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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

September 27, 2013 - Heartfelt Forgiveness

By Mark W. Smith

"I will forgive them, but I will never forget!" When you hear that statement, you cannot help but wonder if that person truly has forgiven or if they still are holding on to some hurt or wound, and possibly nursing a grudge and feeding a root of bitterness.

The Bible teaches that we must forgive from the heart, not just with our mouth and words. Forgiving from the heart truly frees us from the danger of bitterness, depression, repressed anger, and holding a grudge.

Many people who are wounded can easily fall into self-deception, thinking they have forgiven a wrong and the perpetrator of that wrong. But when the issue comes up, they begin reliving the hurt and anger. It shows in their words, and it shows in their face and emotions. Their response generally reveals the failure to truly forgive from the heart and enjoy the freedom and joy that comes from true and liberating forgiveness.

True forgiveness cannot come from human effort and mere human words expressing forgiveness. True forgiveness must be the work of the Holy Spirit. True forgiveness comes through our relationship with Jesus and our following His example. We see this type of forgiveness modeled by Christ on the cross.

Another great example of true forgiveness is seen in the life of Joseph (see Genesis 45-50). Joseph's brothers had sold him into slavery. They lied and covered their sin from their father and families, but the guilt nearly destroyed them.

Due to Joseph's steadfast faith and love for God, everything changed for the good. From prison slave to ruler, Joseph’s life changed overnight. But could this faithful servant forgive those who had made his life hellish for nearly 15 years? He could. He did!

Consider these characteristics of true forgiveness, and then ask yourself if you need to put them into practice in connection with your own hurts.

1. True forgiveness from the heart is the only true and permanent cure for broken relationships. Anything that is partial or halfhearted will never work. You can never be free and joyful without forgiveness from the heart.

2. True forgiveness always sees the big picture of the situation. When Joseph forgave his brothers, he said to them, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." Joseph insisted, "It wasn't you who sent me here, but God, that I might save all of you!"

3. True forgiveness wants all parties to draw near to each other. Reconciliation is the clearest fruit of true forgiveness. When Joseph revealed himself to his brethren, they were afraid and ashamed, but Joseph said to them, "Come near to me." God desires reconciliation. We can never have true victory and joy until we seek reconciliation with those who have hurt us.

4. True forgiveness doesn't continue to dwell on what was done. Nowhere do we see Joseph trashing his brothers, talking vengeance, or continually griping about how badly he had been treated, or telling his father what really happened to him. True forgiveness knows when to be silent.

5. True forgiveness will not nurture fear. The one who forgives is always in a stronger position than the one who needs forgiveness. When Joseph's father died, his brothers were afraid Joseph might turn on them. Joseph talked to them and calmed their fears and promised to protect and provide for their every need.

6. True forgiveness is forever. Joseph never brought up his brothers' evil deeds again. You won't have to worry about Jesus bringing up your sins after 10,000 years in heaven. Our forgiveness towards others must be forever. We want to love just like Jesus loves, and forgive the way He forgave us.

— Mark W. Smith is lead pastor at Cornerstone Assembly of God in Hillsboro, Ohio.



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