January 12, 2004
Thank You for the message at church. About forgiveness, I was thinking: I have forgiven people. Then, yesterday, I had "feelings" of frustration, resentment, even pain rise up in me, because of something that happened that caused all those old thoughts from the past to come swarming up in me. So I was worrying, maybe I haven't forgiven him (or other people who affect me this way). And then I though, no, I have forgiven them before God, but the enemy wants me to fall back into my old sinful patterns, and feel condemned, and my "earth suit" has its old habits that I have to overcome, and it has to be conformed to the holiness and likeness of Christ which constitutes the "real me," washed clean in the blood of Jesus!
And if I do listen to the enemy and start feeding on those feelings, and even speaking out on them (complaining, gossiping, put-downs) or reacting on them (behaviour), then I just have to forgive again, and seek God's forgiveness again. And I must put the past behind me, striving forward to reach the goal of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, my Lord and Saviour. (Yes, I'm reading in Philippians right now. How wonderful it is, Lord, the way You bring all things together as You take me through the journey You have laid out for me from before the foundations of the earth! Wow!)
It was helpful to hear the pastor say that even after the choice and act of forgiving, you may still feel pain, so you need healing (love from You, Father, and love and support from the church - the brethren, saints, household and family of God). And you also need renewing of your mind, learning to think of and perceive and love that person in Christ's way of love and forgiveness, instead of the way of your old earthly patterns of anger and bitterness, and even hatred and unforgiveness - basing it on remembering how God has loved and forgiven you, and who you now are in Christ.
And to top it off, pray regularly, without ceasing, for those who have hurt you, since you have not walked in their shoes and don't know what has motivated them to do what they did. Therefore you need to stop judging and ask God to do His all-knowing and all-loving and all-understanding and all-forgiving work if their life as well as in yours. You must let those feelings of anger go quickly, before they become sin and bitterness. Bring your "earth-suit" with its attitudes and feelings into line with the holiness of Christ. Choose to get rid of unforgivenesss, so that your earthly bitterness will be transformed into the love and joy that comes from walking in the Spirit of God, of Christ.
If you start to condemn others, remember there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and you are to be like Him. Help others to choose Jesus. Be compassionate. Don't gripe. Pray for them. You repent. And its likely you'll see them come to repentance and the love and healing and forgiveness and salvation of Christ, too.