Summary: Sometimes we need to extend forgiveness to others and request forgiveness from others. How do we do this?
Sometimes newspapers have to publish corrections to previous stories. Occasionally, in their attempt to make amends, they make it worse. For example, one paper published a correction that said, "In a recent article we referred to the Chairman of Chrysler Corporation as Lee Iacoocoo. That was incorrect. His real name is Lee Iacaca."
What these people were trying to do with these corrections was to make right what they had got wronged. That's what we're going to consider today. How do we go back and repair some of the damage done to us and we have done to others. That's the next "E" in "recovery."
Evaluate all my relationships, offer forgiveness to those who've hurt me and make amends for harm I've done to others except, when to do so, would harm them or others. (READ TEXT)
1. I'm to forgive those who've hurt me. Why?
A. Because God has forgiven me.
If God has forgiven me, I should forgive others.
". . . forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." - Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
I'll never have to forgive others more than God has forgiven me. If I have a hard time forgiving it's usually because I don't feel forgiven. This is why we talked about step 4: "Come Clean." Lack of forgiveness is a sign that I need to come clean with God myself. Remember what we said? 1) Take an inventory; 2) Accept your responsibility; 3) Ask God's forgiveness; 4) Confide in others; then 5) Confess to others.
People who are forgiven are forgiving.
B. Because unforgiveness just hurts me.
"To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do." - Job 5:2 (Good News)
"You are only hurting yourself with your anger." - Job 18:4 (Good News)
Unforgiveness doesn't hurt the offender, it only hurts you.
Harboring unforgiveness is like trying to kill someone else by you drinking poison.
Dr. S. I. McMillan in his book, "None of These Diseases," says that the two greatest causes of physical problems are unresolved guilt (not receiving forgiveness) and resentment (not forgiving others).
"The verbal expression of animosity toward others calls forth certain hormones from the pituitary, adrenal, thyroid, and other glands; an excess of which can cause disease in any part of the body. Examples are: ulcers, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, colitis, strokes, headache, arthritis, and many mental disturbances." - Dr. S. I. McMillan
This reminds of the man who told his doctor, "I need more pills for my colitis." The doctor said, "Oh? Who're you colliding with now?" It's not what you're eating that's the problem; it's what's eating you.
C. Because I will need forgiveness in the future.
"But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too." - Mark 11:25 (NLT)
The Bible says we can't receive what we are unwilling to give.
A man once told John Wesley, "I can never forgive that person." Wesley said, "Then I hope you never sin. Because we all need what you don't want to give."
So, how do I forgive those who hurt me?
"Then Peter came to him and asked, 'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?' 'No, not seven times,' Jesus replied, 'but seventy times seven!'"
- Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)
Jewish tradition said one had to forgive someone 3 times. Peter thought he was magnanimous by suggesting we forgive 7 times. But Jesus multiplied 7 times 70. He not only emphasized the need for us to forgive infinitely, but by using the numbers 7 and 10, the numbers for perfection and completion, He says that we're to forgive completely. He then told a parable on how, if we've been forgiven by our Master, we should forgive others. He says the servant in the parable was held captive because of his unforgiveness. He then concluded by saying:
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” - Matthew 18:35 (NIV)
It's important to know in Hebrew thought, the heart wasn't the center of the emotions but the intellect. The bowels considered the center of your emotion (I've got a gut feeling). Jesus was that teaching forgiveness is a choice. Four words can help us understand what forgiveness is.
1) Recognition. Admit it. Face it. I can't forgive people I'm not willing to blame. You can't get over it until you admit it - I've been wronged. It hurt. You've got some options when it comes to hurt.
A) You can repress it. You can pretend it didn't happen, but it will pop up as some other form habit or hang-up in your life.