But what about those questions…?


Good morning,

If you’ve just joined us, you might not know that we’ve been talking forgiveness… and what began as a couple of questions after a post called, “There’s just something about canceled debt”, has now become a series of blog posts on the subject. I’ve been blessed with the company of another blogger on this series. Donna Lowe graciously shared her biblical, Godly perspective in, “Understanding Forgiveness”, and she will be sharing two more blogs in the next couple of weeks. I dug into the meaning of the words in, “Forgiveness defined“.

So where are we at this point? Where are you?

I’m going back to the original questions of Suzan, who said,

“The debt of guilt! Now there’s a concept… I have to say guilt can really rule my life at times. I think more often than not guilt stems from our inability to forgive ourselves rather than someone else. I think for many people it’s the hardest forgiveness to achieve. Are there any stories in the bible that address this?

So far we’ve looked at stories in the Bible that talk about forgiveness… God’s forgiveness that is available to each of us. Donna looked at the story of David, who needed God’s forgiveness BIG time! And there are take-homes for us from this story, as well as many other Bible stories about regular folk who needed God to forgive them… which he did. Over and over again. Read Donna’s post to see how David’s story applies, illustrating how God longs to be in a pure love relationship with each of us.

There are also many Bible stories about forgiving others. It’s clear that we are to forgive others as God forgives us… over and over again. We can see how often we are to forgive… HERE, why we are to forgive… HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE, when we are to forgive… HERE, who we are to forgive (love)… HERE and HERE, how we are to forgive… HERE and HERE.There are other examples as well.

What I cannot see is any Biblical stories or verses about forgiving myself or forgiving God. I’m adding ‘Forgiving God’ as it’s something that is somewhat related. Which leads me to wonder where these concepts come from? I’ve read them in books, been presented with these ideas by speakers, in conversation… but is it truth? Can it be substantiated in scripture? At this point I cannot find any reference to either concept in the Bible. If you know of something I’ve missed, please share with us. But, if it’s not there, it’s not true. That’s my foundational belief.

Let’s look at the question of forgiving God first. If I need to forgive God… then what does that say of God? I believe it says a few things;

• God needs to be forgiven by me.

• God has done something wrong.

• God is guilty.

The God that I am growing to know… the Hebrew God, the ‘I AM’ of the Bible, is a perfect, holy, awesome, all-powerful, all-knowing, Creator God. He does not need anything from me, certainly not my forgiveness. God does not make any mistakes. God therefore cannot be guilty of any offense as he cannot do anything wrong.  That would go against his character… the core of who he is.

So, my need to forgive God is possibly similar to my need to ask forgiveness or offer forgiveness to others sometimes. It makes me feel better, gets things out in the open, let’s me vent, puts my burden partially back on them. It’s self-focused, rather than God-focused. It relieves me of my responsibility in the thing. I do not believe it to be necessary, nor is it based on the truth. Although I have practiced this in the past, I now believe I was wrong… arrogant in my thinking. I should not forgive God. Nothing is his fault.

What about forgiving myself? I can find no Bible stories that support this idea either. Yet, might it still be needed? That’s a little more complicated, I think. In my opinion, if I,

a) take responsibility for my actions,

b) live through the consequences of them,

c) understand that I am in control of my choices and that what I do, or did is a result of me doing things ‘my way’,

d) asked forgiveness from the people I may have hurt because of my choices, and

e) asked for forgiveness from God for not doing things His way, (not necessarily in that order), and

if I still feel that I need to forgive myself… then I guess it might be a worthwhile exercise to do.

I’d like to believe that it might be unnecessary to do this if I have undertaken all of the above steps. You may not agree, and I know and respect that everyone’s life circumstances are varied. But, asking for, and receiving God’s forgiveness, is a supernatural experience that removes, in it’s entirety, your guilt. There is none left. If we keep a clean slate with God, asking forgiveness on a daily basis for our mistakes, our shortcomings, then we can live in a wide open place of freedom from guilt, regret, remorse. I’d like to live that way. It’s my choice to do so every day.

One more thought… it’s possible to take guilt back. It’s possible to live like you are not forgiven. We are such complicated creatures, and so we can live believing lies about ourselves and others. If you take back the guilt, you are living a lie, living the past. YOU HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN ONCE AND FOR ALL. Let it go. Believe in God’s truth of having been forgiven. Human forgiveness is imperfect. God’s forgiveness is completely perfect. Read and re-read scripture verses that press this truth into your heart. Daily, hourly if you have to. That is the only way to fight against the lies.

Here are some verses, among many, that will help you;

1 John 2:12 (NIV)

12I remind you, my dear children: Your sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name.

Ephesians 1:7(NIV)

7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Romans 10:9 (The Message)

It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—”Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!”

John 3:16-18 (The Message)

16-18“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to join in our conversation. If you have any comments, please don’t hesitate to add your two cents.

Living and learning,

Lesley-Anne

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Understanding Forgiveness


For those of you just joining us, we are looking at the subject of forgiveness with my friend and fellow blogger Donna Lowe. I introduced you to Donna in my recent interview with her.

Today, Donna is looking at one Bible story that has forgiveness written all over it. It’s the story of David, a man who was called, ‘A man after God’s own heart’, yet David needed God’s forgiveness in his life too.  David was guilty of some pretty big and ugly stuff, including adultery and murder! So, David’s story can help us to see that God is able and willing to forgive us of the big and little stuff, if we come to him in the right attitude and motivation of heart and spirit, like David did.

I trust that as you read today’s blog you will come to a fresh or a renewed understanding of God’s forgiveness, available to you and for you.

Understanding Forgiveness – Part One

David – A symbol of God’s abundant Pardon.

We all need forgiveness.  We all have people we need to exonerate.  Though we know we should, and maybe we even know why, most of us do not know “how” to forgive.  Sadly, too many people are living as prisoners, bound by the chains of unforgiveness.

Forgiveness is not a human inclination.  Whether giving or receiving forgiveness, we tend to reject the idea that it’s the best way.  True forgiveness is contingent upon our faith in Jesus.  Without Him, forgiveness is impossible!

As we begin to understand the amazing pardon God has made available for us, both to give and receive, it is my hope and prayer that you would experience the freedom in forgiveness and that those chains loosen

God knew it would be hard for us to understand, and because He knew we would always be looking for a “loophole,” God gave us many clear illustrations of what forgiveness really means, infact, it is the central theme of the entire Bible.  David’s story was no exception.

David was just a boy when he was hand picked by God to be the future King of Israel.  You might remember the story of David and his famous fight with the giant Goliath.  David did many wonderful things for God.  At one point God even called David,  “a man after His own heart.”  However, it is David’s fall into sin that is the focus of our attention today.

Why are we focusing on David’s sin, if there was so much that was good about him.  The short answer is because God did.  “And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.  Behold I have made him a witness to the peoples.”  Isaiah 55:3. God used David’s story as a symbol of His abundant pardon.

Here is a quick synopsis of David’s fall:

After David became King of Israel, the Israelites went to battle against the Syrians.  While his army was at war, David remained in the comfort of his palace.  At the end of a blistering hot day, David wandered out onto the roof top to enjoy the cool of the evening.  From this vantage point, David was able to see into the home of Bathsheba.  David’s gaze fell upon this beautiful woman as she was bathing.

Bathsheba was married to Uriah.  He was the loyal commander of David’s army.  Though David was also married, the temptation was more than he could resist.  While Uriah was out fighting for the nation of Israel, David sent for Bathsheba, slept with her, and she became pregnant.

Rather than owning up to his mistake, David tried to cover it up.  He sent for Uriah, and on several occasions, tried to manipulate Uriah into sleeping with Bathsheba, to alter the evidence.  Uriah, loyal to the army, refused to indulge himself while the others were still at war.  When that plan failed, David conspired and intentionally had Uriah sent to the front lines, so that he would be killed in combat.

Because God is Holy, he cannot condone sin.  The penalty for sin is death!  However, because of His amazing Grace, He had a plan for reconciliation.  Even before we knew we needed it – God prepared a way for us.  From David’s story, let’s try to grasp the principles God wants us to learn.

Does God have restrictions?

God’s forgiveness is abundant, while we have many conditions.  We will forgive some people, but not others.  We find some offenses easier to forgive, while others are just too big.  We will forgive someone once, maybe twice, but we will not be a doormat for anyone.

In Isaiah 55:8&9 God reminds us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9.  We simply must understand forgiveness from a Godly perspective!

Who Qualifies?

Isaiah 55:1a reads, “HO!  Every one who thirsts, come to the waters.”  Not long ago I heard an amazing teaching on the single word “Ho.”  The word is spoken is a loud shout, coming from the inner soul.  It is like a deep groaning that surfaces and cannot be contained.  “Ho” portrays God’s longing to get this word out to the people.  “Ho!  Every one who thirsts,” qualifies for God’s promise.  We all have a thirst.  It is the deep longing inside each of us that only God can satisfy.  Forgiveness from God, it is like water to a parched soul.

How much does it cost?

God accepts us as we are.  Because Jesus paid the price on the cross, forgiveness is free to anyone who seeks Him.  Isaiah 55:1b.  “And you who have no money come, buy and eat.  Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.”

How much is too much?

All sin is equal to God.  “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”  James 2:10.  God does not compare your sin, to mine, or mine to another’s and decide on some scale of “better or worse,” who will receive a pardon and who will not, as we do.  You and I, David the murderer, and even Billy Graham, we are all equal to one another in God’s eyes.

What is the limit?

We often limit the number of times we will forgive one another.  Imagine if God had said to David, “David, I definitely could have forgiven you, if all you had done was sneak a peak at Bathsheba while she was bathing.  Ok, maybe, just maybe, I might have been able to forgive the adultery.  Fool me once, shame on you!  Fool me twice shame on Me.  But David – three strikes and you are out!  You just had to go and murder Uriah.  You can’t expect me to forgive you now!”   God in His Grace forgave David for His sins.

Time sensitive offer.

“Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is Near.  Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “  Isaiah 55:6&7

We do not know when our lives will end, nor do we know the life span of another.  This is a decision that demands immediate attention.

Have you accepted God’s abundant pardon?  Do you have someone you need to forgive?

Seek the Lord while He may be found.  Call upon Him while He is near.

Shalom Aleichem.

~dl.