Here is the devotional:
When the Lord told me that forgiveness was the answer for Barbara, I realized there was more to forgiveness than I had thought.
Each of us started our relationship with God through forgiveness. Colossians 2:13 says, “When you were dead in your transgressions …, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions” (NASB).
Think about it. God made us alive together with him by forgiving us! Forgiveness is God’s recipe for fresh starts. After all, it’s how he started you and me over again. He made us new in Christ, where old things passed away and all things became new (2 Cor. 5:17). He transformed us into brand new, born-again, righteous beings by forgiving us.
In fact, God’s way of dealing with mankind is forgiveness. It’s his go-to reaction with human beings and his very nature! In Isaiah 43:25, he says, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” God never has unforgiveness in his relationship with you. Never.
The good news is that as born-again Christians, we have God’s very nature inside of us, so we’ve not only been forgiven, but have the capacity to forgive. We just need God’s supernatural help to do it! As we soak our spirits in God’s Word, it gives us the strength we need to do things God’s way.
But even though we have supernatural help, forgiveness is our choice. God has created us with our own will and freedom to choose. In Deuteronomy, he says, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (30:19). He does give us a clue when he says, “Choose life!” But it’s always our choice.
Later, we see Joshua exercising his own right to choose: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
God won’t ever make you forgive; it’s your choice. The good news is that he’s standing by, ready to help. He just wants you to want to forgive. When you ask for his help, he’s right there to supernaturally put you over.
Here are the scriptures referenced:
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua 24:15 KJV
Here are Stu’s thoughts:
On day one we discussed the power of forgiving others. And how vital it is to YOUR health and spiritual walk.
But let me tell you from experience there are many instances where forgiving others is no easy task.
Before I went and talked with my dad, forgiving him for cheating on mom and then bailing on me and my sis, I went through months of deep prayer.
That prayer time was filled with anger. It was filled with tears of sadness.
And it was filled with a lot of heavy words from said anger.
You see, I knew I needed to forgive my dad for more than just the cheating aspect. I needed to forgive him for not being the true role model I needed growing up. That was painful.
Every night I would pray. And every night I would get mad. And as long I got mad I knew I really had not forgiven my dad.
I needed God to intervene. I needed a fresh pair of eyes on the situation.
So I changed my prayer tactics from a self centered forgiving mindset to a Godly mindset.
And as I prayed asking God to renew my heart and mind about my dad a change took place inside me. There grew a love for my dad which wasn’t really there before.
As I continued praying I wanted to forgive him instead of the feeling of I had to in order to move forward. I wanted to. And for several reasons.
One is the obvious one…I really did need to forgive him.
Another was that in order for my son to see me as the dad I didn’t have I had to do it. That was a big reason right there. And trust me it sank into Brandon’s heart. He was with me when I went to my dad’s to forgive him in person.
Another reason was that my dad needed me to forgive him. He didn’t know it at the time though…lol.
Not only was I setting an example for Brandon but I was also setting one for my dad.
It was a very emotional night to say the least but oh my gosh…how freeing it was! So much weight lifted of my shoulders as well as my dad’s that night.
All that resentment and anger that I had been holding in for decades just went poof!
Now I realize that this is a different scenario that what you may be going through. But the point remains the same.
Forgiveness is freeing!
BUT, I really could not have forgiven my dad…not fully…had it not been for the Lord’s help.
I could have easily just told everyone that yeah I had forgiven my dad. But they would have realized I was lying had they brought up anything relating to a father figure simply because my anger and resentment would have shown in my eyes.
So if there is anyone in your life that the Lord is prompting you to forgive, you may need that heart to heart with God.
I know I need to forgive this person for what they have done. I need to move forward and become closer to you in my walk, but I just can’t. At least not by my own will power.
So would you change my heart towards this person? Allow me to pray for them daily for their heart. They need you as much as I do Lord. Give me the strength to forgive them because you love them. You not only want me to be free from this anger and resentment but you also want them to be free as well.
In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen
Now that is calling on God for some super natural intervention!
And it draws you into a closer relationship with Him