Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph. 4:31-32

Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger people. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at the richness of a life which has come to you by the grace of God. –Phillip Brooks

Our Purpose: In life we will be hurt by others. When we are hurt, we are faced with both a test and a temptation. If we respond in a godly way, we will experience great joy. If we respond in man’s way, we will experience regret. We are commanded to forgive others in the same way God forgave us in Christ. That is an awesome thought. It is easily misunderstood and is not practiced, at a great cost to the Church and the name of Christ. So it is crucial that we understand how God forgave us. Because we have been given a new nature and have God’s Spirit living within us, we have the resources to forgive others no matter how evil their sin was. So, if we want joy to reign in our lives, if we want Christ to be glorified in us, we need to know and practice forgiving others in the same way God in Christ forgave us.

A. Mans Ways Verses God’s Ways:

1. Man’s ways: Living motivated by love of the self and fleshly desires (1 John 2:15-16).

Man says that bitterness and revenge is a natural response to those who have been abused and mistreated. They say: “An eye for an eye;” I can never forgive you for that.” “I may forgive but I won’t forget.” “I will forgive you but I will never trust you again.”

2. God’s ways: Living with a passion to glorify Jesus Christ in every situation by obeying his commands in the strength he provides. God says that bitterness is motivated by selfish concerns that fail to take into account the great sin that God forgave us in Christ. By His strength and for his glory we can not only forgive those who hurt us but we can also love and serve them.

B.  Granting forgiveness God’s way. How to forgive others as God forgave us in Christ.

1.  What is forgiveness? It is a decision to love someone who has deliberately wronged you.

a. It involves painful choices.

b. It involves faithful promises:

? To not seek to hurt or get even with the person who has wronged us.
? To not share the offense with those around us.
? To get rid of every reminder of the wrong done to us.
? To refuse to dwell upon the wrong done against us.
? To cooperate with God in the restoration of the offender.

2.  What does forgiveness look like? Look at how God forgave us.

He removed our sins as far as the east is from the west: Psalm 103:12; dropped them into the depths of the sea: Micah 7:19; put them behind his back: Isaiah 38:17; and remembers them no more: Hebrews 10:17.

3.  What does forgiveness NOT look like?

• It does not mean forgetting.
• It does not mean a removal of all consequences.
• It does not mean no pain.
• It does not mean silence.

4.  How do we forgive like God in Christ forgave us?

a. We give what is needed, not deserved. Romans 5:6-8.

b. We do good to our enemy. Luke 6:27-28.

c. We suffer for the sake of others. 1 Peter 2:23-24.

d. We depend upon the Father for our strength. James 4:6-10.

Coping with difficult people is always a problem, especially if the difficult person happens to be you. –Anonymous

5.  What happens when we don’t forgive?

a. It will affect the effectiveness of our prayers. Mark 11:25. 

b. Our daily sins won’t be forgiven. Matthew 6:12, 14-15/ Mark 11:25. 

c. We will be confined to a life of misery. Matthew 18:32-35.

d. We will never know the fullness of God’s love for us. John 14:23-24.

6.  What keeps us from forgiving?

a. A lack of gratefulness. Matthew 18:32-34,

b. A lack of humility. Luke 17:10. 

c. A lack of trust in God. Genesis 50:19-20.

d. A lack of love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5.

7. Why should we forgive?

a. It is commanded by our Lord. Ephesians 4:32

b. It imitates our Lord. Ephesians 5:1-2.

c. It is a means to rejoicing. Matthew 5:11-12.

d. It glorifies our Lord. Romans 15:5-6.

8.  Concluding questions concerning biblical forgiveness:

a.  Is it possible or necessary to forgive ourselves? 1 John 1:8-9; Romans 8:1; 2 Cor. 7:9-11.

b.  When God forgives does he remove the consequences of our sins? James 4:6-10

c.  Does God require us to forgive and forget? Hebrews 10:17; Ps. 25:7; 1 Tim. 12-15

d.  Is it necessary for us to be taught how to forgive God? Ps. 18:30; James 1:17.

If you want to make sure of keeping your self-intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries: avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; instead it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. –C. S. Lewis