Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mastering the Art of Forgiveness: Part II

In Part I of Mastering the Art of Forgiveness, we touched on the subject of forgiveness and how it affects our lives.  In Part II, we're discussing how to forgive others and finally be set free...for real.

Forgiveness Training 

Believe it or not, you've been through plenty of forgiveness training with the people who were closest to you: your family.  You've also endured betrayal, heartbreak, and what feels like the worst of them all: the unmasked truth, and you've had to forgive everyone who's hurt you time after time....especially if you were living in the house with them.  With our siblings, we often came to learn how our attitudes could affect an atmosphere, and make it almost unlivable.  For example, when I was younger, I couldn't stand to be at home when someone in the house was mad, either at me or someone else.  So, I'd go over to a friend's house and hang out over there until it was time to go home (curfew).  Nevertheless, back at home, I'd find that the atmosphere hadn't changed much, and being in it frustrated me.  At times, it felt almost unbearable because I'd grown up in a family who not only held grudges, but they were very, very vengeful.  Because of this, we (my brother and I especially) learned to apologize to one another whenever we were upset with each other, and we'd grown tired of the atmosphere.  Needless to say, we'd be back at each others' throats before the close of the day, and we'd have to repeat the forgiving process all over again.

People are flawed, and they repeatedly sin against GOD, so it's no surprise that we (as the people) repeatedly sin against one another.  But being hurt or offended is not the opportunity to show how crafty and evil you can be; it's a great opportunity to practice forgiveness training.
Forgiveness training is putting forgiveness in action time and time again until it's no longer a burden for you.  One of the first components of forgiveness that you must embrace is understanding.  If you don't understand why someone did what they did to you or why they are the way that they are, you won't forgive them.  You see, we take our own morals and convictions and we introduce them to the people in our lives because we expect them to embrace those very-same morals and convictions.  They may not tell us initially that our ways are not their ways, so we oftentimes assume that they not only understand our ways of thinking, but they've embraced our ways of thinking.  Once they show us that they don't have our own morals and convictions, we oftentimes say they've hurt or betrayed us, when in reality, they were simply being themselves.

When my second marriage ended, GOD gave me understanding.  HE showed me why the man I'd married thought the way he did.  He was raised in another country and he was brought up to believe that his immediate family were more important than any family he marries into.  He was brought up to believe that a wife is nothing more than a piece of property, and that property was to be controlled by the family (much like we do a dog).  No amount of words would convince him that his thinking was wrong.  No amount of tears would convince him to reconsider his ways.  He was who he was because he'd been taught to be that way, and when GOD began to teach me this, I was able to not only forgive the ex, but I began to have compassion for him.  Suddenly, I wanted more than ever to see him saved, so I continued to speak lovingly to him, telling him all-the-more about JESUS CHRIST.

Understanding pretty much helps us to understand that everyone doesn't think the same way that we think.  That's why you should NEVER get entangled with people who are surrounded by people like themselves.  They aren't tolerant, nor will they be forgiving because, to them, anyone who thinks outside of what they understand is evil, and for this reason, intolerant souls often try to change everyone in their lives.
Always try to understand others even when you don't understand their ways.

Separation Training

One of the key elements to forgiveness is learning to separate yourself from people who aren't serving the LORD, or people who want to serve HIM their way, and not HIS.  You are who you communicate with often; you are whomever you hang around.  So many people unknowingly walk around in unforgiveness because they've been taught that they must continue on with the families they were born into.  The devil is a liar. 
Luke 14:26: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

According to HELPS Word Studies, the Greek word for hate is μισέω, which translates to
miseó.  Miseó is defined by HELPS as: properly, to detest (on a comparative basis); hence, denounce; to love someone or something less than someone (something) else, i.e. to renounce one choice in favor of another.
When GOD said that if a man does not hate his father, mother, wife sister, brothers, sisters and his own life, that man could not be HIS disciple, HE was not saying that we are not to love them.  HE was saying that we are to put HIM before them; meaning, we'd be willing to separate ourselves from them should HE tell us to.  They (our loved ones) should not be more important to us than HE is.  A minister who has not separated him or herself from destructive thinking family members is NOT a disciple of GOD.  They may be disciples, but they're just not HIS disciples.  Why?  Because they have not set themselves apart from the world.
James 4:4: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

The disciples of GOD are set apart by GOD, and therefore, many don't have relationships with their natural family members.  That's because many disciples of the LORD were born into families that do not serve the LORD or families who try to serve GOD their own ways, and therefore, end up serving the enemy of GOD.  The ones who do have relationships with their family members were likely born into GOD-fearing, GOD-serving families; nevertheless, they cannot put any man before GOD, otherwise, they cannot be a disciple of the LORD.

What does all of this mean?  It means that you need to learn to separate yourself from the people who've constantly hurt you.  You have to forgive them, but you must remember that you are sanctified by GOD, and therefore, set apart from man.  Anytime you stay in relationships that GOD has called you out of, you will wrestle with unforgiveness because the darkness in the people you're surrounding yourself with will constantly war against the light in you.
2 Corinthians 2:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?

You must practice separating yourself from the people who do not understand the call on your life, and the people who constantly provoke you to wrath.  Why so?  Not only will they hinder you and slow you down, but by associating with them, you place them in line to receive the judgment of GOD.  How?  A man who walks in darkness will constantly battle against (either physically, mentally or verbally) a man who speaks the truth.  The minute they even open their mouths against you, they are judged by GOD.  Be truthful with yourself.  You know who's going to speak against you; you know who's comfortable in their sin...separate yourself from them!

How do you separate yourself from loved ones?  It's simple.  Ask the LORD to remove them from your life, stop answering their calls, stop calling them and stop visiting them.  Some people may say that they hang with unsaved or unchanged family and friends because they are trying to be a light to them (justification), but in truth, people cannot receive ministry from a person they are familiar with.  That's why GOD oftentimes has to send people they don't know to minister to them.  There is no justification for disobeying GOD.  Separate yourself and live a good life or stay mixed in and live in strife.

Also, remember that guilt is not from GOD.  All too often, when a person separates themselves from friends and family members, they find themselves being judged and mislabeled by those friends and family members.  They then feel guilty, re-enter those relationships, and go back to being bound.   If you're in the will of GOD, why would you allow yourself to feel condemned by people, yourself or the devil?  Being willing to separate yourself (because you are set apart by GOD) is an honorable thing, and it means that you've accepted and answered the call on your life.  
Romans 8:1: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Tips For Success

Below are ten steps to mastering the art of forgiveness.
  1. Seek understanding and not answers.  It is human nature (flesh) to want to understand why people did what they did, but you have to bypass your flesh to get to understanding.  Don't seek the answers of who did what to whom and why they did it.  Instead, seek a deeper knowledge of the LORD, and HE will give you answers as you pursue HIM.
  2. Separate yourself from evildoers.  I know it's hard to walk away from the people you love, but think of it this way: You're not just doing it for you; you are doing it for them.  For one, you don't want them to fall under judgment, and two, you don't want them to corrupt you.  Finally, you want to be a distant light for them, in hopes that they'll see what GOD has done or is doing for you, and want to serve the GOD you serve.
  3. Dust off your feet and move on.  CHRIST told HIS disciples that if they went into a land and the people didn't receive them, they were to dust off their feet and move on.  All too often, believers stay in the same accursed houses amongst the same accursed people trying to figure out a way that they can build a bridge between darkness and light.  This bridge cannot be made, and such a merging cannot exist.  Move on!
  4. Stop listening to or watching media that discourages forgiveness and encourages wrath and unforgiveness.  I remember watching This Christmas some years ago, and there was a scene when Regina King had whooped her freshly showered husband because he'd been cheating on her.  I laughed and celebrated his whooping because I had been so drawn into the movie that I wanted to see him get his.  My human nature (flesh) flared up, and I celebrated with many women as he slid across the floor trying to get to his feet.  Nevertheless, as funny as that scene was, it was also wrong.  
  5. Separate yourself from messy folks.  You know who they are!  They are the ones who want to know what happened to you, who wronged you, and why they did it.  They are the ones who'll hunt you down just to tell you about someone else's fall from grace.  They are the ones who'll celebrate your enemy's fall, and tell you detail by detail how your enemy looked when he or she fell.  They are also the ones who keep many people bound.  They don't love you, nor are they doing you a favor.  They are just being what they are: messy!
  6. Do not forsake your seasons of loneliness.  Many times when GOD starts separating us from people, we find ourselves in seasons of loneliness, and if we're not careful, we'll become emotional and question our walk.  It is then that we'll go back and reconcile with those folks (and the devils in them) for the sake of having someone around us.  Remember separation training.  Sometimes, seasons of loneliness are separation training.  GOD wants you to see that you do not need other people; you need HIM, and HE will surround you with the people who love, fear and need HIM as well.  Use your seasons of loneliness to get closer to GOD, get to know yourself more, and seek a greater depth of understanding in regards to your life.
  7. Remind yourself that the reception of your blessings is dependent upon you releasing yourself from unforgiveness.  You are not binding people by being mad at them; you are only imprisoning yourself.  I can't tell you how many people I've met who've been mad at their exes for years on end, and their exes are doing better than them.  They've moved on while the ones bound by unforgiveness continue to struggle in life.  That's double whammy.  Release to receive.
  8. Testify of what GOD has brought you through.  Let me be transparent.  I haven't always been comfortable sharing the details of my life and marriages because (1) I've forgiven the people of my past, (2) I don't want to humiliate anyone, and (3) I'm not perfect.  I've hurt people too.  Additionally, I've met so many people who live in unforgiveness, and I often worried that my testimony would sound like their gripes.  In other words, the enemy used my own emotions to silence me, but GOD used HIS WORD to get me to open up. 
    Revelation 12:11:
    And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
    I had to stop caring about how I may be perceived in order to help others who need to be set free.  In other words...Testify about what GOD has brought you through.  Don't share people's names, and don't tell your story from an emotional place; just seek to reach those who are bound by the same spirit that once bound you.
  9. Love them anyway.  Always remember that you are not perfect, and therefore, you can't hold someone to higher standard than yourself.  Sure, you may have been better to them than they were to you, but that's just life.  When I was in the world, I had an ex-boyfriend that I mistreated repeatedly because I wasn't too attracted to him.  I said whatever I wanted to say to him and I had no respect for him.  How can I get mad at someone for being a monster to me when I played the fanged felon with someone else?  We're all human, and we all make mistakes.  Love people regardless of what they do to you.  Just know when to separate yourself.  You can love folks from a distance.  As a matter of fact, it is easier to love unlovable folks from a distance.
  10. Get over yourself.  Pride will make us see our own wounds and unforgiveness will cause us to keep licking those wounds.  There is a bigger picture that we all most focus on; we can't sit around focusing on people and what they've done to us.  Humble yourself and instead of noticing what your enemy did to you, pay attention to what GOD has done for you.  At the same time, pray for those who hurt you because GOD still loves them, even when you're mad at them.  One of the greatest lies that the enemy has convinced believers of is to think that GOD is mad at everyone they're mad at.  Many believers think that they can release GOD to attack their enemies, and then, call off the attack once they're not mad anymore!  HE is GOD, not a canine!  The very minute they repented, GOD forgave them.  You just need to embrace forgiveness so you can join in the group hug that they're sharing (GOD and your enemy).

1 comment:

  1. This spoke to me when he came to seperating myself from certain people i have been struggling for years now about this because they are loved one and also number 8 i kniw God wants me to speak out especially about being molested but i have been so held back by fear and shame and guilt. I felt i received confirmation after confirmation