Psalms 103:8 says it this way, it says, the Lord is compassionate and merciful. He's slow to anger and He's filled with unfailing love. He does not punish us for all of our sins, He does not deal harshly with us as we deserve.
Are you compassionate? Are you merciful? The question I'd like for you to write down is, what is on the other side of forgiveness for me? What is on the other side of forgiveness? I believe there's so many of us missing out on what God could do because we're not forgiving. How do you forgive someone who has hurt you?
What do we need to do? We need to pray. Are you praying for the problem people in your life? And we need to bless. What's on the other side of forgiveness if you do? And I can feel the push back, you're saying, listen, it's not about a mean person at the office for me. It's not about somebody stealing my fish.
You don't know what they've done to me, you don't know how bad it hurt. You're right, I don't. But I appreciate Linda giving me permission to share this story, because she's been through a lot of abuse. And I hope it helps you to understand that she knows what it's like to be extremely hurt over and over again, and how to pray and bless, and when you choose that, it actually brings blessing back to you.
Linda got married, and like all of us had dreams and hopes of life and living happily ever after, but very soon her husband started abusing her physically.
So much that so that she tried to run away several times, and finally did get away from that abuse, but it was so excruciating for her that she got so angry at God. She was angry at God, she was angry at her ex-husband, and she just lived in decades of bitterness, and resentment, and darkness.
Finally, she met a guy named Ken. Ken was a strong Christian, and showed her compassion and mercy, and tenderness of Christ. And not only did she come back to Christ in her own heart, but eventually knew that she needed to forgive her ex-husband. And so she didn't wanna do that over a letter, she actually convinced her husband Ken, to go with her and they found out that he was in prison.
How to Forgive
They went to go see her ex-husband in prison, and she looked at him across there with his garb on from being a prisoner and said, listen, I forgive you. She offered himforgiveness. And that started a relationship where her and her new husband Ken, started to correspond with her ex-husband, and they started to send him Bible verses and just bless him.
They started sending Bible studies and sermons, they started to go visit him more. And for 13 years, they went to visit him, corresponded with him, and blessed him, and encouraged him. Not only did he come to Christ, but once he got out of prison he found a new home, they got him re-adjusted to life outside of prison, and they found him a church.
And now he's free, not just from prison, but he's free and he knows Christ because of her forgiving him. Can we just give God a hand for that kind of power? That kind of choice. The story that you'll find online just gives you more details, but I wanted to share that with you because you say, well that's great, she chose forgiveness.
But I don't want you to miss this. She really says, and I wanted to quote some things from her because she says, that
choosing that forgiveness didn't just bless her ex-husband, it blessed her. And choosing to forgive her ex-husband actually freed her, and blessed her marriage with Ken.
Here's what she says and I quote, she says,
I would not be able to love Ken, her new husband, the way God wanted me to love him without forgiving my ex-husband because bitterness and anger had weaved into every part of my life. And without releasing those chains, I never would have been able to love Ken, and never would have been able to have a relationship with anyone else, even with God.
And Linda admits,
forgiving my ex-husband has blessed me and it's blessed my marriage with Ken. End quote. What is Linda saying? Linda is saying, let go. She's saying, let go. She's saying once you pray for them, once you bless them, you've gotta let go, and it hurts. And you say, I don't know if I wanna let go, but we've got to.
How to Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You
Forgiveness is a choice to let go, and forgiveness is a decision that you make once and then it's something you do everyday of your life. Listen, people have hurt me. And as best I can tell you, I didn't wanna do this message with having any of this in my own heart, I have forgiven everyone that's hurt me.
I've made that decision, but then I've let go. But then I forgave them yesterday, and I'll forgive them today, and I'll forgive them tomorrow. You see, if you held your place in Matthew 6, I just wanted to show you this. It's interesting that Jesus makes this hard saying right after he teaches us what's known as the Lord's Prayer.
Bible Verses on Forgiveness
And in Matthew 6:11, he shows us that forgiveness isn't just a decision, it's a lifestyle. He says, pray this to the Father, give us today our daily bread and today forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. You see, we must daily thank God for the food, but daily let go.
Make the decision to forgive, but then daily do that decision. I wanna give everyone a 30-day challenge. I wanna ask you to for 30 days, to everyday you wake up to say the Lord's Prayer, and when you get to this part, to release the person that you say owes you because they hurt you.
And just say, Father forgive me as I've forgiven them. And just for 30 days, experience the freedom of resentment and bitterness, the freedom from anger and hurt, and to you see what it's like for 30 days, the month of July, just pray this prayer and release them everyday. It just starts with a decision.
How Do You Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You
It starts with a decision, and then becomes a lifestyle. You see I can remember back when I was a child, learning how to ski. And there in North Georgia, on Lake Hartwell, it was great, there were great teachers. I'd get into the water, put the skis in between the rope and just kinda hold on, and you got the lake right here in Rockwall, so you guys experienced this.
But when the boat is kinda jerky, you just stay up keep your knees bent, and so I got all that, and the very first time I got up, the very first time I was like, I am awesome, okay? I was eight years old, it was an incredible experience, very exhilarating. I'm behind the boat, I'm like, life is good.
And we get out in the lake, I'm looking around, I was like, wow! This is amazing, look what I've missed all my life. And then as I'm enjoying this experience, for some reason the boat driver, who will go anonymous at this point, the boat driver decided it would be really funny to gun the acceleration and to turn the boat really hard to the left, while I'm skiing.
And so when they did that, of course you guys know what happened, I got outside of my comfort zone into this wake, outside of that wake and it was really bumpy and my skis literally went out from under me. And I fell and hit the water, and it hurt bad. I'm eight years old, and it hurt really bad.
You know what happened next? I was so mad, it hurt really bad. I was so mad, I'm like, I'm gonna hold on to the rope, and I held on to that rope. I was so mad at that boat driver, I'm gonna get him back. I'm gonna hold on to this rope, but I'm gonna teach him lesson. I'm gonna hold on to this rope.
Am I teaching the boat driver anything at this point? No. I'm sucking in a lot of water and it's really hurting, but I'm not teaching him anything. But that boat driver is oblivious, okay? He doesn't even know, just like I'm skipping across the water like a rock. I am so mad! And there's people in the boat literally yelling at me, let go of the rope, we forgot to tell you that part, okay? Let go of the rope, we want you to live, okay? We want you to live, let go of the rope! And as best I can tell you today as you hear this hard saying about forgiveness from Jesus, what Jesus is saying is let go of your hurt! Let go, it's not even hurting them.
They're probably even oblivious to it, let go of the hurt. It's hurting you, I want you to live, I want you to find life, let go of it. We realize it today, we need to let go, and I'm praying that light bulbs start coming on. Even when I just started this message names were coming to your mind, people who have hurt you and wounded you.
For some of you, you're sitting right next to them today. You tolerate them, but they are the ones you need to forgive. For most of us, they're not in the room. For some us, they're not even alive anymore, they've stepped into eternity. But we've got to let go. Say, God help us, help us to let go of unforgiveness so we can live, so we can get back to where we need to be with Him.
And I'm gonna ask you to let go today, and give you an experience on every campus where hopefully we cannot just hear this word, but experience how powerful it is. And even if you're wrestling there right now saying, I don't know if I wanna forgive, I don't know if I wanna let go.
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