Posts Tagged 'Forgiveness'

Forgiveness and Interacting with Family (and Friends)

Forgiveness and Interacting with Family (and Friends)


To have peace and forgiveness with family members, follow these tips:

1. Pray for protection over the family member and the event.

2. Fortify your spiritual armor –read your bible, especially

Matthew 18:2-35.

3. Choose to forgive them and to move forward spiritually. They don’t know, or they may have forgotten, that you are a chosen one of the most-high God.

4. Relax and remember that Jesus is Lord and he has given you this family for a purpose, including for you to encourage and love.

5. Limit your time with your family members who divert your attention from pleasing God. It’s better to have a small amount of quality time with them rather than a large amount of time where there is plenty of time to be tempted to act unlovely!

Read below for the entire post.

Our family and friends can often be the most challenging piece in our walk of faith and forgiveness. Some of this stems from the tendency for family members to be brutally honest with each other. I’m not quite sure where this comes from — apparently it’s like some unwritten rule that family is obliged to point out every flaw and lack of ability in their relatives. That sets everyone up for unforgiveness that can last a lifetime. If you’re not careful, time with family members can become a chore, an obligation that only adds stress to your life and takes away from your focus on God.

Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. I believe that our family should be the MOST loving, supportive, and encouraging corner of our lives. You know that saying, “blood is thicker than water,” which essentially means that when times are bad your family will be with you no matter what? Your relationship with your family can be like this, but you may have to do a bit of work in both the natural and supernatural to make it so.

Have you ever wondered how you got placed in your family? Given some of our experiences, many of us may feel that we got switched at birth! Our family members may actually be incredibly different from us physically, emotionally and spiritually, leading us to ask, “How in the world did I get here?” “Who are these people?” I have a milkman joke I could use here, but there aren’t too many milkmen left so it probably wouldn’t make sense. In any event, what should you do when you feel taxed and out of place?

Well, you should start by assuring yourself that everything — including your family placement — is for God’s divine purpose. As different as you may feel from the rest of your family, it’s your family that makes you special and thus uniquely qualified to serve God in your own individual way. Do you have a sister who drives you crazy? She probably provided you with life experiences that you can use in your own ministry. Do your parents seem like they came from Mars? Growing up among these Martians gave you the knowledge to act as God’s servant with other different people. So thank God for the blessing of your particular family, no matter how much of an outsider you think you are.

Even if they are a blessing to you, your family members still may occasionally push certain buttons in you, setting you on the path of acting unlovely. Remember that you have a choice to act or react, so choose to act! Here are a few helpful tips to help you keep your peace and to work through forgiveness with them.

1. Pray for peace over your entire family and supernatural covering over where they live. Ask God to protect you from the enemy’s fiery darts that may be launched against you through your own family members. Pray for extra protection of the Lord on any particular family members that like to pick on you or provoke you, and demand that Satan and his demons not talk to you or even come near you at any gathering where you might be with family.

2. Fortify your spiritual armor. Ask the Lord to strengthen you and give you His peace. Ask for Godly wisdom in your family interactions. Ask for God’s truth and light to be shown in your interactions so that you can operate with His love. Spend a little extra time with God before you go to any outing where you will be with family.

3. Forgive their un-loveliness for they do not know what they are doing or who they are messing with! You are children of the most high God, and their bad behavior likely comes from Satan, but you can’t expect them to know that because they may not be where you are spiritually. Make sure that you spend some time in the word reflecting on a few key passages, such as Matthew 18:21-35 about forgiveness and the wicked servant. Ask the Lord to help you forgive them. You can do all things through Christ. And remember not to give up! Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Having unforgiveness from some prior event will likely cloud your ability to deal with family in the present, so work on forgiving them for prior wrongs. Try to look at things from a different aspect – even from the aspect that you are moving ahead spiritually and have a duty to mirror God in your actions toward difficult people. Take a second and try to see each member of your family the way God sees them. The same God who created and loves you also created and loves them. God forgives, so we should too.

4. Keep rested, relaxed, and prepared to go to your “happy place” when challenged! Take a deep breath, and by that I mean to breathe in the Holy Spirit’s calming peace! Have you watched the movie “Anger Management?” In that movie Jack Nicholson uses the word “goosefraba” to help his patient get out of anger mode and back to a calm demeanor. Well, I like to use “JIL” – Jesus Is Lord! Whenever I get ruffled, I take a JIL pill. Remember who’s in control – Jesus! Let Jesus help you handle the situation with a smile and a Godly countenance.

5. Give yourself permission to limit the amount of time with your family, and especially those family members who push your buttons. It’s far better for you to leave some event early (or not even attend at all) than to stick it out and leave scars from hurtful words or actions. You may have noticed that when families get together the siblings often revert to how they behaved as children. Because of this, one of my friends stopped going home at Christmas because that was always a hurtful, difficult time with her family. Her family was upset at first, but now she spends time with individual groups of the family and is re-building new, adult relationships with her siblings. She’s now able to be part of the solution in the healing in their lives rather than contributing to the problem. And guess what? She now has incredible peace, joy and FUN in her family interactions!


Forgiveness and the Benefits

Forgiveness and the Benefits of Forgiving

The Oxford Dictionary defines to “forgive” as to no longer feel angry about or wish to punish another for an offense, flaw, or mistake.

The world (and, probably predictably, Satanic literature) teaches us to do unto others not as you would have them do unto you, but as they actually do to you. Thus, if a person treats you with kindness, the world would say to go ahead and treat them kindly.  But if a person treats you wrong, then exact your vengeance!  Don’t get mad, get even! Obviously, this thinking is clearly contrary to what God wants for his children. Like many principles, biblical teaching on forgiveness sets the world on its head.  As you may recall, the Bible teaches us in Matthew 7:12 what is known everywhere as the Golden Rule:

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Now if God in the flesh tells me that something sums up all of the collected writings of His word until that time, I think I’d certainly pay attention.  It’s like a teacher telling you what’s going to be on the test!  It’s a rule based on love and empathy, and it’s really pretty simple.  All it requires is for us to think about how we’d like to be treated in any particular situation, and then to treat others the same way.  There’s no exception for those who treat us badly or would want to wish ill will on us.  There’s no gray area.  It’s pretty straightforward – do to/for others what you would want them to do to/for you. And that includes forgiveness.  You would want people to forgive you, and so you should forgive them, too.  Indeed, the Bible clearly states, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Col. 3-13.

Mary Fairchild writes that “forgiveness is a choice we make through a decision of our will, motivated by obedience to God and his command to forgive.” So it’s not always easy.  But like all matters of obedience to God’s commands, forgiving others leads to spiritual benefits and blessings.  Obedience pleases the Lord, and the Lord promises blessings on those who please Him, so remember this fundamental point: the act of forgiveness is NOT about the person who has hurt us; rather, it’s about OUR obedience to God.

So the act of forgiveness is primarily about remembering how we’ve been forgiven and treated by our Lord.  We have been fully forgiven, with nothing we can do or could have done on our own to give us righteousness before God.  Only the forgiving blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross could bring salvation.  We’re freed from our sin and forgiven by Jesus’ actions, and for that reason we have a duty to forgive others.  Remember that people who hurt us have no idea who they’re dealing with.  We are royalty – heirs to the kingdom of God – forgiven and righteous before God – personal temples of the Holy Spirit!  Are we perfect?  No.  Do we hurt others, sometimes?  Yes.  Do we desire to be forgiven by others and our God?  Absolutely!  Is forgiving easy?  No, but we have the three best tools available to handle this sometimes difficult task: (1) the promises of the Father; (2) the death and resurrection of Jesus; and (3) the Holy Spirit within us!  When we admit that we’re unable to forgive on our own, we can allow God to work in us to accomplish true forgiveness and reap the benefits of our obedience, including a rich and abundant life as well as eternal life with God after our deaths.

God also commands us not to take revenge for that’s not our job or responsibility. Romans 12:19 states:

“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

You might not realize it, but this scripture, along with the Golden Rule, above, is crucial to walking in forgiveness.  When we treat others kindly and let God work His justice to those that hurt us, life gets much, much easier.  We don’t need to worry about getting even and to waste our time and effort plotting against our offender.  The literal devil is in the details however, so I’ve found that it’s good to run real-life scenarios in my head to see how this all plays out. For example, if my boss says something hurtful to me, I could easily feel angry and try to do something to show his/her mean spirited nature to others.  Or . . . I could think about how I would feel and want to be treated in the same situation.  What if I had said the same thing?  Would I even know that I hurt someone’s feelings?  Then I would pray for my boss, forgiving him before God (but maybe also asking for truth and light to help my boss see what he has done through the guidance of the Holy Spirit), and then I let God sort it all out after that.

In addition to the numerous blessings you will enjoy from simply obeying God’s commands (search for “blessings for obeying God’s Word” on your computer for a sampling), forgiving others also positions you to lead healthy and peaceful lives.

Healthy Lives

When our attention is focused on a hurtful situation, we aren’t able to keep our focus on the Lord.  Remember that our God is a jealous God and He wants our full attention on Him.  When we are focused on other things, like anger, we aren’t in a position to see and receive the blessings He has ready for us, including good health.  Refusing to forgive someone is a sin that consumes emotion, attention, and healthy energy.

In the natural, there are many studies showing that stress and negative emotions contribute to illnesses in our bodies, and a refusal to forgive creates a very stressful negative energy.  There are very few things in life that we can control, but we can at least control our actions that affect the health of our earthly and spiritual bodies.  Controlling our un-forgiveness is one of those things.  We have a choice of whether or not to forgive someone.  We can choose to keep the hurt and un-forgiveness in our body, or we can choose to forgive and let God sort out the rest.

I firmly believe that holding un-forgiveness toward someone really does most of its damage to the person who can’t forgive, no matter how many ways that person can think of “getting even.”  Often, the one who slights you has no clue, and sitting around thinking about it all the time is slowly eating away at your potential for an abundant life. It’s like drinking a poison and expecting somebody else to die – harboring un-forgiveness is basically choosing death.  Don’t do it!  CHOOSE LIFE!  Ask God to help you work through your un-forgiveness!  Step into health and the fullness of the blessings that God has ready for you!

Peaceful Lives

Peace is one blessing that’s always available to us.  In fact, did you know that we could have peace in every situation at every moment of every day?  In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  Notice that he gives us HIS peace, not just generic peace or any other kind of peace – HIS peace!  What does this mean?  It means that we can walk in the same peace that Jesus had every day.  You might ask, “How can I do this when my life is a crazy, stressful whirlwind?”  Well, forgetting for the moment that Jesus’s life was probably a bit more stressful than any of our own, we know that we can have this peace by following the instructions in the Bible, including the instruction to forgive others.  We may not have peace at the moment of the hurtful act (or even immediately after), but we can CHOOSE to have peace in our healing process by simply choosing to forgive.

Jesus also said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  Most people look at this blessing as one reserved for people who make peace among other folks.  But I think it also applies to making peace in your own mind by forgiving others and by asking God to sort it all out later.  Part of being a peacemaker is to let go of the things that taint relationships, especially those caused by un-forgiveness.

In sum, walking in forgiveness involves obedience to God’s command that we treat others as we would have them treat us, and that we leave vengeance up to our Heavenly Father.  We forgive others because God specifically commands us to, and because doing so shows God (and others) our love for Him and His creation. We obey because doing God’s will bring us closer to Him. And from this obedience flow the benefits and blessings promised in the Bible, including healthy and peaceful lives

Next we will discuss the woundedness and how to recognize unforgiveness within our hearts.

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