(By Dr. Charles Stanley)
Father God in heaven, we hollow Your wonderful Name. We just had a remembrance of what Your Son Jesus did for us on the cross thousands of years ago, and it is still the most wonderful thing anyone has ever done for a person. We are so grateful, Lord Jesus. Forgiveness is the next awesome thing, and we thank You for forgiving us today for our sins through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now that we have been forgiven, Lord, please help us to forgive others in our lives. Forgiving can be hard, but as Your Word says, “We can do all thing through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Bless our hearts to always forgive others who have wronged us, not matter what. Father, forgive us as we forgive others in Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Subject Lesson: Forgiving other people.
Let’s recap and then study more on
Forgiveness may not be easy, but it’s what the Lord commands (Eph. 4:32). Even if someone betrays us, we must forgive and trust God to take care of the situation
Forgiving Others – Direction from God:
Forgiving others may seem to be a choice, and in one sense it is a choice, but God has been very clear about forgiveness. He has given us specific direction in numerous Scriptures, all of which can be summed up in just one word — forgive! God’s Word says, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25). "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven" (Luke 6:37).
God is saying that it is in our own best interest to forgive! He is not talking about what is in the best interest of the person who needs to be forgiven. We are the ones who God is trying to protect. We are the ones who receive the most benefit from forgiveness, not the other person. A spirit of unforgiveness complicates and compromises our daily walk with God. Forgiving others releases us from anger and allows us to receive the healing we need. The whole reason God has given us specific direction is because He does not want anything to stand between us and Him. God’s love for us is beyond our comprehension. Forgiving others spares us from the consequences of living out of an unforgiving heart.
Forgiving others does not carry with it a single decision that we need to ponder. God has not qualified one sin as being more grievous to Him than another and He has not qualified one sin committed against us as warranting forgiveness and another not. For example, God is not saying, "If a person lies to you or steals from you, you should forgive him, but if they abuse you or harm your child, you can hold them in unforgiveness." He is saying to forgive everyone, always, and do it immediately.
Forgiving Others – A Personal Story:
Forgiving others often takes time. Amy was no longer living with her alcoholic and abusive husband Tim, but she had not been able to forgive him for the 32 years of abuse that she had experienced. She knew she should forgive him, but she could not bring herself to do it. She did not feel he deserved her forgiveness. This went on for several years until one day in a counseling session with Amy, I asked her to listen with her heart and be open to anything the Lord might say to her. During that quiet time, the Lord helped Amy see that He loved Tim, while disapproving of Tim’s actions. The Lord made it clear to Amy that the abuse was not her fault. As she looked up from her quiet posture, she related how all of the reasons why she should not forgive were no longer valid. I asked if she was ready to forgive and she said yes.
Amy’s recognition that the Lord truly loved Tim, while disapproving his actions, caused her to have a change of heart. When she made the choice to forgive Tim, the feelings that had been compromising her life-anger, resentment, fear, misunderstanding, and confusion-left her heart. Forgiving Tim brought peace to Amy’s heart.
Forgiving Others – The Divine Example:
We have a divine example for forgiving others! God knew that man needed forgiveness, so He sent His Son Jesus to deliver all of mankind from the eternal consequences of their sins (1 John 4:9-10). Colossians 3:13 says, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Jesus not only had the power to forgive, but to grant us the ability to forgive others just as we have been forgiven.
Forgiving Others – Personal Action:
Forgiving others often starts as a decision of surrender-an act of our will. This surrender invites God to begin working in our lives in a deeper level, allowing God to heal us. Just as with Amy, we can ask God to enlighten us with the understanding that we need to fully forgive from our hearts. We simply need to make the choice to be open to forgiveness and reconciliation.
Remember, forgiveness does not justify the deed or the person, it does not provide God’s forgiveness for their actions, because only God can do that. While nothing can undo the past, we can do something about the condition of our own present and future. Forgiving others makes a way for our own healing to begin.
If you are willing to forgive, but you are unsure how, consider the prayer below:
Father God, I need your help and your insights. Today I have gained a better understanding of forgiving others and with your help, I fully forgive from my heart. Just as you have freely forgiven me, I forgive them. Father, I ask you to forgive me for hurting others out of my own hurt and to heal my relationships with others. I pray all of this in Jesus’ precious name and by whom all forgiveness and healing was made possible. Thank you for loving me in ways I’ll never comprehend. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
1). What is forgiving to you?
2). Read Mark 11:23; Explain.
3). When it comes to forgiveness, who is God protecting?
4). When we have unforgiving in our heart, what do it do to our hearts?
5). Read 1 John 4:9-10, explain.
6). Read Colossians 3:13, explain.
7). Forgiving starts as a decision of what, and an act of what?
8). God can work better in us when we do what?
9). Forgiving others makes a way for our own what?
10). If you need help in forgiving pray the ending prayer.
Weekly Stay Focus:
Weekly Life Principle:
Weekly Prayer Focus:
Weekly reading assignments: (Hebrews 13)
How Should We Give Today?
While we as Christians are not under a legalistic law that gives us specific details on our giving, again, we are indeed commanded to be giving people, and thus we ought to look for opportunities to give.
1. We should give to the work of the church.
Even though it is not really a specific command, it is our custom to follow a procedure that is perhaps similar to the example of 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.
Most congregations take up an offering every week, and they have committed to certain needs and works that are intended to be a blessing to the church members and to people of the community and all around the world.
And, just as those in Corinth were urged to follow through with what they had promised to do, so also we need to give what we have promised to give.
2 Corinthians 9:7a "Let each one give as he has purposed in his heart." (planned giving is good)
2. Not only should we give to the church, but we should also give to other needs and good works.
If we are to be more like those early Christians, then we will also look for opportunities to give on a more individual and personal basis.
They did not just put money in a collection plate and think they had fulfilled their duty to be giving people; when they saw people in need, they gave.
We also fulfill our obligation to be giving when we give to a family who is in need, or when we support a worthy cause, etc.
2 Timothy 1:16-18 Onesiphorus went looking for Paul to see if he was in need. We too need to look for those in need so that we might be a blessing to them.
Some have suggested that it might be better to always give to the church treasury so that, when money is given out of that treasury, the glory might go to the church from which it came. Perhaps so, but in addition to our giving to the church treasury, we also need to give personally to any and every need we see so that the glory might go to Christ (2 Corinthians 9:13).
Also consider Mark 7:9-13. Surely we’re not like that, but neither should we always excuse ourselves from giving personally to good works and to those in need because we’ve already given to the church
If we gave more in the manner as did the early Christians (not to a church treasury, but personally to those in need), then we might not have as much money in the church treasury to spend on nice buildings and paid preachers, but we’d probably look a whole lot more like the 1st century church!
3. We should give without looking for praise or credit.
In his commentary, Matthew Henry said:
What was the practice of the hypocrites about this duty? They did it indeed, but not from any principle of obedience to God, or love to man, but in pride and vain-glory; not in compassion to the poor, but purely for ostentation, that they might be extolled as good men, and so might gain an interest in the esteem of the people, with which they knew how to serve their own turn, and to get a great deal more than they gave.
Pursuant to this intention, they chose to give their alms in the synagogues, and in the streets, where there was the greatest concourse of people to observe them, who applauded their liberality because they shared in it, but were so ignorant as not to discern their abominable pride. Probably they had collections for the poor in the synagogues, and the common beggars haunted the streets and highways, and upon these public occasions they chose to give their alms. [quote continued on next page]
Not that it is unlawful to give alms when men see us; we may do it; but not that men may see us; we should rather choose those objects of charity that are less observed. The hypocrites, if they gave alms to their own houses, sounded a trumpet, under pretence of calling the poor together to be served, but really to proclaim their charity, and to have that taken notice of and made the subject of discourse."
Mark 12:41-44 “Remember those that gave large amounts, presumably to be noticed; the widow who gave her two small coins surely received no praise or credit from others.
4. We should give as generously as possible.
2 Corinthians 9:6
We should give enough that God would consider it to be liberal!
And how much is liberal? That’s for each one of us to decide… after long and intense prayer to God, and after long and intense searching deep within the heart
Give as you would if an angel awaited your gift at the door.
Give as you would if tomorrow found your giving here all o’er.
Give as you would to the Master if you met His loving look.
Give as you would of your substance if His hand the offering took.
Lord, how freely You’re given everything to me-to Your people. Use us to lavish Your good gifts on others today. Lord, thank You for the incredible blessings You’ve lavished on us. Make us a continuous blessing to Your people. AMEN.
Weekly reading assignments: (Hebrews 11-12)
I have read my weekly reading assignment!
Speak Lord Jesus
Accept each day exactly as it comes to you. By that, I mean not only the circumstances of your day but also the condition of your body. Your assignment is to trust Me absolutely, resting in My sovereignty and faithfulness.
On some days, your circumstances and your physical condition feel out of balance: The demands on your seem far greater than your strength. Days like that present a choice between two alternatives-giving up or relying on Me. Even if you wrongly choose the first alternative, I will not reject you. You can turn to Me at any point, and I will help you crawl out of the mire of discouragement. I will infuse My strength into you moment by moment, giving you all that you need for this day. Trust Me, by relying on My empowering Presence.
Read: Psalm 42:5; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Jeremiah 31:25
Generosity (Principle #23)
You can never out-give God!
Scripture tells us over and over again that everything in this world belongs to God-and every good thing we have is a gift from Him. Generosity is just part of who He is-and that’s why He wants us to receive from Him freely and to join Him in giving freely.
This biblical principle is as unchanging as the law of gravity. When you live an openhanded, generous life, joyfully meeting needs the Lord draws you to-you’re going to experience the fullness of His blessings in return.
Even the smallest acts of kindness open the door to His abundant grace in our lives, the lives of others, and in the world-not just now, but for eternity, we don’t have to know the effect of our gifts, but if we desire God’s glory, we can be sure that He will use and multiply every gift we give to others.
We can’t out give God !!
Giving to God prayerful praise is staying focus each and every day. “Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You: And let those who love Your salvation say continually, let God be magnified. You are my help and my deliverer.” Psalm 70:4-5
Sometimes we approach God robotically, “Lord, please do this for me. Lord, please do that.” We’re convinced we’ll be happy, if only God grants our wishes, like a genie in a bottle. We’re going about this backward! We should start by praising God. Thank Him for life, health, and many answered prayers. Our joyous praise will remind us just how blessed we already are! Then-out of genuine relationship-we make our requests known. This is staying focus on giving to God, even as we giving to others.
1). Read (Luke 6:38), give a time you received because you gave.
Oh my, there has been many times God out give me. All my needs are meet because I give, and I give God all the glory right now. I could not do it without Him; “For it is God which worketh in me both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13). AMEN.
2). Do you believe this Scripture (Acts 20:35)? Explain.
I truly believe it means we can’t out give God; God bless us when we give to others more than we can understand; and it bring peace and joy in the heart. I truly believe that the Lord means what he says, and that the joy that comes through obedience, the joy that comes through giving, is deeper and better and more satisfying than the fleeting joy that comes through hoarding. It actually is more blessed to give than to receive.
3). Give some Scriptures that command on giving.
(Proverbs 3:9; Malachi 3:10; Ezra 2:69; Matthew 23:23; Luke 18:12; Deuteronomy 16:17; Matthew 10:8)
4). Explain submission to divine Lordship.
I believe according to God’s Word, He’s my boss! I’ll do what He wants! I’ll do His will! Christ tells me what to do in His Word, the Bible! When I accepted Him as Lord and Savior He became Lord over my life, so His divine lordship to me is submission of my life.
5). Read (James 1:7), and explain it.
This is talking about a person that is not submissive to Jesus as Lord, because that person doesn’t honor God with their faith.
6). Explain God’s giving in (John 3:16).
It explains itself! “For God so loved the world, He GAVE His only begotten son. . .” God gave to us even though it was His own Son.
7). How is giving trusting God?
We are showing our faith in Him to do what He promised to do for us in times of need, in all times. We trust God when we have faith in Him before we see anything.
8). Read (Ecclesiastes 11:1). What do you think it means?
It means spiritual sowing; it means just what the Good Samaritan didin Luke 10:25–37. He cast aside what he was doing just to help this man.
9). Explain 6, 7, 8 in the list of the ten reasons it is more blessing to give than to receive.
(6) Giving widens God’s smile; I love to make God smile! It’s a blessing and delight to do so. Glory to God!
(7) Giving advances God’s Kingdom; we are investing into the Kingdom of God every time we minister to others.
(8) Giving promotes God’s sanctification; When we give we are denying ourselves, and giving God honor.
10). Explain 9, 10, 11 in the list of the ten reasons it is more blessing to give than to receive.
(9) Giving testifies to God’s power; I see this as “we can do all things to Christ who strengthen us. This means God’s power works in us too.
(10) Giving praises God’s character; I like this one so much! God’s character is my love and joy! I worship Him because of His character.
(11) Giving better than getting; it is an encouragement to give God glory every chance I get. When we see Him blessing others through our giving should bless us too.