"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger forever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Like as a Father pities His children, so the LORD pities them that fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:8-14
The core reason for Jesus in the lives of humanity is forgiveness; and although as Christians, we call it salvation, it is still really forgiveness. Most people do not realize just how powerful it is in the lives of humanity, and how definitive it is in the lives of Christians. Yet, once we understand the power it offers, it literally places active miracles in our lives. It changes everything. It changes how we love each other; and, it expands our compassion to every living being on earth. It teaches us who we are, and just how close to God we really can become. It tells us where our hearts are, and whether we have learned the true teachings of God. It is not doctrine, it is not dogma. It is Jesus Christ and whether we have learned the lessons of what it really means to be a Christian. So today, I want to reach out to our audience for us to try an exercise. I am certain that there are readers who are saying to themselves, “I don’t have anyone that I need to forgive for anything! –My heart is pure and cleansed of this issue.” Maybe that’s true. But, unless you deeply understand this spiritual concept and practice it daily, today’s message is still for you.
Every person walking the earth has someone that they have not forgiven for one issue or another. For some of us, this is a huge issue; for others, it is just beginning to manifest. Since unforgiveness is a spiritual matter, it can enter your life without your conscious knowledge. Like most people, you may simply consider it anger; or, just some incident that occurred which simply made you mad or disgusted. It could be a person who harmed you so deeply, all you could do was cry. Even now, while you are reading, you are thinking about this person or this incident. It could be the death of a loved one, or the betrayal of someone you loved deeply. It could be words spoken so wickedly by someone, it carved a deep scar in your spirit. Unforgiveness is so powerful it can start with those who gave you life; or, those you related to as your Mother and Father. It can be your grandparents, adopted parents, or your foster family. It can be someone from grade school, middle school, or High school. It can be your first crush; or, the first person who broke your heart. It can be your wife or your husband, brother or sister; or, it can be someone who hurt you yesterday. Unbeknown to you, this thing has altered your life in one way or another. Even if you do not fully understand it now, it has changed you and every aspect of the personal power God has granted to you. So, instead of the usual discussion regarding a topic, I would like for us to do an exercise. Let’s call it, An Exercise in Forgiveness.
Take out a blank sheet of paper, and make a list of every person who has ever done something bad to you. It doesn’t matter if it is something harmful, disrespectful, or neglectful. Here are the definitions. –Harmful is, if someone physically hurt you; disrespectful is, if someone called you something outside your name, spat at you, or literally made you feel like trash; and, neglectful is, if someone left you, abandoned you, or even died. I added death to the list, because I now understand that when someone dies and we are not prepared, we blame God. If this is you, you will need to forgive God for taking them home. Again, if someone in your life has been harmful, disrespectful, or neglectful; list them on your paper. –As long as you feel as if you can’t stand them, don’t want to see them, or ever speak to them in this life, those are the ones I want you to list. Why? Because, they have a great deal of relevance in your life; and, although you do not know it, there is a roomful of blessings God has planned for you; yet, you cannot access, because your unforgiveness is blocking it.
When you forgive someone it releases your spirit’s ability to access the spiritual dimension of God. It opens a spiritual parallel between you and The Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” It is the reason that He placed forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer. Just imagine for a moment, Jesus could have placed any words that we needed into the Lord’s Prayer, yet, he placed our forgiveness as the basis whether He would forgive us for the sins committed against Him. It’s true, God forgives our sins based on our acceptance of Jesus Christ; however, just like there is a higher level of Spiritual access that we gain when as Christians, we connect to The Holy Spirit. There is a higher supernatural level that we achieve when we forgive those who have hurt us in some way. Forgiveness of others literally teaches us spiritual empathy in direct parallel with God. This is not an intellectual exercise. This is a spiritual exercise that, if it becomes a practice, will elevate our spiritual connection to God. Jesus taught us this in many stories, including: the parable of the Prodigal Son, the story of Peter denying Him, and the parable of the man who was forgiven 10,000 talents, yet could not forgive the man who owed him 100 pence. (Luke 15:11-32, John 18:15-27, Matthew 18:23-35)
Forgiveness, it is the basis of every healing miracle Jesus enacted in the life of those who believed. It is the basis for healing in the body, mind, and Spirit. It is the reason for every sacrificial lamb that was offered up to God for 42 generations prior to Jesus. And, it is the basis for Jesus, the Final Sacrificial Lamb of God. It is the reason we are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, and it is the very reason we became Christians. –Forgiveness.
If you are a man or woman, teenager or child, and you need to forgive, take the sheet of paper with all those names on it, and one by one, say each name on your list out loud. Then, after every name, say these words out loud, “I forgive you.” –Say it until you really, really mean it. –Start today, repeat tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day after that, until it is no longer an issue. Then pray for yourself. Remember, all words have life. They can be used to heal or to destroy; to forgive or to condemn; to bless or to curse. Somehow they have a way of boomeranging, so choose them wisely, and make yours count! L.
Study Reference: Psalm 103:8-14, Luke 15:11-32, John 18:15-27, Matthew 18:23-35
From: “An Exercise in Forgiveness.” In The Master’s Hands: 365 Daily Devotions for Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell