Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Spiritual Spotlight

"I am convinced that multitudes of Christians who suffer from stress, depression, discouragement, relationship problems, and all sorts of other hardships experience these things because of a refusal to forgive." 
John MacArthur

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the LORD forgave you. 
Colossians 3:13

Our pastor has been preaching on the subject of forgiveness over the last few weeks.  He began on Easter....Forgiving the Unforgivable...of course speaking of Christ dying on the cross for our sins. 

He has brought words of encouragement with each passing week.  It has been such a blessing...even when talking about how not granting forgiveness builds up bitterness in our lives.  He has spoken on how to remove the bitterness...recognize God's GRACE....refuse to carry a GRUDGE, resolve to forgive GRACIOUSLY & GENEROUSLY!! 

And he has spoken on what forgiveness means...showing MERCY to my debtor...ABSORBING the debt...and RELEASING the debtor...RESTORING the debtor

Today my pastor spoke on what it looks like when we refuse to forgive....
*It IMPAIRS our walk with God
*It REVEALS our spiritual condition
*It DENIES God's grace
*It CAUSES others to distress
*It ALLOWS the poison of bitterness to remain in me
*It KEEPS everyone in prison
*It PREVENTS genuine love {so sad}

Although one might feel that releasing it means that no one will ever think about it again, that the pain you went through, the hurt, never really existed.  But that is not what Christ has called us to do.  We are called to give it to Him....give it "up" to Him.  Christ knows our hearts, our hurts and he can hold our pain.  In some instances it is very difficult to give it "up" many times we don't feel like the "offender" deserves our forgiveness...and very often they probably don't.  But often what we fail to realize is that in giving it "up" we are finally freeing ourselves of the pain.

Once we determine that forgiveness is finally the step to take we must make four promises:
*I will no longer DWELL on this incident
*I will not BRING UP this incident again and use it against you.
*I will not TALK to others about this incidennt
*I will not allow this incident to STAND BETWEEN us or hinder our relationship

I have a friend that I wish could have been at my church to hear these incredible words of truth and encouragement.  She has suffered through a lot in her short life, but she has built up such a hard heart to those that have hurt her...she is suffering from almost all of the characteristics listed in the first paragraph.  In listening to my pastor's words, I know he has shared such wisdom.  As much as I don't want to share this lesson for fear of hurting her, I know that God is encouraging me to speak to her. 

I know the pain of not giving forgiveness....and how it built up a wall that shielded God's love from me.  I cried out to God on numerous occasions, but yet I heard nothing.  It wasn't until after 6 years of "living in the dessert" that I had that "A ha" moment.  I offered up forgiveness in my heart and my life hasn't been the same!!!  Just one small act of forgiveness BROKE down that wall, and Jesus flooded back into my life, my soul.  It was AMAZING and moving and I never want to face that wall again.  Oh how sweet is God's incredible love and grace!!

I pray that you find freedom in forgiveness.  :)        


  1. Ashley,this is the same message we discussed and prayed about at our retreat Friday and Saturday. God's message is reaching out from heaven,touching lives in such a mighty and loving way. I hope that the message continues and freedom is felt by all that you share this with. God bless you Sweet Daughter in law.

  2. Beautiful post!

    Jennifer W.