Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Lesson 17 - Forgiveness


Principle 6: Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.

Happy are the merciful.” (Matthew 5:6) “Happy are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9)

Step 8: We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

Step 9: We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23–24)


Tonight I would like to talk about the relationship between forgiveness and recovery, in three different aspects.

Accepting God's Forgiveness

Forgiving Others Who Have Hurt Me

Forgiving Myself

Have you accepted God’s forgiveness?

This section is dealing with our acceptance of the forgiveness that God granted us when we were born again. It is possible for believers in Jesus's death, burial and resurrection to have been offered forgiveness, but to continue living as if they are not forgiven. This is a trap and a lie.

Our adversaries and our flesh desire greatly that we remain ignorant of the fact that Jesus's forgiveness is a free gift. If they can keep us ignorant of this, they can keep us under condemnation and prevent a full and vibrant relationship with Jesus.

Psa 32:1-5 (A special psalm by David.) Our God, you bless everyone whose sins you forgive and wipe away. (2) You bless them by saying, "You told me your sins, without trying to hide them, and now I forgive you." (3) Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long. (4) Night and day your hand weighed heavily on me, and my strength was gone as in the summer heat. (5) So I confessed my sins and told them all to you. I said, "I'll tell the LORD each one of my sins." Then you forgave me and took away my guilt.

As the Psalmist points out, confession is the only requirement for forgiveness. Guilt and condemnation can weigh down on us if we fail to accept God's forgiveness, or feel that we have to earn His forgiveness. We will feel unworthy and will be unable to freely pursue God, and will be stuck in self-condemnation. Recovery will seem distant.

Imagine if you will your mental state of mind when you feel unforgiven, guilty and condemned. Those types of thoughts will indeed transform your mind and will impact your thinking and behavior in a negative way.

On the other hand, imagine if you will, that you are forgiven, not guilty and not condemned. These types of thoughts will bring about transformation of mind and impact your thinking and behavior in a positive way.

Embrace reality. You are forgiven, declared not guilty, and are not condemned, thus rendering you free to follow Jesus.

Col 2:13-14 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (I.E. practices of your sinful nature), God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, (14) 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.

In the Psalm we just read we see that our access to God's continuing forgiveness is conditioned our our confession of sin.

Psalm 32:5 So I confessed my sins and told them all to you. I said, "I'll tell the LORD each one of my sins." Then you forgave me and took away my guilt.”

In the New Testament, Paul says:

1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

The Unbeliever

But what if you are here and you are not a “believer” in Jesus's death, burial and resurrection? Does God's gift of freedom apply to you as well?

Can you receive forgiveness from someone you don't believe exists? God's gifts are to those who believe that He came to earth as the divine God, was crucified on a cross, buried, and rose again on the third day.

Rom 3:22-23 God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. (23) All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory.

So how can you avail yourself of God's free gift of forgiveness, and life?

Rom 10:9-10 So you will be saved, if you honestly say, "Jesus is Lord," and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. (10) God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others.

If you have not come to believe the gospel, come to accept Jesus, and receive His forgiveness. It is time.

Have you forgiven others who have hurt you?

In the same way that God has granted those who believe forgiveness in order that their minds would be free from guilt and condemnation, so too should we forgive others for the same reasons.

Paul, in a statement about forgiving sinners stated the following:

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 I will forgive anyone you forgive. Yes, for your sake and with Christ as my witness, I have forgiven whatever needed to be forgiven. (11) I have done this to keep Satan from getting the better of us. We all know what goes on in his mind.

The mind of a person who believes they are not yet forgiven is fertile ground for Satan to grow guilt and condemnation. While God has forgiven the believer, we also have great influence in a persons mental state, the elimination of discord and the fostering of peace in our communities.

Romans 12:17–18 says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

God's purpose in forgiveness is to create an peaceable environment in which the Holy Spirit is able to bring positive transformation of mind. God has made peace with man, and so also we have a responsibility as spirit led people to make peace with man as well, in so far as it is possible.

2Co 2:7 When people sin, you should forgive and comfort them, so they won't give up in despair.

These principles are especially effective with deep hurts, such as having been the victim of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or childhood emotional abuse or neglect. A great deal of healing can occur when we forgive others. Remember, forgiving them in no way excuses them for the harm they caused you, but it will release you from the power they have had over you.

Have you forgiven yourself?

(Isaiah 1:18–19, TLB) “Come, let’s talk this over! says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! If you will only let me help you” .

The Bible does not actually have much to say about forgiving oneself. In principle, the benefits of accepting God's gracious forgiveness also apply to our forgiveness of ourselves.

When we are able to accept God's forgiveness, our minds are freed to be more effectively transformed by the Holy Spirit. In the same way, when we are able to forgive ourselves, that also frees our minds to be transformed by the Spirit.

When we forgive ourselves, thoughts of condemnation and guilt are removed in the same fashion that they are removed when we accept God's forgiveness.

Consider the sin that Paul committed and was forgiven for:

1 Timothy 1:15-16 "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." This saying is true, and it can be trusted. I was the worst sinner of all! (16) But since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life.

Why did Paul say he was the worst sinner of all? Because he was complicit in legally torturing and murdering Christians as part of the Pharisaical religious leadership that had killed Jesus on the cross.

Acts 9:1-2 Saul kept on threatening to kill the Lord's followers. He even went to the high priest (2) and asked for letters to the Jewish leaders in Damascus. He did this because he wanted to arrest and take to Jerusalem any man or woman who had accepted the Lord's Way.

If Paul can get to a place of forgiving himself for torturing and killing Christians, then we can forgive ourselves as well. Indeed he said he was, “ an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus”.


Forgiveness is a powerful force. It brings freedom from unprofitable thinking which cuts into the closeness of our relationship with Jesus and prevents they Holy Spirit from bringing spiritual healing and growth.

Accepting God's forgiveness, forgiving others and forgiving ourselves creates an open path to the Holy Spirit allowing for transforming change and peace in our lives and communities.

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