Forgiveness

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Victory in Jesus, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. Victory in Jesus

    Victory in Jesus
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    Matthew 18:

    21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

    22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.


    I have no problem forgiving someone who has offended me...for instance, gossiped about me. My problem lies in people who, while asking for forgiveness, knows very well that (s)he is going to turn right around and commit the same offense against me.

    It's easy to apologize. It's easy to ask forgiveness. It's difficult to change your ways. And it's difficult to forgive...especially when it's happened so many times before and both the forgiver and forgivee know it will happen again.

    Does forgiveness mean to forget the things they've done in the past? Even if they don't try to improve on the area of their lives they're asking forgiveness for? Does asking forgiveness include the effort to aviod that sin in the future? Is it really an apology if change...or desire to change...is not included in the apology?

    Matthew 12

    31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

    32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.


    So, here, it seems there's an instance where we cannot get forgiveness. Is this the "unpardonable sin"?


    **************************************

    Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

    This verse is in the same chapter, so I wanted to ask what it means by "if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask"? What does that part of the verse mean?
     
  2. Victory in Jesus

    Victory in Jesus
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    By the way, my daughter explained to us on the way home from church about a month ago that the number "seventy times seven" is a number of perfection...that it means eternity (this was explained to her by her youth pastor).

    Has anyone else heard this?
     
  3. donnA

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    ROTFL [​IMG]
     
  4. TexasSky

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    Victory in Jesus -

    I've always wondered if Matthew 18:21 and 22 are talking about "anytime they ask" or "anytime they make a real effort to repent." I think, though, since so much of the Sermon on the Mount is about loving even those that people normally don't love, that it literally means forgive as many times as it takes.

    Over the years I've discovered you can't make yourself forget, but you can choose not to dwell on the bad, and you can choose to focus on the positive. I've also learned that "keeping track of the wrongs," hurts the person who is angry more than it hurts the person who did the wrong. Since the bible says that love keeps no count of wrongs, I take this verse to mean that we should not do that very human thing of going, "This is the 17th time you've done this! I can't keep forgiving you! You aren't really sorry," etc., etc.

    I used to have a really hard time with that verse because I really didn't believe you could seriously want to stop doing something and not stop - then I realized how hard it is to break bad habits, or how many times I've had to ask God to forgive me for the same stupid thing. I think it boils down to God saying, "Treat others like you want me to treat you."

    Back in the 70's the President of Southwestern Theological Seminary told me that Matthew 12:31-32 is referring to the unforgiveable sin, and that rejection of Christ would be blaspheming the Holy Spirit because it would basically be rejecting the truth the Holy Spirit speaks.


    Matthew 18:19 - This verse, along with Matthew 17:20 (faith as a mustard seed) used to totally fascinate me, and I made some interesting discoveries about it over the years.

    My first discovery was that when Christ says you need the faith of a mustard seed - He really means you have to have faith. Faith that He ~can~ do it, and faith that He ~will~ do it. A lot of us pray for things, with a nagging voice in the back of our mind that is already preparing us for a no. "Well, I'll ask God to heal my friend, but - a lot of healing prayers aren't answered so don't expect a miracle." That isn't going to get you a miracle. You have to BELIEVE .. REALLY BELIEVE that God can and that God will.

    When you think about it, that makes sense. Would you go to your human father or your spouse or your boss to ask a favor and start off with, "Look, I know you probably won't do this, I've seen you not do it, and I probably don't deserve it, and even if I do deserve it, I think it is stupid of me to assume you would do this, but would you do me this favor," and expect them to really do the favor? OR would you say, "You are the only one who can help me, so I ask you to help me."

    The next thing I learned was that if two Godly people agreeing, and believing God can and will pray for anything together - God DOES grant the prayer. It will be on God's timeframe and God's way.

    That one took me a long time to understand though. There are so many things we as Christians pray for together that don't happen that it looks like there is a catch we missed.

    The catch is right there in the bible though. We have to believe and we have to agree.

    I know that a lot of times congregations pray together. How many of those prayers are really in agreement? How many are sincere prayers and not just lip service? How many people are actually sitting there thinking about what they are going to do for dinner after the sermon?

    When my mother had cancer - I prayed for a healing, as her cancer progressed, I was getting frustrated. I didn't understand. Why wouldn't God grant that prayer? What had I done?

    Well - Mom explained it to me. She was cancelling out my prayer. We weren't in agreement. See, I wanted my Mom here with me, but my Mom was tired of the struggles of earth. She was praying for God to prepare my sister and I for her death, and praying for God to let her go home to Him. I was praying for healing. We weren't in agreement. She asked me to stop praying "against her". So I got in line with her, and God did prepare us for Mom's passing and she did go home to Him in joy.

    Regarding 70 times 7
    Yes, many consider it to be the perfect number.

    The theory comes from several sources. Besides the fact that 7 is obviously important in scritpure (7 days to create the world, Joshua was to walk around the wall 7 times, etc.).

    Looking at Zechariah, Daniel and Revelations you see it directly tied to God.

    Zechariah 3:9 says "See the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are 7 eyes 'on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it, says the Lord Almighty,' and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.'

    Then in Zechariah 4 - An angel wakes up Zechariah and gives him a vision of 7 golden lampstands with a bowl on top and 7 lights, and 7 channels to the lights, and 2 olive trees. When he asks the angel what these are the angel acts surprised that he doesn't know and says "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty." And in verse 10 the angel says, "These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range throughout the earth."

    Revelations 1:4, in the messages to the seven churches makes a reference to this again in John's greeting to the church, "John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful wittness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

    John speaks of them again in Rev 4:5
    "From the throne came the flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. Before the throen, 7 lamps were blazing. These are the 7 spirits of God. " Here my study bible notes point out that 7 = whole, complete, or perfect.

    Daniel speaks of 70-7's when he is speaking to the angel Gabriel.

    Daniel 9:24"Seventy sevens are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedeness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy."
    v25 "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Annointed One, the ruler comes, there will be seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in time s of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two sevents, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler will come and will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a convenant with many for one seven. In the middle of the seven he will put an end to sarcifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."
     
  5. donnA

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    I think it means to forgive, even if they don't ask, even if they don't think they've done anyting worng, and too keep on forgiving, no matter how many times you have to forgive. Forgiving isn't saying they were right, or you deserved it, or that they did nothing wrong. It may not be them who deserves frogiving, but it's you who deserves to forgive, it is God who deserves His people to forgive others as a demonstration that we have been forgiven. Not forgiving puts a barrier in our relationships betweeen us and God. Someone may have wronged us, but we wrong God when we do not forgive. I don't think we can ever totally forget what someone has doen to us, but we can choose to not hold it agaisnt them, to forgive them. Forgiveness is s choice not a feeling. Feeling like w ehave forgiven will in some cases come later, but t actualy forgive is a choice we make. Soemtimes we have to ask God to help us forgive. Forgiveness is not a human trait, but a God trait, and it comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit. Given the choice apart from God we would probably never forgive anyone.
     
  6. David Mark

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    There are certain things I ask God for forgiveness for. They are things I struggle with. I often question my own sincerity because I know that I will face this struggle again and I might fail again. I have this knowledge about myself as I am asking God to forgive me. Nevertheless, I endure and I depend on him to forgive me. I am not looking for an excuse to keep doing wrong, I just struggle. I truly desire to be perfect in all my ways.

    How much more should I forgive someone who asks me for forgiveness? I should forgive completely and every time I am asked for it. Never wavering, never giving the idea that I harbor ill feelings toward the one who seeks my forgiveness. If I cannot forgive to this extent, how can I expect this extent of forgiveness from God? When I examine myself and my ways, I must not find that I am an unforgiving person in anyway. This is a result of the level of forgiveness I expect and greatly need from God.

    I think there is an even higher level of forgiveness than this (as my duty). I don't need to be asked for forgiveness. I strive to forgive anyone for anything, whether or not they ask me to. I just do it. I search my heart and I strive to root out any bitterness I may find that I have toward anyone.

    I am most needy when it comes to forgiveness from God. I could not bear him being bitter or having ill thoughts toward me. I could not bear knowing that he was speaking poorly about me or "tearing me down" in the presence of others.

    Dave. [​IMG]
     
  7. Victory in Jesus

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    These are good answers. I looked up the word "forgiveness" and came up with these definitions . Does anyone know the exact meaning in the Bible? I doubt the definition "condone" would be it because that would not only excuse someone, but basically give them permission to do it again.

    I don't have a problem forgiving someone who offends me...if they don't ask forgiveness, I try to straighten it out with that person, and many times it has been complete misunderstandings...usually on my part.

    But lets use an example that's never happened to me before: let's say a drunk driver-- who had already been charged twice and is now driving on a suspended license--runs into my mother or father while they're taking a walk. This is a serious crime. I would have a difficult time forgiving that driver...AND I would have a difficult time forgiving the city/state who set him free...AND I'd have a hard time forgiving his lawyer.

    If the driver walked in with a sneer on his face like he's proud of his accomplishments...how would I be able to forgive him?

    I can't discuss why I'm asking this, and it has nothing to do with anything I've mentioned on this board before (just saving you some search time :D ). And of course, it has nothing to do with the example given (not even close).

    I don't like being in positions where I have difficulty forgiving. I do know it eats at me like a cancer. I'm usually willing to be friends with anyone willing to be a friend, so I don't like being in a position where I don't want to forgive. But at the same time, I can be so obsessive about things that I can't shake it.

    Anyone else experience this? If so, how do you get over it? How do you bring yourself to the point that you can forgive (and I mean honestly forgive...not wave someone off with a "yeah, yeah, I forgive you")?

    BTW, thanks for your post, Donna. [​IMG] Sometimes I only get to sit at the computer a few minutes at a time, so just now saw it.

    Thanks for your replies, everyone.
     
  8. David Mark

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    I hope I am never tested to that point. I am tested it seems on many things, but not in that way. That point could indeed do me in. I know how weak I can be.

    I fail so often when I am tested but I'm learning.

    [prayer]It is my greatest hope that I am never tested beyond what God has prepared me to be able deal with. [/prayer]

    If I should ever find myself in a position where I cannot forgive someone of something, then I don't know what might happen to me. I see no precedent in scripture for unforgiveness.

    I must have been one of the reasons that God's only son went to the cross and suffered. He obviously has forgiven me of that. What should I hope to be like?

    Law enforcement should be harsh enough on murderers of loved ones. Their reward should be immediate and terrible.

    Dave
     
  9. donnA

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    V/J, I think I probabl;y used to eb a lot like you, always held a grudge, could not forgive. Bit it seems it is something that has to do with maturity maybe, I don't know. I know my pastor says that places like that in your life where your lacking thats where God will test you and grow you, I guess like making improvements on you. I have learned that God forgives us and He expects us to model that to the world by forgiving others. Of course there instances like you described that seem hard to forgive if presented with thats. But the forgivenes comes not from the inner us, but from the God in us, He enables u to eb able to forgive. Like I said, before , like before I was a christian I didn't want to forgive anyone either, and saw no reason too. But now when I have to I do, it isn't easy, and sometimes it is something only God can do in us. We just have to know it is the right thing to do and go on how we feel about the situation or person. it isn't them we harm by not forgiving, but us, and our relationship with God. The person you describe doesn't deserve forgiveness any more then we did, but what of our relationship with our God, do we want that barrier there between us and Him? God si in the forgiving business, and if we are to be more like Jesus then we will be in the forgiveness business too.
    I guess I really learned about forgiveness when my son went to prison. I have never been more hurt in my life, even when my dad was murdered when I was 12.
     
  10. Victory in Jesus

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    "The person you describe doesn't deserve forgiveness any more then we did"

    That's a good point...but don't we have to ask forgiveness...be in the remorseful spirit...before He forgives us?

    Isn't salvation about asking forgiveness of our sins, deciding to turn from our sins and follow Christ...acknowledging that Jesus died for our sins and asking Him into our heart and lives?

    Don't those who refuse the Lord's forgiveness...decide to hold on to their sinful nature like a baby blanket...refuse Christ altogether regardless of what He's done for us...don't they go to hell?

    I realize we ... I...am not worthy of God's love and forgiveness. I realize that God loved me enough to send His Son to pay for the sins I committed. God is perfect and I am not. Although I'm saved, I'm going to sin again and again...regardless of how hard I try not to. And again I'm going to ask for forgiveness over and over.


    Heh! I forgot where I was going with this. I think what I'm looking for is the true definition of forgiveness in the Biblical sense...what's expected of us when we forgive.

    If I were to be just like Jesus, then I would have to take the punishment of those who offended me. I don't think that's forgiveness.

    I mean, I forgive my kids when they do wrong, but I punish them for what they've done. One is 19...but as long as they live under our roof, they pay the penalty for wrongdoing just as they would out on the streets (you don't pay your bills, you're charged extra...you're late for work, you pay for it, etc).

    A man murders several people, then years later he receives the needle of death. Let's say he's forgiven by all the family members wayyyy back when it first happened... but the death penalty is still carried out. So, forgiveness isn't a matter of "eh, forget about it...go home and live a happy life". He's still expected to pay the penalty of his crime.

    So then what IS forgiveness? What IS my expectation as someone who forgives?

    OK, let's say someone is spreading false rumors about me. This one I can understand because it's happened many times. People seem to love to listen to others' lies AND BELIEVE THEM, even if they know that person is a liar. This is just petty...clearly not what I'm REALLY (not) talking about.

    If I looked the other way, shrugged it off, turned the other cheek just to get that slapped, too...that would not only be a major annoyance in my life, but it would also be ruining my testimony. Even if I tried to clear it up, there are many people who would want to choose to believe the lies just because their own lives are too boring to talk about, so they have to spice things up with lies about others.

    But, I can't just forget about what the gossiper does because I feel I have to guard my testimony. I certainly wouldn't go back to treating that person as before (a close friend I could trust enough to talk to). So, forgiveness isn't about dropping everything and "going back to the way our friendship used to be". I'd be nice to that person, but I would also build a "rumor-proof shield"...keep her at a distance.

    I'm overcomplicating things, aren't I?
     
  11. Victory in Jesus

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    Donna, I'm sorry you had to go through the things you did. I realize I'm not the only person who's had rough and tough spots in my life (and that's putting it mildly for both of us).
     
  12. donnA

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    We are not given instructions that we are to do this, we are only told to forgive. As hard as it is, it is still something that comes only from God, only in His strength can we forgive whatever it maybe that has so deeply effected us.

    thats called conquences(sp?) and no where in scripture are we relieved of the conquneces for our actions.
    Sometimes friendships are so injured they can be repaired. I know I've had one. Forgiving and forgetting an offense agaisnt us does not mean we run back for more of the saem treatment, it does not mean thinsg will go back to where they ere before. The damage has been done, and hopefully forgiven, but the damage still exsists.
     
  13. donnA

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    Actually as horrorable as it was, I know God was in control,and working not only in my sons life, but mine and my hsubands. We have grown and matured because of it, and learned to more deeply trust God. God can and will use everything in our lives. Nothing ever happens in our lives for no reason, in vain, nothing that happens in our lives is ever empty of meaning and purpose.

    By the way, my son is on parole, clena and sober al the time, trust worthy, hard working, goes to church, married and has given us our first 9of many we hope) grandchild. God accomplished this in his life because of prison. We are thankul He did, even if it took prison. God is good, all the time.
     
  14. donnA

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    I hope you don't think I'm being argumenative because I'm not. we just seem to have this in common. So i hope you see it as discussion and not debating or arguing.
     
  15. guitarpreacher

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    Our church runs a Celebrate Recovery ministry, and one of the things we have learned, and it's true in almost every case - The addicts have deep wounds in their lives and it is impossible for them to progress with thier recovery until they come to a place where they can forgive the ones who have hurt them. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness and anger, and anger when not dealt with properly becomes sin. So the forgiveness that you offer to those who hurt you is not about them, it's about you. When you have a hurt in your life and you haven't forgiven, it becomes a serious roadblock in your spiritual growth. So even though it would be nice if they repented and asked for forgiveness, even if they don't you need to forgive. You're not responsible for their condition, only yours.

    There's an idea in the Lord's prayer that we would rather not deal with, where Jesus tells us to ask for the same type of forgiveness that we are giving to others. Personally, I'm counting on God doing a better job than I usually do.
     
  16. donnA

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  17. Baptist in Richmond

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    </font>[/QUOTE]Hello donnA:

    Hope that this reply finds you and your family being showered with God's Blessings.

    I have thought about this one quite frequently over the past two years, and I would have to agree with the statement. With respect to the initial post, if someone is asking for forgiveness (gossip, for example) and you KNOW that the person is simply going to engage in this activity again, I think we really should forgive them "seventy times seven." Additionally, I think that the forgiveness is for our benefit more than the offender, especially when the offender is certainly going to do it again. In other words, life is too short to go through it holding a grudge.

    I know that forgiveness is easier said than done, but by forgiving, we are "giving it to God," so to speak. In my own personal life, I was on the receiving end of some rather vicious gossip, which was completely unfounded. The person spreading the lie was notorious for doing this to several people. By forgiving that person (in this particular case, they never even asked for forgiveness), I was giving it to God. I was even gracious to the person, trying not to exhibit any bitterness. It's amazing how much better I felt when I gave it to him. The "gossiper," on the other hand, is an incredibly bitter individual to this day (incident happened over 2 years ago).

    I am not saying that it is easy (it definitely is not), but I do feel better about it. I am not carrying that bitterness around with me. Moreover, this attitude was noticed by my unsaved wife, who is amazed that I could "just let it go."

    God's Best to you,
    BiR
     
  18. Baptist in Richmond

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    Good for you, guitarpreacher!! [​IMG]
    My best friend's wife became an alcoholic, completely wrecked their marriage, and divorced him. He too has very deep wounds., and is slowly learning to forgive.

    For what it's worth, I will add your church's ministry to my daily prayer list.

    You have actually done a much better job of saying what I was thinking. Thanks for the good advice!

    God's Best to you, your family and your congregation,

    BiR
     
  19. Dina

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  20. guitarpreacher

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    Baptist in Richmond,

    Thanks for the prayers, you'll never know how much they are appreciated. Our church is a new plant. Well, we're almost 3 now, so I guess we're not brand new anymore. Times fun when your having flys, or something like that [​IMG]

    Celebrate Recovery has been the focus of our outreach and what we have based our church on. We stated from the beginning that we didn't want to take anyone from an existing church, and other than our children's pastor, we haven't. So far this year we've baptized 8, and all 8 are either addicts or family memebers of addicts. It's not the most glamorous ministry in the world, and there are days I'd rather be on staff at Saddleback or some other mega-church, but it is cool to be used by God to reach these guys that most people (christians) have written off.

    I said all that to say prayers are coveted here and we appreciate it. I'll pass along your encouragement to the rest of the gang.
     

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