Archive for ‘Forgive’

August 22, 2012

Forgive It

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26015375@N06/3914730774/

2 Corinthians 2:5-11
5 If someone caused distress, I’m not the one really affected. To some extent—although I don’t want to emphasize this too much—it has affected all of you.
6 The majority of you have imposed a severe enough punishment on that person.
7 So now forgive and comfort him. Such distress could overwhelm someone like that if he’s not forgiven and comforted.
8 That is why I urge you to assure him that you love him.
9 I had also written to you to test you. I wanted to see if you would be obedient in every way.
10 If you forgive someone, so do I. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did in the presence of Christ for your benefit.
11 I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.

The Apostle Paul is talking to a church who is not forgiving one of its members. I am not sure what was done, but what I do know, because of his other teachings, is that this person must have asked for others to forgive. You see, it is biblical that if you have wronged someone who you should ask for the forgiveness and if you ask another Christian, they are required to give the forgiveness. If someone does not ask, there is no repentance, and no forgiveness is required to be given. I am sure that someone is going to challenge me on this, but I am talking about a situation that is being dealt with in this church and this spans both letters that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for anybody to do. When we get hurt, it is somehow in us to return the hurt rather than forgiving. Sure, some of this comes from that person not asking, but far too often I hear people saying that they just won’t forgive.

Paul says that in the case where it has been asked, and withheld, we risk overwhelming that person. Later in this same letter Paul states that Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, we are to fix broken relationships, not shatter the pieces even further, making things beyond repair. So when we are asked to forgive, we should, and in that, we strengthen that person and encourage that same pattern of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Paul tells them that by forgiving, they are assuring that person of the love they have from us. It is easy to love those who treat us right. Anyone can do that. But Christians are supposed to love like Christ loves, and we must remember that while we were still His enemy, Christ died for us, showing His love. Love is not warm fuzzy feelings and never having to say you are sorry. Love is patient, kind, not selfish and doesn’t keep track of wrongs, according to the Bible.
Far too many Christians miss being like Jesus when they don’t forgive. Many others miss feeling the love of Jesus by not asking for the forgiveness. Forgiveness is the act of giving up our right to be angry and instead of holding a grudge, hold our relationship with people higher than our pride. Far too many marriages crumble because they are too busy pointing the finger of blame rather than opening the arms in love.

I encourage you to ask if you need forgiveness and give it when asked. Satan wants Christians to hold grudges and act like we don’t love people. Paul says that we should not be outwitted and that we should know that this unforgiveness thing is part of Satan’s scheme. Kick Satan in the butt and forgive. You will be more like Christ if you do, and something tells me that you will feel better than if you continue to hold that grudge.

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January 18, 2012

It Is Forgiven

by pastortimfowler

I am winding down the work week with anticipation of my wife and I leaving this Saturday for our first ever cruise. It couldn’t come at a better time. Last week I told you that I wrecked my truck, well last night, my wife had a deer run into the side of her van. Add that to the cruise ship running aground in Italy and we are excited and ready to go. The way we look at it, the odds are in our favor that things will mellow out just in time for our vacation.
With two claims in one week, I was sure that my insurance premiums would be ready to go through the roof. So I went in to talk to my agent and she told me the deer thing was under comprehension, which is not charged against you and my wipe out in the truck was not going to cost me either because I had accident forgiveness on my policy. Finally a bit of good news in a week that has been very stressful.
God has been very kind to me through all of this. On top of protecting me from injury, my truck is still 100% drivable. Although the wife’s van has quite the dent in the doors and fender, , she and my grandson were not hurt and the van is also 100% drivable. Because both vehicles are paid for, I was able to save a little money for the repair of my truck to take on our upcoming cruise, of which I will treat my beautiful wife to a day at the spa and some unexpected shopping. Yep, I give God credit for that too, because He wants me to love my wife and treat her special. Let’s face it ladies, nothing says special like a spa day and shopping.
God also allowed us to not have our budget wrecked from all of this. He is in control of everything, including our finances. We try hard to save and to give and to live within the means of the income He has allowed us to have. That is why we have a written budget that we manage our money by. It allows us to see where our money goes and to use it within the guidelines of scripture. A bump in our insurance premiums would throw that our of whack, and although we could adjust and survive, this accident forgiveness really helps keep things from getting complicated.
I want to confess something that may seem awkward, but I hope that you get the point from what I am about to say. When I wrecked my truck, it caused me some stress and I began to get irritable and even lost my cool with my wife. Not godly. Then when she got hit by the deer, I began to doubt God’s protection of us. Not godly. My wife is a saint. She does not deserve me getting ill with her because I am stressed and she always understands and forgives. God is awesome to me. I have my wife, kids, grandkids, and an incredible church, not to mention my health, her health, their health and the Gamecocks beating Clemson. Despite all of that, I still screw up, and when I do, just like my accident forgiveness that doesn’t cost me, God forgives me and my sins, when I confess them, and they no longer cost me. Jesus paid that debt in full, and every time I forget and mess things up, I get that relief when I talk to my Agent, Jesus, to let him know about another accident, and He says, not a problem. You’re covered. It is forgiven.

October 18, 2011

How To Forgive

by pastortimfowler

Forgiving is not easy. It is something that God requires Christians to do, but few Christians seem to be able to do it. Even when we say we are forgiving someone, those old feelings of anger and resentment have a way of coming back. This past Sunday I preached about how we love the fact that God forgives us when we ask, but we tend to make people wait on the forgiveness that we should give. But, for many, we want to and try to forgive but get stuck with the residue of hurt and bitterness. Here are a few things that you can do if and when you struggle with forgiving someone.
First, and this is important, we are not God and cannot forget the past. We are told that God never brings up our sins again after they are forgiven, and we hear people say stuff like, forgive and forget. But we can’t forget. What we must do is daily and if necessary hourly, every minute, or every second, remind ourselves that we chose to forgive. The Apostle Paul said that he died daily to sin. In other words, he reminded himself everyday that the old man was gone and now he was a new creature in Christ. Just like every other sin we struggle with, forgiveness is a sin that has to be dealt with daily. God is perfect and His forgiveness is perfect, ours is not.
Second, we need to do everything possible to grow in our Christian lives. There are a few wonderful verses Peter’s 2nd letter that can help. 2 Peter 1:5-8 says to add to our faith, purity, to purity, knowledge, to knowledge, self-control and so on. If we ever think that we are as good as we get in our Christian lives, we are going to stumble. Forgiveness takes maturity and to mature as a Christian, you need, Bible, prayer, church, and practice, and of course, God.
Third, sometimes we feel like that person is not getting what they deserve. This is common, but we must remember that God is the one who will judge the unrighteous, and Psalms 7:11 says, God is a fair judge, a God who is angered by injustice every day. We must trust that if there is an injustice, God will deal with it, we don’t have to. But if God has forgiven that person, and we don’t know if they have asked or not, but if so, then it is forgiven and we need to let it go.
Forth, if possible, tell the person that you forgive them. Be prepared for them to say that they did nothing to need forgiving, but if there has been a real wrong committed, let them know you forgive them. If this is not possible, write out what they did on paper. Write down how you feel and your desire to forgive. Daily, or as often as needed, pray over it and ask God to take away all bitterness and resentment and that your desire is to forgive completely. Let God know that you are weak and that you need His strength to release it. Once you have been freed from this, burn the paper and thank God for the release. Thank Him for forgiving you and forgiving the person you just forgave or if you think that person is not a Christian, pray for their salvation.
Forgiveness is hard, but it is beautiful when it comes in fullness. You can forgive because, Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.