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The Motivation of Forgiveness

Good morning everyone!

After our series on The Lord's Prayer,
I was deeply moved how many of you approached me on the subject of FORGIVENESS..
It seems that many of you are struggling with the issue of forgiveness..

So I thought I would attempt to do another message about Forgiveness.

As you know, I normally begin with a story or some humor before I begin..
But forgiveness, is a pretty serious topic, especially when our relationships
are affected by it.

So, if it's okay with all of you, I'll get right to the matter at hand...

It seems like many of you, want to forgive, but can't quite seem to take that step..
Am I right?

I'm not going to ask anyone to raise their hands here..

"Forgiveness is the work of God in us.”

What is your motive for forgiveness?
It is merely restitution for the loss or restoration of the person?

Majorie J. Thompson, wrote in The Way of Forgiveness:
“Forgiveness is taking responsibility from my side to release the offender from the alienating effect of the offense on our relationship.” 

When Jesus Christ begins to stitch together the fabric of our wounds together, the bleeding stops and peace is restored.

THE MOTIVATION OF FORGIVENESS

In light of our debt owed to God, we ought to forgive one another and forgive others.

" I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay—not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides. " Philemon 19

THE MOTIVATION OF BLESSING

"Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord."
Philemon 20

The word “my” in verse 20, is emphatic in the Greek. It is as if Paul were saying,  
“It is my turn to be refreshed by you.”
Paul had already told Philemon of the refreshment he had been to others, in verse 7.
Paul wanted to receive a blessing of joy, which would be derived from Philemon forgiving Onesimus.

THE MOTIVATION OF OBEDIENCE

While obligation may be the point of our obedience, but it ought to be love. We love God because through Christ, He has forgiven us ... therefore let us love in forgiveness and become obedient in it.
“Forgiveness is one of the eminent signs of the vitality of the Holy Spirit."

"Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say." - Philemon 21

Our forgiving others is rooted in God's forgiveness of us. Paul says "I am confident you will forgive out of your desire to obey."

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do."
Colossians 3:12-13

THE MOTIVATION OF ACCOUNTABILITY

In this day and age, most do not like accountability – we like the free will of doing what we want and when we want. But in the kingdom of God there is always accountability.

Sometimes, when we forgive, our situation may remain the same; but we are different.  
Forgiveness releases us from carrying around the burden of resentment and anger.
When you are offended or disappointed by others and allow the hurt to manifest in your heart, bitterness and resentment will take root.

"But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you." - Philemon 22

"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." - Hebrews 13:17

"So then each of us shall give account of himself to God" - Romans 14:12.

“Only a free person can live with an uneven score.” – Lewis B. Smedes

THE MOTIVATION OF FELLOWSHIP

Paul reminds Philemon in a round about way that he, like Paul, is a part of a greater fellowship – the Church.
The Christian life is not lived in a vacuum. Believers do not act alone, independent of the fellowship.

"Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers." - Philemon 24-24

4 Valuable Truths of Fellowship

1. We are not alone – we are a part of one another.
2. We cannot act independently of each other.
3. We are responsible to each other to help create the atmosphere of forgiveness.
4. Fellowship with God and His family moves us to forgive.

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen." - Philemon 25

There are many barriers that seem come between people today, race, social status, sex, personality differences – but Christ can break down these barriers!

God’s grace is how He forgives us. Grace is the fertile ground from which forgiveness grows out of. Grace motivates us to forgive. Grace is dispensed in forgiveness.

Jesus Christ changed Onesimus’ relationship with Philemon from slave to brother. In the same manner, Christ can transform our most hopeless relationships into deep loving friendships.

Is there a relationship you need Jesus Christ to change? 
Do you need Him to breakdown the barriers of unforgiveness?

We don't aim to become bitter people, but life happens. Resentment is the byproduct of bitterness and unchecked anger in our relationships, most often in marriage.

Colossians 3:8 says, "But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth."

There are 4 Significant Signs of Resentment in Relationships

1. Anger: Anger becomes dangerous when we find our identity in the people, purposes and possessions we are so passionate about. The inability to let go of anger makes us grumpy and impatient with other people.
2. Un-forgiveness: Forgiveness should be a given for Christians because we have been forgiven. It’s a continual process, and does not always restore the trust required for reconciliation.“Have I really forgiven someone if I keep remembering their wrong?” Remembering it, and feeling angry again, is normal. What we do with it is everything.
3. Ungratefulness: The Bible advises us to take captive every thought 2 Corinthians 10:5. When we are in the presence of those that hurt us, we want them to feel bad! Ungratefulness causes us to line up our lives in contrast to the injustice we feel, a pitfall to pride.
4. Lack of Empathy: We cannot let comparison steal our ability to see the everyday struggles behind the smiles.“Once we have been wronged, we may not intentionally look for opportunities to return the wrongs, but we often stop looking for opportunities to bless."

Here are 4 Signs that Bitterness is affecting Your Life
1. Hopelessness: What did biblical figures do to combat the onset of bitterness? They wrestled with God in prayer and did not lose faith in His promises or character. Scripture advises, “Pray about everything.” Philippians 4:6
2. Discord: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy...” Hebrews 12:14-15 The Hebrew word for bitterness means a bitter root, and so producing a bitter fruit. When we don’t take our hurts to God, bitterness has defensive and suspicious babies.
3. Gossip: "The spreading of misinformation or uncertain facts about another person indicates that a root of bitterness may be slowly taking over one's heart." -Ligonier Ministeries
4. Double Standards: Selfishness causes us to lose sight of the value of those God has placed in our lives to comfort, encourage, and love us. “In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.” -C.S.Lewis

Here are 7 Helpful Steps to Overcome Resentment and Let Go of Bitterness:
Step 1: Thanksgiving
Restore thanksgiving by making a gratitude list or memorizing a verse to reset the tone.
Not quarrelsome, but kind. Not irritated, but patient …even when wronged. Not angry, but gentle.
Define the problem, face it, Acknowledge it then replace it.
We do this with the guidance of God’s truth, and He grows us through the process.
Step 2: Become Better, not Bitter
The wisdom of growing in God’s truth allows us to form healthy boundaries for bitterness. It gives us a godly perspective to see things in a new, fresh way, allowing us to move forward. Embrace empathy over blame. Relational challenges and personal tragedies are by-products of a fallen world. God’s love has the power to carry us through every hurdle we face.
Step 3: Stop Worry in its Tracks
"Why me" is our normal gut reaction to suffering and injustice, but feeding bitterness only multiplies the pain.Satan knows that bitterness is very effective with followers of Christ, and he will do what he can to keep that cycle going in our lives …We will always have the power of choice! Our offenders do not spend as much time thinking about how they hurt us, as we do. When we fixate on the problem, it begins causing even more problems. Instead of releasing it to God and trusting His response... It takes begins to take over our lives.
Step 4: Seek The Truth
Healthy relationships are rooted in honesty. A daily pursuit of God’s Truth keeps us grounded in and better able to pursue it. The daily pursuit of God keeps bitterness and resentment at bay. Though it can often be uncomfortable to communicate with our offenders, praying in and through necessary conversations can bring healing and peace. Even if our problems are not resolved, in the end, our effort is worth it.
Step 5: Confession 
We are all born into sin, and therefore, prone to wander.When God freed His people from the Egyptians, they still found plenty to complain about. When Peter saw the soldiers coming to take Jesus away, he cut off an ear! Our humanity defaults to reactionary status. The only way to freedom from bitterness is by God’s forgiveness.


Jesus came to clear the slate, despite our sinful nature. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 Sometimes, a look in the mirror unlocks the bitterness and resentment we harbor. Maybe what we went through wasn’t our fault, but our reaction bids confession.

Step 6: Stop Trying To Change Others

 Many of us go through life with easily offended, self-consumed attitudes, pitted against each other even when no-one was intentionally trying to cause pain. We often feel sinned against when the words or the behavior had no sinful intentions behind them at all,perhaps it comes from low self-esteem. Often, when we try to forgive such a behavior, it's offensive because the other person doesn’t even realize that she or he did sin against us.

Christ calls us to put our dukes down, and instead seek love and understanding.“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5 No one argues anyone to Christ, and only God is capable of changing hearts. 

There’s a reason God tells us to pray for our enemies, not attempt to change them. To keep us from wallowing in our pain longer than we linger in His presence!

Step 7: Make Forgiveness a Habit

Forgiveness may not restore trust to a broken relationship, but it allows us to be free from bitterness and resentment. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable offenses of others, because God has forgiven the inexcusable offenses in you.

"But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6:15

With healthy boundaries to avoid repetitive hurts, we can allow our hurts to heal through prayer and forgiveness.

Forgiveness has proven to be effective in treating the ailments of anxiety and depression . . . even physical symptoms!

In closing...
Forgiveness is the single best antidote for bitterness and resentment!

Because hurt only tempts us to comply with a variety of other  unreasonable emotions.

And now

May the Lord bless you and keep you; 
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen

Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved
Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries

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