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       LEARNING TO FORGIVE

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your (own) failings and shortcomings and let them drop.   Mark 11:25 Amp Bible


Oh dear, those forgiveness issues again!  Doesnít the Lord understand that sometimes we just canít forgive?  Does this mean itís ok for a person to do anything they want and I have to just let it go as if it never happened?  Come on now, thatís just asking a bit too much, donít you think?   So whatís the big deal anyway, what happens if I donít forgive a certain person, is it the end of the world?

But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings.  Mark 11:26  

Are you telling me that if I donít forgive them for what they did then God wonít forgive me?  This doesnít sound fair but all right I wonít let anything rob me of being saved.  But how do I do this?  I feel so angry and uptight; I canít will it to go away.  I want to forgive but I just donít know how and I donĎt know if I can.  

Learning to forgive isnít easy and it takes time but we can learn this, putting it into action.  Once we have released the anger and bitterness we have a peace and joy that comes only through being really free.  Not only are we being obedient to the Lord, but we are also breaking away from the captivity of the pain, which held us.  

                                          
REBELLION

Like so many of you my life has not been easy.  I suffered from abuse both as a child, as well as a young adult.  Like most women I could recall old hurts with the clarity of a movie screen, along with the original feelings of anger and betrayal.  Itís often laughed about as being a female trait, but itís no laughing matter. This is a sure sign of unforgiveness and bitterness, which at the worst can damn us to hell and at best make our life miserable.

I remember sitting at the table thinking about how angry I was with my husband for something, which had happened ten years prior to that time.  The anger was there at the surface of my mind as fresh as the day this thing had happened [I canĎt even remember now what it was he had done].  All of a sudden the Lord was speaking to me, I heard so clearly, ďUnforgiveness robs the body of its health, forgiveness and love restores that which the enemy has stolenĒ.

If you [merely] love those who love you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you? For even the [very] sinners love their lovers [those who love them].  Luke 6:32

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by whom you were sealed [marked, branded as God's own, secured] for the day of redemption [of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin].  Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath [passion, rage, bad temper] and resentment [anger, animosity] and quarreling [brawling, clamor, contention] and slander [evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language] be banished from you, with all malice [spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind.  And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted [compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted], forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.  Eph  4:30-32 Amp Bible 


Knowing what this was about I quickly asked the Lord to forgive me vowing never to be unforgiving again.  No sooner had I prayed this then the enemy of our soul quickly went to work.  My dear beloved husband not knowing what was going on with me said something from the other room, which made me angry all over again so I said forget it, I canít forgive this man he makes me too mad! And I meant it! 

I would like to add here, that at this time I had been ministering both from the pulpit as well as one on one for several years.  But this was the time appointed for me to take another step in maturing.  My point here is to say it's foolhardy to believe because a person is behind the pulpit that makes them faultless. Itís surprising how many believe ministers are perfect and fully mature.  Ministers are people like everyone else, we all mature at different rates in different areaís of our life.
     
                                     
UNFORGIVENESS

A few months later I began to get very ill, and I was soon diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus as well as Degenerative Arthritis, and the beginnings of Emphysema, this being told to me on the phone on my 41st birthday.  It wasnít until later I was also diagnosed with several secondary conditions including Fibromyalgia. 

It wasnít bad enough I was turning forty-one which at that time I thought was horrible in itself, I was also diagnosed on the phone with one of the diseases which had always frightened me,  Lupus!    

Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God's grace [His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing], in order that no root of resentment [rancor, bitterness, or hatred] shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it;    Heb 12:15 
 
                             
  EXTREMELY ILL

Please hear me on this, not everyone getting sick is in rebellion, not everyone remaining sick is in rebellion either.  Sometimes people just get ill, and the healing may come now or when they pass over into Glory; it is the Lord that heals not us.

After the shock and self pity passed I quickly repented of my sin of rebellion and unforgiveness, asking the Lord to teach me how to really forgive others; no matter what they had done.  I was honestly ashamed at forcing the hand of God to take me to the woodshed in order to get my attention.

                                         
SCHOOL

The Lord knows our heart and He knew I was sincere about learning to forgive, even though it took me a long time to really learn how. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and He is patient and loving.  Itís important for us to stay in prayer, the LORD hears us and He is there to bless our efforts.


Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking (reverently) and (the door) will be opened to you:
Matt 7:7 


I asked the Lord to forgive me for the sin of bitterness where I had refused to forgive in the past.  I had to ask Him to help me forgive those that had come against me in unforgivable ways as a child.  I went to my parents asking them to forgive me for all I had done to cause them pain.  They hugged me and asked me to forgive them as well, telling me they loved me.

My husband was another one I had to ask forgiveness from.  He is a normal man, being at times a bit insensitive to my feelings.  When I get angry with him and speak unkindly I have to apologize, even if I feel wronged.   A wife being disrespectful to her husband is rebellion to the Lord.   


For it was thus that the pious women of old who hoped in God were [accustomed] to beautify themselves and were submissive to their husbands [adapting themselves] to them as themselves secondary and dependent upon them].      1 Peter 3:5

Never return evil for evil or insult for insult [scolding, tongue-lashing, berating], but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]: For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God -that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection].  For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good-whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from guile [treachery, deceit]. 1 Pet 3:9-10

This last scripture is not just for wives but all God's children.  We are not to argue and fight back.  There have been many times I've had to go to others that were rude and apologize for my nasty attitude.

When I was a new Christian of a few years I had a "friend" that loved to bait me.  She would call and say such nasty things that I would snarl in return.  No sooner had I hung up then the Lord would move on me to call her back and apologize, I would say I'm sorry then she'd come back with "I should think so"... off I'd go again.  I had to call and apologize to her three times in a row one afternoon, with the same comments from both of us.  Finally the third and last time I kept my mouth shut, so I wouldn't have to call her again. I knew the Lord was teaching me an important lesson, but I just couldn't apply it to my family, until years later.  

Finally the day came when I was able to forgive and actually forget the trespasses of my family. Yes I said forget; let it go as if it never happened.  It isn't forgiving if we hold onto it.  The Lord is our example isn't He? 


I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.  Isaiah 43:25
  
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.  Luke 6:35-36 

It wasn't easy; I really worked at learning to forgive.  After a lot of prayer and fasting, as well as being humiliated in the process I could honestly say I had learned to forgive.

Part 2 is on the next page

                              
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matt 5:16