JOURNEY TO FREEDOM
UNIT IV Key 4 FORGIVENESS
SCRIPTURE PRINCIPLE: I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men. Acts 24:16
Forgiveness has three parts. First, we need to ask God for forgiveness. Second, we need to forgive others. Third, we need to ask others for forgiveness. Unless all three parts are in place, we cannot expect real and lasting victory over ssa/ma/tx or any sin.
Forgiveness is something we want to procrastinate. We procrastinate asking God for forgiveness, we procrastinate forgiving others, and we procrastinate asking other people for forgiveness. Our unconfessed sins, our lack of forgiveness toward others, and our unwillingness to ask forgiveness of others affect our lives in negative ways, whether we realize it or not.
When we put off asking God for forgiveness, when we put off forgiving others, and when we put off asking others for forgiveness, we hurt inside and cause others to hurt as well. If you are not confessing your sins to God, the chances are that your unconfessed sins are hurting others, often those whom you say you love the most. If you are not forgiving those who hurt you, you may eventually take out your anger on the innocent as your heart becomes harder and harder. If you have wronged someone and expressed no remorse, your failure to acknowledge your sin makes it harder for them to forgive you. You may even be tempted to continue to sin against them in order to justify and cover up your previous sins.
God forgives us easily, and all we have to do is confess our sins and repent. God does not have wounded and sinful pride that creates a barrier between Him and us. He does not expect us to punish ourselves for our sins, because Jesus took the punishment on our behalf. He does not feel that forgiving us makes Him vulnerable. He does not feel that forgiving us is betraying His own ego. By contrast, we are filled with pride that is easily offended, and when others wrong us, they hurt our pride. Our pride is why it is so hard to forgive others.
We hate to be humiliated. Feeling humiliated is one of the hardest things to forgive others for. By contrast, humans seem to consider it “fun” to humiliate other people. However, we become enraged if someone has “fun” at our expense. But Jesus on the cross willingly accepted humiliation on our behalf (Isaiah 53:3-5 & Philippians 2:8) so He could forgive our sins and the sins of those who wronged us.
We would not commit any sin if we did not think it would be fun. The pleasure is the bait in Satan’s trap. When we go ahead and commit the sin, however, he often only allows us part of the pleasure that he had promised. So we sin again, more and more, hoping to obtain all of the pleasure that was promised. But instead of the pleasure, the pain begins to increase. Sometimes we get so focused on the promise of the pleasure that for a while we can ignore the pain. We continue to sin as we chase a promise of pleasure that never really comes true.
Our pride keeps us from admitting that the sin is not as much fun as it had been promised to be. We justify our sins by telling others that we are having fun, and we become very protective of that lie. The truth is that we are not having as much fun as we say we are, but we are too proud to admit it. So we continue to make ourselves more and more miserable, all in order to protect our easily injured pride.
This is especially true if our sins are hurting others. Not only are we sinning against them by our actions, but when they are feeling pain, Satan takes advantage of those moments to inject more of his lies into their minds. We need to accept responsibility for those lies. We need to repent, not only of our sins against others and our hostility towards them, but the lies of the devil that were injected into their minds as we hurt and humiliated them.
They need to confess their own sins and accept God’s forgiveness, and then they can identify and renounce those lies they have believed as they study the Word, but we can help them to do that by confessing our sins against them and asking their forgiveness.
We confess our sins in order to be set free. We forgive those who wronged us in order to be set free. We identify the lies of the devil and replace them with truth from the Word in order to be set free. Then we can take what we have been given and give it to others. We need to ask others for forgiveness, take full responsibility for our part in the conflict, and tell them that we alone are responsible for our own actions.
When we do that, we speak truth against the lies. Where we once held open the door for the enemy of their souls to inject his lies, we now hold open the door for the Friend of their souls to shine His light on the lies and replace them with truth. By confessing our sins and asking others’ forgiveness, we work with the Holy Spirit to set others free.
SCRIPTURE: Write what each of these verses or passages mean to you and your situation.
STUDY GUIDE (Feel free to write on the backside or use additional paper if necessary.)
1. Three parts of forgiveness are listed in the reading. Which is the easiest for you to practice? Why do you think that is?
2. Which of the three is the hardest? Why do you think that is?
3. Do you see any ways in which lack of forgiveness is hindering your freedom in Christ? Please describe.
4. Please list some of the people you have wronged, to whom you need to make amends.
5. Have you ever made amends or tried to make amends to someone you have wronged? What was the result?
6. Has anyone ever confronted you on your wrong-doing against them? How did you respond?
7. What do the following passages tell you?
I Corinthians 13:6
8. Please read Genesis 37, and 39-45.
a. What were some of the wrongs that were done to Joseph?
b. What were some of the things in he did in response to the wrongs done him?
c. What were some of the gifts God gave Joseph?
d. What does Judah’s petition in Genesis 44:18-34 say about love?
e. Can you think of a time when you applied Genesis 45:5 & 8, and 50:20 to your own situation?
f. What does Genesis 50:14-21 say further about broken relationships?
9. On a scale of 1-10, how victorious have you been lately (1 is lowest, 10 is highest)? Please explain your answer.
10. Did you use any memorized Scripture to battle temptation lately? What was the result?
11. How is your spiritual life in general, how are your private devotions, and how are things at your church/fellowship group?
12. Have you had a chance to help anyone else with a spiritual problem lately? Have you had a chance to help anyone else with an ssa/ma/tx issue lately? Please explain.
Plan of Action: