Posts Tagged forgiveness

Behind My Back

Isaiah 38: 17      AMP

You have loved back my life from the pit of nothingness (destruction), for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

Do you ever wonder what God is thinking about your sin? Well, here is your answer. He has forgotten it. He cast it behind Him. It is where He cannot see it or be reminded of it. Maybe you should cast it behind your back as well.

The God’s Word version adds this, “Now my bitter experience turns into peace.” Why? Because God has forgotten our sin. Our sadness and disappointment from our many mistakes and sins is changed to peace because God has looked upon us with compassion and never-ending mercy. Romans 8: 28 reads, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Did you ever consider this includes our sins? It does say “all things” does it not? So all of your errors, whether intentional sin or errors in judgement are cast behind God’s back because He cares for you. He is turning your bitter experience into peace; peace for you, peace between you and He.

God doesn’t want to be angry with you. He does not want you condemned or feeling guilty. He sent Jesus so that you could experience true freedom in your life and in your inner self. He has redeemed you from the pit of destruction by His own choice. Why would He hang on to your sin. Why would He continue to dangle it in front of you in that He gave His most precious asset in order to redeem you? That would make no sense.

Is there something that has troubled you for years? Let it go. God has put it behind Him so it is time for you to put it behind you too.

Unfair

Romans 12: 17 – 18

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

There are some verses in the Bible that, frankly, it would be more comfortable and convenient if God would remove them. And that is the problem with being a Bible person, you must deal with the uncomfortable one’s and you must do so honestly. This verse is one of those unpleasant scriptures.

Face it, there are times in life when someone just does you wrong. It is bewildering. Perhaps you have always been nice to that person. Maybe you are the only one who does treat them well but then they act out to you. You deserve better but this is what you get, a rude, ugly person who seems intent on making your life miserable. Well, join the club and be in good company because we have all had to deal with these unlovely folks.

When you encounter one of these people, just look to Jesus. He certainly had to deal with persecution. All he wanted to do was to love people and help them. He said that he came to earth to give us a good life (see John 10: 10 Amp.). Look how people hated him and how they treated him. Even his own family called him crazy and wanted to have him put away as a lunatic. And yet, in the midst of being hated, in the midst of being ill-treated he gave up his life for those people. When we didn’t love him, when we loved our sin rather than him, he laid down his life for us. Can you hear that truth at a deeper level today? While you hated God and didn’t love Jesus, they gave all they had for you.

So how are we to treat the ugly people in our lives? Now you understand why I don’t like this verse. God has called me to love them in an active (rather than passive) way even when they are being mean and ugly to me. It’s not fair God!!! No, it isn’t fair but it wasn’t fair when He put His son on a cross for us either. We must do our best to love these folks into the kingdom of God.

Look, Christianity isn’t easy, who said it was? And it is not a religion. It is a lifestyle, a way of being but that doesn’t even begin to say it all. It really is like our DNA gets changed when we give our lives over to God. We are aliens in this world. This is not our home. We are different and we are supposed to behave differently than the world. We are called to love those who revile us rather than fight them or have our revenge. We are supposed to perform acts of love to those who maltreat us. Does that make sense? Not if you think as the world thinks but if you will turn your face to God and let Him minister to you and through you, you will find that He will give you the strength to love the unlovely. He will even give you joy in the doing. I don’t know how He does it, but it is true. Once you quit fighting with Him about the fairness of the thing and complaining about how they treated you, then He can begin to show you His way of thinking. And He will reward you for your obedience. I think obedience is its own reward, but that is not His way. He likes to pour out a blessing on you. It is just His nature.

I know that what I am proposing to you today is difficult and I know all of the arguments about why it’s not fair and doesn’t feel right. I have felt all of the emotions, made all the claims, but now I know the truth. The only way these unlovely people are going to change is through the love of God. It is the most powerful force in the universe and you have been given the right to wield this power. So when you feel like calling down fire from heaven on someone remember what Jesus said to James and John in the same circumstance. “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of” (Luke 9: 55). In other words, you are of the spirit of love, so we move by and through love. Jesus could have French fried those soldiers that drove nails through his hands and feet but instead he prayed for them. He asked God to forgive them. So, pray for those people who are mistreating you. Bake them a cake. Go out of your way to love on them. Speak to them in kindness and forgiveness. I know they don’t deserve it but do something nice for them in Jesus’ name. Make it a gift to him for his kindness. Just pour your love for him onto them. You are going to be amazed at the results. Then write me and let me and let me hear your praise report.

God . . . is forgiving

1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 5

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.

Are you kidding me with this? Love does not count the wrongs done to it? The person who loves does not take into account the things a person does to them. Don’t get this wrong, though. This does not meant they are doormats letting people walk all over them. No, it’s just that they forgive and continue in love. They may not hang out with the offender anymore; they may know not to trust them, but they do not judge those people. They just keep on loving. That is amazing but that is what love does.

But Jesus was saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing’” (Luke 23: 34).  Jesus prayed this prayer for the people who were crucifying him. I have always found this passage remarkable. Wouldn’t you want to pray a hailstorm down on them? I would but Jesus was born of love. His Father is love so I guess this is the heritage of love that God passed down to Jesus.

You know, we have talked a lot about self-centeredness versus others-centeredness in this discussion of Chapter 13. I think God’s selflessness is at the root of many of the characteristics of love that we have seen from this chapter. God is forgiving, doesn’t take into account the wrongs we deal Him because He is not absorbed with self. He isn’t taking account of all the bad things we do to Him. He is looking after our interests. He is concerned with our needs and even our bad acts because often those actions are a reflection of our own hurts. I think He worries more about the injuries which are causing us to act out than the behaviors themselves. He wants to speed healing to us.

Maybe that is a bit of how we should look at people who do us wrong. Maybe there is a way for us to react with compassion instead of anger. We certainly do not have to be victims but we don’t have to be enemies either. We can pray for them with a clean heart like Jesus prayed and mostly, we just don’t have to keep score anymore.

Get Happy

Isaiah 43: 25

I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.

You may have noticed that I have been giving you verses in which God declares that He is not holding onto your sin and further that He has actually put it behind Him and forgotten it. This verse from Isaiah says it about as plainly as can be stated. God, for His own reasons, decided not to remember your sins. That is such a great revelation and I am happy about it but I also see a message in here for our daily application.

Imagine how unhappily miserable God would be if He remembered every single thing we did wrong. Can you imagine how that would feel? It would be self-torture and yet this is the very thing many of us do in our lives. God chose to forgive us so that His love could flow. He chose love over judgment, over condemnation. The side effect is that He is happy and joyful. Hanging on to that judgment would have made it impossible for Him to constantly express joy towards us. Retaining our sin, keeping it before His eyes would have made him depressed and forlorn. So, rather than choose that lifestyle, He chose to forgive us and to shower His love upon us. We didn’t and we don’t deserve it but He chose the better way.

Think about how miserable we make our lives by being judgmental and angry. We hold onto unforgiveness and remember every sin and offense committed against us. No wonder we are despondent creatures. How can we look out of the lenses of our eyes to gaze upon the sunshine when we have cloaked our lives and habitats with the black sin of ourselves and others. No wonder we are depressed, angry and broken. In order to be healthy ourselves we must understand that Jesus told you not to judge because he was looking after you, not the other guy. God told you to forgive because He was guarding your life and health. The kids would say, “Get a clue!” Our father and big brother are looking after us, advising us for our best interests. They are not giving us laws, they are giving us life. Isn’t that what Jesus said his purpose was, to give us life and that in abundance? (John 10: 10).

It is time for you to be free of the guilt and condemnation of your soul. It is high time you let go of the past. Forgive yourself, be healed of a critical and judgmental tendency and forgive all those who have transgressed against you. Free your spirit from the oppression of anger and unforgiveness. You are killing yourself and this is not God’s will for you. I want you free from pain and living every day in the glory of the Lord. This is your right and inheritance. May it also be your reality. Amen.

The New Plan

Hebrews 10: 16 – 18

“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND UPON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” He then says, “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” NOW WHERE THERE IS FORGIVENESS OF THESE THINGS, THERE IS NO LONGER ANY OFFERING FOR SIN.

Have you ever wanted to know what the New Covenant is? Well, here it is. How amazingly exciting is this? One of the big keys to the New Covenant and its operation in our lives is that the Father, Himself, has come to live inside us. We are the temple of the New Covenant. If that wasn’t big enough, Yahweh God, brings with Him Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Of course His words are within us, by His presences and by His spirit He is writing them on our hearts and minds.

Now I could go on and on about this New Covenant but there is one specific point I want to bring to your attention. Look again at these words, “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” What?! Are you hearing this? God made forgetting our sins and lawlessness part of His commitment under the New Covenant. Now should you think this is a powerless statement, remember that the New Covenant is written in Jesus’ blood. Would God, for one moment, minimize the blood of Jesus by not honoring the statements spoken here? If we was to retain even one of your sins, that would be to dishonor and disregard the sacrifice Jesus made for us all. It would also break the New Covenant and God would break His Word. Now, if God were even once break His word do you know that the entire earth would collapse? Think about it. God created the entire world and even you and I by His words. If He broke one it would break the underlying foundation, security and foundation of every word He has ever spoken. That He will not do.

Also, look at today’s verses this way. No one bargained the New Covenant with God. There was no one with any leverage who twisted His arm in order to get a single provision out of Him. Every single promise of the New Covenant was freely given. So, ask yourself why the provision of forgetting all of our trespasses and transgressions is part of the contract. It is only there because it reflects God’s heart. It is God’s desire to remember your sins no more. He weight your sin and mine, the sin of yesterday and even tomorrow and on the other side of the scale He placed the sacrificial lamb. That sin offering was the only one that could eradicate our sin from existence. The price has been paid. We are free.

So then this question arises and it is the one dealt with in the final sentence. If God has made a once for all sin offering for us, and in the doing washed away our sin forever, why are we still going through life trying to make sin offerings to God? You see, our part is the accept the sin offering. It is as simple as, “Father, I messed up but I thank you that Jesus paid the price for my sin. I apologize, Lord. I receive forgiveness and thank you for it.” We have no business wailing and groaning about our sin. We need to quickly change our behaviors and receive the grace that was won for us. Why are you hanging onto sin that Dad wants to put behind Him? Some people even act righteous over their sin by moaning and groaning about what a horrible sinner they are. They act like their sin is bigger than Jesus’ sacrifice. I tell you that is offensive to God and a stench in His nostrils. He has made a way for us all to put sin in the past and to move forward in the grace that is the unmerited gift of our dear Lord. So, don’t wallow in self-recrimination. It really is a slam on the blood of Christ. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and determine to make a better decision next time, all the while, though, appreciating that God has provided for the forgiveness of sin. Don’t be sin conscious, be Christ conscious. It is the way.

Pardoned

Micah 7: 18

Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.

I pray this revelation will fill the earth, and the church. God isn’t angry. He does not retain His anger but rather lets it go in favor of unchanging love. Yahoo! And just consider that this is a passage out of the Old Testament. Frankly, there are lots of New Testament believers who think God is angry now. Some folks are willing to concede that God is now a God of love but they think He was an angry God before. The truth is that God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13: 8). If we take a position that God was angry, revengeful, and wrathful our hearts convict us. We cannot truly believe in a God who is love and live in that love if we believe this same “person” is the one who tortures us and is angry with us. We have to choose – is God an angry deity or is He love?

So do you want another little bite of truth? God sent Jesus to the earth in the Old Covenant, not the New. Even the New Testament begins with Jesus’ birth, yes? So, that means that when God sent him, it was still the Old Testament. Are you following along with me? That would mean that this vengeful, evil, mean, wrathful GOD sent His beloved son to die for us. That makes absolutely no sense at all. Look at today’s Old Testament verse. God chose way back in the day to pardon iniquity and to pass over our rebellious acts. What is that about? Then He chose not to be angry because His very nature is love. He chose to love us rather than to hold onto His anger. He has chosen to put His love for us above our sin.

Here is the bottom line. God chose love over sin. He chose to focus on His love for us rather than on our stinking iniquity. His love has overcome our sin. He put sin under the mercy seat and under the blood. He isn’t writing your name in a book and inscribing beside it every sin you have ever committed. No, your name only has one word written beside it, “Forgiven” and it is written in crimson. You’ve just got to get happy about that. You are forgiven.
Just one side point. I like that God takes His own advice. He has told us not to hold onto our anger. In fact, He said to let not the sun go down on our anger (Ephesians 4: 26). It’s good to see that He has let go of His anger too.

Forgive & Forget

Jeremiah 31: 34

I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.

The entire topic about forgiveness fills volumes. There is God forgiving us and us forgiving others. However, there is another aspect of this topic that is interesting. Let’s call it forgive and forget. Is it truly forgiveness if we retain the memory of the transgression? Do we forgive someone only to later resurrect that offense in times of anger or self-victimization?

God not only forgives our sins but He puts them behind Him, literally. Isaiah 38: 17 says that he casts our sins behind His back. They are behind Him where He can no longer see them. He isn’t holding onto our sin, mistakes, misdeeds, errors or even plain stupidness. The God’s Word translation of today’s verse reads, “I will forgive their wickedness and I will no longer hold their sins against them.” To God, forgiveness means that He has erased it and put it out of His mind. Whew! That is what I call “Good News.”

Now with people, it can be a different thing. We like to retain the sin of others. “Forget my sin, Father, but I will never forget what that person did to me.” We even retain the sins of people who do not directly affect us. There is no better example of this than David. We are first introduced to David in 1st Samuel. He was a shepherd boy who the great prophet, Samuel, anointed to be king. After his calling and anointing, though, he returned to tending sheep, which is so often the case. The next big thing we hear of David is of him slaying the giant, Goliath. David eventually went on to live in the palace of King Saul and served him faithfully. He became a mighty warrior but in his madness, Saul chased him off. Eventually though, David does become the king of Israel. In fact, The Complete Book of Who’s Who in the Bible by Philip Comfort and Walter A. Elwell, says that he was Israel’s most important king. But the great king fell. He lusted after Bathsheba, contrived to have her husband killed, and then took her for himself. Later he repented, God forgave him and his life prospered. We wrote most of the Psalms and through the Psalms we get the most clear picture of a close relationship, a true loving connection between a person and God.

I am always amazed when out of all of the Psalms, 1st Samuel, 2nd Samuel, 1st Chronicles, and the slaying of Goliath the one thing people choose to bring up about David is that he sinned. Really? Jesus made it quite evident that we have all sinned when he said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone” (John 8: 7). Paul just came right out and said it in Romans 3: 23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But then Paul, knowing God and His forgiveness, went on to write, “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (v. 24). In other words, although we have all sinned and as such fall short of the glory of God, God, by His grace, extends mercy and forgiveness to us as a free gift. We haven’t earned forgiveness. We don’t deserve it but that is what grace is, a free, undeserved gift. Yea!

Likewise, it was God’s grace that forgave David. Psalm 51 is a clear picture of a contrite and repentant heart. David knew that he sinned against God and even against himself but he also knew God’s loving-kindness better than any human that had walked the earth. He believed in the kindness of God and he repented. Do you know what God had to say about David? The bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13: 14). God’s opinion of David isn’t of David as a sinner but as a beloved child. He loved that, although David messed up, he sought God’s heart.

What does it say about us if our recollection of David is of his sin with Bathsheba? How many sins have we committed? In fact, Jesus told us not to judge (Matthew 7: 1) and yet we sit in judgment of David as if we are any better. That is sin. If God has forgiven David, why do we insist on holding on to his sin? If God remembers his sin no more, why do we post it on our bulletin boards? Is this an attempt to make us feel better about our sin and inadequacies? I am thankful God forgave David. I praise God that He has put David’s sin behind Him because I need that same grace. I want Yahweh to forget all the times that I have messed up too.

Jesus died for my sin and yours. The grace that was big enough to pardon David is more than able to cleanse us of our iniquity. The blood of Jesus is more potent than any sin or any sinner. Whoever puts themselves under the blood is cleansed, praise God, so we must ask ourselves what relationship we are to have with another person’s sin. Secondly, Father God chooses to forgive your sin (even your sin of judgment) and remember it no more. So, why should you retain the memory of it along with all of the accompanying emotions if God has put it behind him?

I encourage you to take your sin to the loving Father and lay it at His feet. Speak with Him with an open and contrite heart. When, however, you leave the throne room, leave that sin there along with the memory of it. Bury your sin and stop digging it up. Dad doesn’t want to be reminded of it. He has put it behind him. Now, can you?

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