 

We find lots of Scriptures instructing us to love one another and to forgive one another as God first loved & forgave us. And He continues to love & forgive us, therefore, we too should continue in love & forgiveness of each other.

We all struggle with forgiveness or maybe I should say unforgiveness at times. Maybe you’ve been betrayed or rejected, perhaps someone has taken advantage of you or lied to you. You may have been told to “get over it” or “move on.” However, deep wounds don’t heal by just moving on. To move on, you have to stop & deal with the issue(s). The question is how do you deal with it?

I think it best we realize what our options are. Some suggest when trying to make a decision, especially a life-changing decision, we need to write down the pro & cons of the decision. 

First, we could hold on & not let the wrong go. After all, the offender acts as if they didn’t do anything wrong & has no intentions of apologizing. So, let’s hold on & just show them that eventually they’ll be sorry they crossed our path. Sounds like we have the intention of getting even, paying them back for what they did. In the meantime, we let the unforgiveness fester within us. And just like any foreign object in our body, unforgiveness causes us dis-ease & eventually can get very challenging, as well as, potentially deadly. The infection doesn’t just attack our emotions, but our entire being…our body, our mind & our spirit, all are affected. Which then proceeds to affect our attitudes & behaviors, which then challenges our relationships, especially those closest to us. 

Hmm; do you think that maybe that is how Satan is working to destroy marriages and churches? … that when disagreements occur, or any number of possible scenarios happen, we forget that God loves each of us equally?... that Jesus died for the “offender”, as well as, for you & me?

Colossians Chapter 2: 2-3: “2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

The desired outcome is unity in love. As you think about your relationships, all relationships…family, friends, associates, & yes even strangers. Strangers that you see as you go through your day, other drivers, people you see as your shopping, even those you see on tv. Do you realize that God loves each of them? Do you realize He has instructed us to love them too? 

Some people say you can love someone even if you can’t forgive them, but I don’t think so.  When you truly love someone, you want to be right with them. You can’t feel truly right, deep down love for someone when you can’t forgive them. True love doesn’t make you blind to their flaws. However, it makes you forgive those flaws, accept the person with all their flaws and you have a desire to help them be their best self.

Love and forgiveness coexist. It is love that drives the wheel of forgiveness & forgiveness is an offspring of love. Bryant McGill said, “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” Love is a farce if it does not endow you with forgiveness. Love is divine and it empowers you with the heavenly quality of forgiveness.

Without forgiveness we end up giving control of our life over to the person that caused the pain. Forgiveness can’t be about how they will respond, or what they will say or do. We understand that forgiveness can be hard for all of us. God’s Word and God Himself are available to help us through the process of forgiveness so that we can find the freedom that God desires for us.

Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

What do you plan to do the next time someone offends you? There are at least 3 good reasons why forgiveness is the right answer: 1. Because it’s the wise things to do; 2. Because Jesus set the example; 3. Because God has forgiven you!

Forgiveness is a conscious decision in no way affected by feelings. If you wait until you feel like forgiving, it would be similar to waiting until you felt like paying your taxes. That moment might never come! But if you view unforgiveness as a sin against God and a self-imposed burden as well, it just makes sense to get rid of it.

There are times when it isn’t fun to forgive. But remember that forgiveness is for giving. It is a gift. Jesus encouraged us to treat people the way we want to be treated and the way He has treated us. If we make forgiveness a gift with no strings attached, we can fulfill the Scripture. Try it. It really isn’t so hard to forgive, even when the subject of your forgiveness is most undeserving. Pass on the gift that Jesus has given you. Forgiveness is for giving.

 

Prayer from Colossians

Chapter 1:

Dear Father, Please continually fill me with the knowledge of Your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that I may live a life worthy of You, Lord and please You in every way: 1)bearing fruit in every good work, 2) growing in the knowledge of You, 3)11 being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience, giving joyful thanks to You, Father, who has qualified me to share in the inheritance of Your holy people in the kingdom of light.

Chapter 2

Dear Father, My goal is that I may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that I may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that I may know Your mystery, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 so that no one may deceive me by fine-sounding arguments.                May I live in Spiritual Fullness in Christ, just as I received Christ Jesus as Lord, enable me to continue to live my life in Him, a. rooted and built up in Him, b. strengthened in the faith as I was taught, and c. overflowing with thankfulness.                                                                                                                                                             See to it that no one takes me captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ I have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In Him I was also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. My whole self ruled by the flesh[b] was put off when I was circumcised by[c] Christ, 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which I was also raised with Him through my faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.                                                                                                                                                                13 When I was dead in my sins and in the uncircumcision of my flesh, God, You made me alive with Christ. You forgave me of all my sins, 14 having canceled the charge of my legal indebtedness, which stood against me and condemned me; Jesus has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.                                       May I live in the freedom You give. May I not let anyone judge me by what I eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 May I not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify me. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.                                                                                    20 Since I died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though I still belonged to the world, do I submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.                           May I grow & mature in the nourishment of my spirit with God’s truth, enabling me to withstand the temptations of the world and the luring of the flesh. Instead of dependency upon “rules”, may I become filled with the wisdom of God’s Word. 

Chapter 3 

Dear Father, Since, I have been raised with Christ, I set my heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. I set my mind on things above, not on earthly things. For I died, and my life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is my life, appears, then I also will appear with Him in glory.               I put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to my earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, Your wrath is coming.I used to walk in these ways, in the life I once lived. But now I must also rid myself of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from my lips. I will not lie, since I have taken off my old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.          12 Therefore, as God’s chosen child, holy and dearly loved, I clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bearing and forgiving others when I have any grievance against someone. I will forgive as You forgave me. 14 And over all these virtues I put on love, which binds me with all others together in perfect unity.                                                                                                                                                 15 May the peace of Christ rule in my heart, since as a member of one body I am called to peace. And being thankful, 16 let the message of Christ dwell richly in me and my family of faith as we teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in our hearts. 17 And whatever we do, whether in word or deed, may we do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to You, our Father, through Him.                                                                                                                   I lift all our relationship to You. May18 Wives, submit themselves to their husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. May 19 Husbands, love their wives and not be harsh with them. May the 20 children, obey their parents in everything, for this pleases You. May 21 fathers, not embitter their children, so they will not become discouraged. 22 May we obey our earthly supervisors in everything; and do, not only when their eye is on us and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for You, our True Lord. 23 Whatever we do, May we work at it with all our heart, as working for You, our Lord, not for human approval, 24 since we know that we will receive an inheritance from You, our Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ we are serving. 25 And anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

Chapter 4

Dear Father, As You children with responsibilities of leadership, may we provide others with what is right and fair, because we know that we also have You, our true Master, in heaven.                                                                                May we devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for each other that You may open a door for Your message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which we are committed. We pray that we may proclaim Your Truth clearly and be wise in the way we act toward outsiders; making most of every opportunity. May our conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that we may know how to answer everyone.