“How to Forgive When You’re Not Feeling It” April 23

 

forgiveness

We’ve all been there. We know God says we should forgive, but we’re just not feeling it! “How to Forgive?” We’re not even sure we want to!

“After all … it’s not the first time!”

“If I forgive he’ll think it’s OK to do it again.”

“What she said really hurt! It’s time someone gave her a some of her own medicine!”

“I’ll forgive, but I’m not going to forget!”

“I’m just not ready to forgive.”

“I don’t know how to forgive when I’m not feeling it!”

Is it necessary to feel like forgiving in order to forgive someone? Wouldn’t it be hypocritical to say we forgive when we don’t mean it?

What are the 3 promises of forgiveness and how can they help us forgive?

 

Today’s Readings:
Judges 11 & 12
Psalm 50.7-15
Proverbs 14.28
Luke 17.1-19

 

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How to Forgive When You Aren’t Feeling It

Even the disciples struggled with this idea. Look at their conversation with Jesus in verses 3-5:

“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

“Increase our faith.” My paraphrase, “You’ve got to be kidding! Even if someone sins against me over and over in the same day and comes back saying, ‘I repent,’ I must forgive him?”

“Increase our faith.” Basically the disciples were saying, “That’s too hard. You’re going to have to give us some supernatural faith if we’re expected to do that!”

Faith is not the problem

So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Then he went on to tell them a parable about a slave and his master.

And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 

Jesus ended the parable by saying:

10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

Jesus had not changed the subject; He was still talking about forgiveness. Faith is not the problem when we refuse to forgive, obedience is! If Jesus is truly our Lord and we His servants, we should willingly obey Him even when it is challenging or seems unfair to us. And when we step out in faith, He provides the strength and ability.

It’s important to remember that biblical forgiveness is not about feelings. Sometimes we won’t feel like forgiving. The servant in the parable probably didn’t feel like serving his master when he was hot and tired and hungry himself, but he did it as an act of obedience. So too, we are to forgive as an act of obedience, as an act of our will.

The three promises of forgiveness

So how, specifically, do we do that?  Continue reading

April 23 “3 Promises of forgiveness & rash vows”

How can you forgive when you doubt the other person’s sincerity? How can you forgive when you don’t feel like it?

forgiveness

Today’s Readings:
Judges 11 & 12
Psalm 50.7-15
Proverbs 14.28
Luke 17.1-19

Judges 11 & 12:

A rash vow

Surely the story of Jephthah and his daughter is one of the hardest to understand. Jephthah makes a vow to the Lord, “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering” (vvs. 30-31). Verses 34-35:

34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it.”

His daughter’s response is quite amazing. Verses 36-37:

36 So she said to him, “My father, if you have given your word to the Lord, do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, because the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the people of Ammon.” 37 Then she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: let me alone for two months, that I may go and wander on the mountains and bewail my virginity, my friends and I.”

We can’t be sure what this “sacrifice” actually was. One possibility is that her father actually sacrificed her. The other is that she became a perpetual virgin. Whatever it was, as John MacArthur said, “Jephthah made a rash vow to the Lord for which his daughter had to pay the primary consequence.”

A daughter’s faith & trust

How could God use Jephthah after he made such a rash and foolish vow? How could He use Sampson with his weakness for women or Gideon who repeatedly tested Him before he would obey?

If we look honestly at our own lives we would have to wonder the same. It’s not a testimony to the “goodness or wickedness” of those He uses, but a testimony to the mercy of God.

And I believe God reserved a special place in heaven for Jephthah’s daughter. What a great reward she must have received for her submissive heart and respect for her father in spite of his shortcomings.

It reminds me of the men and women who were martyred for their faith during the Reformation where women handed over their children to family members and willingly walked to the stake to be burned rather than forsake their faith. However, misguided Jephthah’s vow, his daughter showed great faith and trust in God. Continue reading