What a great time of year this is. Passover. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you”. It’s a time of receiving forgiveness – and of forgiving.
As we remember what the Christ went through, we also marvel at the love of Abba to forgive all who accept His offer to reconcile Himself to a humanity that had so terribly abused His one and only. You see, the Father was actually the One who offered His Lamb to pay for our sins. Sure, the Jewish religious leaders demanded Yeshua be crucified. And Gentile Romans made sure it happened in a most horrible way. But in the end, it was all of us – all of us who have ever sinned – who caused His death. That’s me, that’s you, that’s all of us.
In this season as we come near to Passover, it’s a time to ponder deeply on the topic of forgiveness. On BEING forgiven, and … perhaps even more difficult, forgiving and releasing and being RECONCILED to all and any who have hurt us. But not just claiming to have forgiven -- but knowing so, from your heart.
Be watching this website for a full NEW sermon soon on “forgiving others as Christ forgave – from the heart.” And don't forget, Passover is the season that reminds us that He who was hurt the most by you and me, and by all of us humans – was God the Father Himself. And yet HE is the One extending His heart and his hand to you and me to be reconciled with Him. He gave us His Son – born as a beautiful little baby. But look at how we returned him! Remember? After his resurrection, Yeshua pointed to the hole in his side and the holes in his hands/wrists (the wrists were considered part of the “hand” back then). John 20:27.
Our sins caused the indescribably painful death of Yeshua our Messiah (Jesus Christ). Yes, Peter said in Acts 2:22-23 that we all killed Christ.
So if anyone could justifiably remain angry, bitter and unforgiving – and have a right to feel that way – it might be God himself. But in this season he reminds us: “When I look at you, if I see that you’re covered by the blood of the Lamb of God, I will pass over your sins.” And He means it; from His heart.
And now Abba wants his children learning to be like him: forgiving even the most “unforgivable” monsters for their sins, actions, crimes and misdeeds, especially when they repent. Don’t you just love it when people say “What he/she did is simply unforgivable”? Have you ever done something so heinous that some have said it was “unforgivable”? In fact you did. And I did. We caused an innocent young man to be tortured and killed on the cross by our sins. Your sins. My sins. And that young man – while hanging on the cross – asked his Daddy – “Abba, forgive them Father, for they really don’t grasp what they’re doing” (Luke 23:32-34). And HE said that before there was any repentance going on from those for whom he was asking forgiveness! And his Abba heard that and agreed – and offered His own son to take upon himself all the wrath that should have gone to you and me for our sins. You see, forgiving the unforgivable is what Abba does so well. And then he reconciles and blesses the one He’s forgiven. Amen.
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Don’t forget, our Yeshua teaches us that “unless YOU learn to forgive like your heavenly father and I forgive, forgiving others from your heart, you will not be forgiven of your sins.” Colossians 3:12-14. Wow. Matthew 6:14.
But it can’t be a fake forgiveness. It has to be real, from your heart. Matthew 18:35.
The standard is “as God in Christ forgave you” –Ephesians 4:30-32.
I gave a sermon on “Forgiving as Christ forgave” back in 2004 and replayed in 2008. But be watching for a brand new sermon I’ll be recording on how true forgiving actually helps the one forgiving -- to HEAL and live longer and brighter lives. Just type in “Forgiving” in the search bar and the sermon I speak of will pop up. As we come to Passover, I recommend you spend some time on your knees searching your heart and soul for all those you are holding a grudge against.
Especially around Passover – do this. Forgive. Reconcile. Leave a blessing. Pray for -- all who have hurt you.
But true forgiving is so hard to do when you have been deeply hurt. I’ve been deeply hurt, and I have deeply hurt others. As someone dear to me once said, though each of us in our unique way is amazing, each one of us in so many ways –is broken. The broken parts of our personalities are the parts that can make us be hurtful, or get hurt, and be a challenge to live with at times. And then there’s our perfect Abba. In spite of our brokenness, He wants to make us whole and to be healed. After everything our Abba has given us, and continues to give us in spite of ourselves, when we sin and turn back to him He still sprints out to accept us back – just as the father of the Prodigal son did, even before the Dad had heard a single word!
In the soon-to-be-posted sermon I’ll address:
---can we really “forgive and forget”? Really?
---what it means to “forgive from the heart”
---how true forgiveness frees us to live with joy and a sense of release and freedom
---how DID Christ really forgive? We are to forgive as HE did, according to scripture.
---what it takes to really forgive
---steps to learning how to really forgive. Perhaps I should have said “painful steps” – but how liberating these steps are!
I do know this very well: it’s also very hard to forgive yourself when you see how badly you’ve hurt others. I certainly have hurt people and find it hard at times to forgive myself. Especially when those hurt people won’t forgive you! And conversely, when you and I forgive someone, it becomes so much easier for them to forgive themselves. But forgive ourselves we must! Part of loving others as ourselves includes forgiving ourselves as we forgive others. And then we look at ourselves and it just seems to take so long to really get rid of all the “broken parts” of our lives.
But remember, as you struggle to forgive yourself, that our old self was crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) – and risen with Christ at His resurrection – if we are “IN HIM”. Our great Father has not just called us to ask forgiveness, but to be totally changed, to live a life of sanctification and holiness. But it’s not really just about transforming ourselves so much as letting GOD transform us by renewing our minds (Romans 12:1-2).
One way we can forgive people is to understand that no matter their past, God’s spirit – when it comes into a person’s life for real – will totally transform that person over time. It’s God’s doing. And it’s an inside job. He starts with our heart and soul. He doesn’t really want a washed up cadaver; he wants a brand new life in Christ. Almighty God creates in us a clean heart (Psalm 51:10). Yeshua presents us as a spotless bride – perfect and without blemish, IN HIM. Please take time to carefully read Jude 24, Ephesians 5:27, Col 1:22, 28; and Hebrews 13:20-21. Our God is so wonderful. And Jude 24 says that when we come – faultless – before His presence, it will be with exceeding JOY! Hallelu YAH!
Knowing this will be the outcome – extend forgiveness. And believe that even you, even I, can be totally transformed into something we never were before – in Christ. In Him. Praise you, our Savior.
Stephen had learned this. As rocks smashed against his head and body, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” and then he fell asleep (died) (Acts 7:59-60).
What a great example and lesson for us all: pray for those who have hurt us. Pray God forgives them and helps you forgive them. Praying FOR someone who has caused you unbearable pain is part of the healing process. Men and women of God did it, and do it. Pray God brings them true joy and kindness. Pray God wakes them up spiritually. YOU will be the better for having done so. I know I’ve experienced powerful miracles when I let go of the hate and surrendered to the love of God and started praying FOR those who sought my hurt.
Our Master says even if someone offends us many times, perhaps even with the same offence, we are to forgive them when they repent, even 7x in a day, or 70x 7 times (Luke 17:1-4; Matthew 18:21-22). But we like to think: “But if he had really repented, he wouldn’t be doing it over and over”. Well, Yeshua said even if it happens seven times in one day! In fact, do we not find ourselves having to repent to God for the same or similar sin several times in a year? We do that to God. And thank Him that HE forgives!
There’s so much more to say about forgiveness. I just want you to be watching for the new sermons this week about Forgiving and a sermon I hope to prepare called “DO this in Remembrance of me.”
Thank you Yeshua and thank you our dear Father, for being SO forgiving. Help us grow up spiritually to be just like you. Help us forgive from the heart. Help us release people from their debts of having hurt us. Please, Abba, pour out your love into our hearts. Mold us, shape us, change us, and make us new in Yeshua our Master.
One more thing: if these messages and blogs bless you, let others know about our website. I have no funds to promote the site. It grows simply by word of mouth. And remember to pray that our loving Father inspires me as well to speak HIS words, HIS thoughts. Those of you who have taken a moment to write encouragement have been such a blessing to me as well. Thank you.