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Forgiveness

We can all make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes mean we need to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness can be hard to give but only when we don't humble ourselves to our own sin and understand and love those around us.

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What does it mean to have the character trait of Forgiveness?

It is often said that forgiveness is for yourself and not for other people. Forgiveness is defined as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you. Forgiveness can be given regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. It’s also important to note that forgiveness isn’t:

 

  • Glossing over or denying the seriousness of an offense against you.

  • Forgetting.

  • Condoning or excusing offenses.

  • An obligation to reconcile with the person who harmed you.

  • Releasing the offender from legal accountability.

Forgiveness is merely acknowledging words, behaviours and or events that have harmed you and choosing to move past the feelings of anger, resentment, and upset. Letting go can sometimes be hard, but through letting go we can grab hold of something else that is more beneficial to our lives: peace and contentment.

 

Can you think of a time you asked someone for forgiveness?

 

It can be a humbling experience to ask for forgiveness, there is a process we have to go through to be ready to ask for forgiveness.


The process of having the courage and being humble to apologize and ask for forgiveness

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Admit you have done wrong. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

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Pray for guidance and the right words

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Apologize and ask for forgiveness without expecting anything in return.

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Understand and except the outcome.

Can you think of a time someone asked you for forgiveness?

How we can forgive

Sometimes those who wrong us, do so in a way that may feel unforgivable but God's word teaches us to forgive. When someone comes to you repentant for what they have done, you must listen and be humble to your own sinful nature and how you would feel in their shoes.

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Listen to their apology.

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Take deep breaths and think on Gods word even pray to yourself to be able to forgive.

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Be humble to your own sinful nature, acknowledging that you too have made mistakes and hurt others and so would want to also be forgiven.

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Release yourself and them from the wrath that you harbor against them. Forgive, or at the very least accept the apology, and work on forgiving, with a teachable heart to the LORD.

What happens when we don't forgive?

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You can lose friends or have broken relationships.

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You might hold onto anger and resentment, making you bitter and wrathful.

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Future relationships may become hard as you hold onto old issues; you may see things in others that make you worry about your past lost relationship.

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You may end up feeling alone and unhappy in your life and relationships.

Character Trait

What God's word says about forgiveness

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Love is healing

Proverbs 10:12

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Forgiveness is the loving action and can cover sin

Proverbs 10:12

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We are to always forgive

Matthew 18:21-22

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Pray for healing for others faults

James 5:16

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Ephesians 4:32

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

 

What It Means

In this verse Paul tells us to be kind to one another but he means more than being kind, he's calling us to have compassion for other believers in the congregation. He goes on to say we are to be tenderhearted which prompts us to have a good heart attitude, to not be harsh, but be compassionate.

Finally Paul commands us to forgive one another, he explains that the forgiveness believers receive is a humble reminder of why we must also forgive the sins of others, who are we, as fellow sinners to judge other sinners harshly. Christ died for our sins to be forgiven.

 

Let's look at a story in the Bible

Jesus and the Sinful Woman

Found in Luke 7:36-50

The story teaches us that God is forgiving and loves us all, even those who sin. We learn that the heavens rejoice for every sinner saved and that a saved sinner is cause for even more celebration than a righteous man, this is because the sinner has to forgive themselves and believe in God's forgiveness. When we, as sinners are forgiven, we are grateful and we feel much love for our God. Jesus' parable of the man who forgave debts tells us that those who are forgiven larger debts, like the sinner, are more loving and grateful to those who forgive, and those who have less debt, or act righteously, are less grateful and loving toward those who forgive them.

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