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Let Go!

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Let Go!

2017 is nearly over. For some of us, it has been a very trying year. A damaged reputation; a health issue; a miscarriage; marital infidelity; or a death.
Sometimes life throws us a curve ball and we are forced to deal with it as it comes. Not the ideal, but the real part of life.
Maybe the circumstances have challenged you to the core of who you are and you have grown bitter, angry, or resentful.
These are times when forgiveness provides a way of letting go so you can live your life to the full.
It is the place where bitterness, resentment, and anger can take root.
Lorie Johnson wrote an article on “The Deadly Consequences of Unforgiveness,” dated June 22, 2015. In her article she stated, “Unforgiveness is classified in medical books as a disease. According to Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, refusing to forgive makes people sick and keeps them that way. With that in mind, forgiveness therapy is now being used to help treat diseases, such as cancer. . .
Of all cancer patients, 61 percent have forgiveness issues, and of those, more than half are severe, according to research by Dr. Michael Barry, a pastor and the author of the book, The Forgiveness Project, [wrote] . . . Harboring these negative emotions, this anger and hatred, creates a state of chronic anxiety . . . Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier in the fight against cancer. . .
Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier in the fight against cancer. . .
Barry [goes on to say that] the first step in learning to forgive is to realize how much we have been forgiven by God. . .”
I’m convinced that God has implanted in us all a sense of justice; a sense of right and wrong; that demands judgment against the wrong-doer.
But sometimes, justice never comes… Sometimes the hurt is so deep, it takes an act of God to forgive.

(ESV)

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 Pray then like this: [OUT LOUD WITH ME] “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
your will be done,
(Literal Translation) In this way, petition [God]: Our Father in heaven, holy is your reputation. Speed the coming of your kingdom, so your purpose comes to pass on earth as it is in heaven. Grant us today the food we need, and pardon our sins, just as we have pardoned others' sins. Lead us [away from] temptation [and] rescue us from evil. If we pardon others' sins, our Father will pardon our sins also, but if we do not pardon others' sins, our Father will not pardon our sins.
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Literal Translation) In this way, petition [God]: Our Father in heaven, holy is your reputation. Speed the coming of your kingdom, so your purpose comes to pass on earth as it is in heaven. Grant us today the food we need, and pardon our sins, just as we have pardoned others' sins. Lead us [away from] temptation [and] rescue us from evil. If we pardon others' sins, our Father will pardon our sins also, but if we do not pardon others' sins, our Father will not pardon our sins.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Forgiveness is conditional

“Forgiveness is the wiping out of an offense from memory; it can be effected only by the one affronted [the one offended]. Once eradicated, the offense no longer conditions the relationship between the offender and the one affronted [the one offended], and harmony is restored between the two.”

Main Point

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Freedman, D. N. (Ed.). (1992). Forgiveness. In The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 2, p. 831). New York: Doubleday.
Freedman, D. N. (Ed.). (1992). Forgiveness. In The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 2, p. 831). New York: Doubleday.
“Our Father in heaven,
Freedman, D. N. (Ed.). (1992). Forgiveness. In The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 2, p. 831). New York: Doubleday.
If you question whether this is true or not, consider these verses:
hallowed be your name.
(ESV) 14 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, [then] your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, [then] neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
10 Your kingdom come,
(ESV) 25 “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may [then] forgive you your trespasses.”
your will be done,
25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
on earth as it is in heaven.
(ESV) 3 “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ [then] you must forgive him.”
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
(ESV) 9 “. . . if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, [then] you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
12 and forgive us our debts,
(ESV) 12 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so [then] you also must forgive.”
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
You see, forgiveness is conditional. You will be forgiven, IF you forgive others.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

True forgiveness requires us to understand at least 3 things:

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

We must recognize our own sinful condition

God said this of humanity in (ESV) “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart.”
Paul, when talking about the sin that dwelt in him, said in (ESV), “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Paul, in spite of his education. In spite of his great learning. In spite of having met Jesus enroute to Damascus, saw the same sins in himself that he saw in others.
Paul was humbled by this reality. I’m convinced that it was this reality, this humility, that allowed his ministry to be so effective.
Arrogance cannot reside in one’s heart very long, when one has been humbled by the knowledge of one’s own depravity.
Paul, when speaking of Jews being any better off than the Greeks, said in (ESV), “. . . none is righteous, no, not one;
Before you walk out, hear this: I’m convinced that there is no one more depraved than me either.
We all share the same condition!
Paul, when speaking of Jews being any better off than the Greeks, said in (ESV), “. . . none is righteous, no, not one;
Again, Paul, in (ESV), “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
As I look around this room, I’m convinced that there is no one better than me.
Now, before you walk out, hear this: I’m convinced that there is no one more depraved/more sinful than me either.
We all share the same condition!
In short, we all stand before the Lord, GUILTY of sin.
(ESV) “For the wages [the cost] of sin is death . . .
THAT’S what the person who wronged you deserves, but, it is also what you an I deserve
THAT’S what we deserve!
True forgiveness requires that we understand our own sinful condition.

We must recognize that God is just and uses the same scales with everyone

(ESV) “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
(ESV) “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
(ESV) “So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
God gives you and I a choice in how we proceed in dealing with another person’s sins: Will we seek their punishment or will we forgive them their sins against us?
It doesn’t work this way in God’s Kingdom.
God gives you and I a choice in how we proceed in dealing with another person’s sins: Will we seek their punishment or will forgive them their sins against us?
Too often, we want others judged for their wrongs, while we want to be pardoned for ours.
It doesn’t work this way in God’s Kingdom.
Feel free to choose whichever way you like, but be warned: You will receive the same pronouncement AND measure that you give to others.
Consider the story of the Unforgiving Servant in .
True forgiveness requires us to understand that God is just.

We must recognize how much we have been forgiven.

God said this of humanity in (ESV) “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart.”
When God is sorry and grieved for our sinful condition, we are worse off than we had thought!
(ESV) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned...
(ESV) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned...
Once Paul laid out the sinful condition of all people in , he wrote, (ESV) “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus took all the sins we would ever commit upon Himself when He was nailed to the cross.
You and I have been forgiven for . . . EVERYTHING . . .WE . . . WILL . . . EVER . . . DO!
Think about that a minute!

So What?

(ESV) “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
One day, you may do something so horrendous that you won’t believe you did it yourself and you will need to seek forgiveness for your actions and this from the one you hurt so deeply.
And though you won’t expect to be forgiven, there will be one who will pardon your actions, believing that your sin does not define you.
When this happens, and I believe it happens in all of our lives at some point, you will begin to understand the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ toward us all.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

In Jesus Name, Amen.
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