walk in the word
30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. -Ephesians 4:30-32
The process of forgiveness is very important. I don’t want you to think that just because you say “I forgive,” that that’s going to be the end of it. After that crisis moment of forgiveness comes the process of forgiveness where I begin to train my mind to think differently. I have to be renewed in my mind. And that involves three commitments: The offense I have forgiven I will no longer bring up (1) to the person; or (2) to others, or (3) to myself.
I was driving with my wife, Kathy, one evening after preaching on this subject and I said to her, “Did you think of something you needed to forgive?”
She said, “I did.”
I said, “What was it?”
She said, “I won’t bring it up to other people anymore.”
I was like BAM! I thought that was great. I won’t bring it up to you. I won’t bring it up to others. And most difficult, I won’t bring it up to myself. I’m not going to go over it anymore. I’m not going to stand in the shower, walking in the yard, going over and over it. And when I fail . . .
Ah, yes, the failures along the way. That’s why forgiveness is a serious process. When I find my mind spinning back again toward un-forgiveness, I have to kneel down and confess that as sin to God. I failed in the process, so I have to come back to the crisis and say, “Forgive me, God. I said I was going to leave that behind. You saw how I was thinking just now. That’s not what I promised.” By extending forgiveness, I have shifted the responsibility to myself before God. Now it’s just Him and me, working on changing my heart and mind. If I honor the process of forgiveness, God will, by His Word, renew my mind.
Prayer: Father God, Your Word says that You want me to let go of my unforgiving thoughts and attitudes. I need You to help me do this! I want to be kind and tenderhearted. I want to forgive others, but many times, I just don’t. Forgive me for that, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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