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Forgiveness isn’t easy.
Forgiveness is not easy.
Anger is a chain that binds you to sin. Sometimes we get angry with others over things we know we ourselves are tempted to do. Sometimes we get angry for a genuine wrong committed. Sometimes we get angry because we are afraid. We know in our heads that perfect love casts out all fear. But how do we get that into our heart? How do we let go of Anger?
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And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 KJV
A person very close to my heart told me that she would like to read about Forgiveness. So here we go.
I hope, through this series, to show that forgiveness is fundamental to our faith, our well being and our growth as Christians.
Unforgiveness has the power to destroy you, your faith, your walk with God, your health, your mind. Unforgiveness is a pernicious poison that, if not dealt with, will ultimately destroy everything you are trying to achieve. The lack of forgiveness is a stumbling block that inhibits your growth.
I have struggled with this issue a great deal over these last 20 years. I have sinned, and been sinned against. I have had to deal with both sides of the equation of Forgiveness.
I have had to forgive myself & others. I have had to seek, and am still seeking ways and means to get forgiveness from others. I have had to learn that it is not a switch that you can just flip, and voila, forgiveness happens. It is often a process. Sometimes painful, but necessary. Sometimes it is not reciprocated, or appreciated. Sometimes, others will never choose to forgive you, or receive your forgiveness.
I have discovered that, when God deals with you in the forgiveness arena, it can be painful and joyful. Sometimes the pain precedes the joy. I say this because, when God deals with you over your need to forgive, or receive forgiveness, the dirty laundry comes out.
God will deal with you over your anger, your pride, your distorted sense of God’s righteousness, and the sin of self-righteousness. If you are listening, you will be reminded of just how much you have been forgiven of – all the things you did before you were a Christian, and especially all the things God has graciously forgiven you of after you became a Christian.
This series has already become a challenge for me. In writing the outline for this series, I found I had been keeping a grievance on a back shelf. I had forgotten it was there, until I ran across a few verses that reminded me of it. I immediately had to stop what I was doing and seek that forgiveness from that person, and forgive that person for wrongs done. We both had sinned against each other, and we both had buried it deep. The effort was painful. Obedience isn’t always a “cumbayah” experience. The reward was so sweet, so good, so joyous, I wonder why I ever kept that grievance rotting in my mind. I am free from that chain, and so is the person I went to. We both needed it, and it was very good.
If you are going to be a Child of God, a Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, Forgiveness is one of the first muscles you will have to develop. Forgiveness is not for sissies. It is not for the prideful. It is not for the self-righteous. We have to humble ourselves before God in order to be forgiven, and we have to understand grace and mercy in order to forgive.
Forgiveness is more important than I realized. It is powerful. It serves you to forgive others, and it further’s the kingdom of God when you do it.
I ask your forgiveness because I cannot offer an outline for this series. I have only written this introduction and the first two parts of this series. There will be more, because, as with every true doctrine of God, every doctrine is a gem with many facets.
I hope you will get as much out of this series as I have gotten researching it.
I will leave you with this fact, and a question:
FACT: Unforgiveness has its roots in Anger. So does fear.
QUESTION: Why are you angry? What are you in fear of?
That is where I had to start.
I will see you tomorrow with : FORGIVE, Part 1
David G. Perkins
My Daughter, Hannah, just turned 15. Last year, she completed the first draft of her first book. She allowed me to work as her draft editor. Below is the introduction to her book. The working title is “INDIGO CHILD“.
”I’m not quite sure if I want to believe your story.” the Judge said to the man sitting next to me, then looked directly at me. “But I may believe the child, he looks innocent enough.” “Tell me how this all got started, boy. How did you end up here exactly?”
I wasn’t ready for that. I had been lost in this man’s office. For a brief moment I had forgotten my pain, the stitches, the healing bones. The last time I saw an office this elaborate was in that other place…that other time, not very long ago, but it already seemed like another world.
Rich dark wood and leather furniture. Bookshelves as tall as three men. Secretarial stations here and there. The sun penetrated stained glass windows, revealing the dust motes floating in all the colors of the rainbow. This place spoke of power, but not of evil. I felt a sense of weight, that whatever I did, whatever I said, it had better be the truth.
“Young man, ” the baritone voice broke through my reverie, “You are trying my patience. Speak up!”
I looked directly at him. He was old, with graying hair that surrounded his otherwise bald head. His deep brown eyes, with the circles of fatigue penetrated my soul. It was as if he were a living lie detector.
When he told me to “Speak up!”, it wasn’t loud, but carried the authority of a cracking whip.
I choked on my words, trying to put them into place so that I didn’t sound like an idiot. How could I sum up my life in one simple paragraph? I knew I couldn’t. It was just one of those stories that had to be told, detail by detail, from the very beginning.
The entire office had fallen silent. The court reporter was the only quiet movement in the room, silently and diligently recording every sound and gesture. It was as if I were suddenly the most interesting thing in the room. All eyes were on me.
It was so hard to stay brave now when I knew that if I put one word out of place, it could cost me my life.
I glanced around as I rose to my feet. I felt a warm, strong hand on my back and knew it was the man sitting next to me, steadying my broken body. Our lives depended on each other’s. I felt instant relief by his touch, knowing that no matter what, we would make it through. Like a family. Of course.
“From the very beginning?”, I asked him, making sure.
“Yes. From the very beginning, when you think this first started.”
I let out a deep breath, knowing this would be a long story. A story that would be hard to tell, one that I was almost afraid to speak of. But I had to do it. I met the man’s penetrating eyes, looking as serious as I could.
I told him exactly what had happened…from day one.
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HOW I SEE IT
When someone reading your blog describes it as “interesting”, they mean, “Which Zoo donated the monkey for this experiment?” In certain countries, my writing is considered a social disease, and it might be the real cause of all the trouble in the Middle East. None-the-less, I have actually had 10 readers, and a couple of them are now subscribers. Please accept my gratitude, the check is in the mail.
HOW GOD SEES IT
A recent career debacle has left me seeing that, after almost 20 years doing the same thing, I suddenly have to reinvent myself. What I wanted to do when the rug was pulled was to run around like my hair was on fire, panic, grow a healthy crop of ulcers, and basically be an insomniac. What I did instead was pray. Really, I prayed. And, this is the truth, I immediately felt a peace about all of this. I knew that since I was radioactive in my career, I would not be able to do what I had been doing anymore. I had to be remade. I wasn’t worried because, after 20 years of running from God, I had spent the last 4 years slowly returning. I found out when I did that that I had not done anything but cross the palm of God’s hand. Some of my recent blogs described my return to God, and how you can return too.
So, here I am, career-less, and wondering what to do. My wife and I prayed and prayed about this. Just a couple of weeks after being home, in between job searches, I had the overwhelming compulsion to start writing again. I had not written a thing in 20 years. Writing was not even my first love. Music was my first love. But, suddenly, I got an overwhelming desire to sit and write. So, I prayed again. God let me know through several confirmations that I am to write something every day. Not only that, I am to write a blog.
I know this might sound crazy to you, but eventually, you will see that this stuff really happens. It happened to me. Here is where Proverbs 3:5 & 6 comes in to play. I needed a new path, and God has given me a thing to do. I am doing it. I honestly do not understand the why’s and wherefore’s of this, but one thing God has made clear to me, I am to write.
I am writing this for you. I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you have been through, or are going through. But I know that, as I obey God and write, He will empower my writing. He will do this because of you. Like me, you had given up on God, friends, family, and basically life itself. To tell the truth, that 20 years of working in various jobs, for various companies, doing the same or related things, was not even related to who I really am, or what I really want to do with my life. Chances are you are there now.
God restores all of us if we let him. He is calling you. The reason I am doing this blog is two fold. 1. I am obeying God. 2. God wants you to know you are not alone, that someone out here gets it. And he wants you to know that He cares for you, and wants you to come home.
You do not even have to clean up to return to Him. He will take care of that for you. All you have to do is come home.
HOW I HOPE YOU SEE IT
Personally, I hope my blog eventually takes off, but that is not my real goal. Over time I will be writing about several issues that may reach you. This is for you, not me. What I want out of this exercise is irrelevant to what God wants to accomplish.
You see, a revival is about to break loose, and God wants you to be a part of that revival. You have a role to play. You and I have to put down all our anger, desire for revenge, hate of the church, grudges, and whatever sin besets us. We need to get our own lives in order so God can equip us to lead in the upcoming revival.
By my own understanding of things, I should be panicking because 8 weeks later, I am still unemployed. But as I understand God, I simply have to trust Him, and HE will direct my paths. This is what He wants to do for you, too.
I have no illusions about being a “Great Writer“, but I know this is what I am supposed to be doing right now. I am doing this out of Love for God, and in obedience to Him, and out of a genuine desire to see you return to God, too. I do this because God has changed my heart. I no longer feel the anger I felt. I no longer hate. I now love because He who is in me IS love. And I love you, and want to see you join the battle and lead from the front in the upcoming revival.
Who ever you are, I hope this letter finds you.
This time for sure.
I came in like a lion and placed my hands on the keyboard, ready to write words in such a way that readers would be captivated, and fellow word-smiths would stand and applaud.
The blank page looked looked scintillating; inviting, daring me to paint her canvas with a journey of delight and adventure.
My hands were poised.
My thesaurus like mind was generating explosive and compelling prose.
I embraced the blank page in a fevered grasp and started typing.
But the page was only playing with me. She let me believe I had the upper hand, that she was unable to resist the blazing presence of my fiery mind.
She stopped me dead in my tracks and asked, “Have you started yet?”
I was undone.
Instead of being steely strong, issuing wells of prose, my words lay there, shriveled up and pathetic.
I choked, I lost my momentum, the rhythm of my words were not right. I fumbled and lowered my hands.
In that single phrase, I knew there was no way I was going to have my way with this page.
The blank page won. And this is all I have to show for it.
As I left the room, I heard her say, “It’s OK, it happens to every word-smith now and then.”