Hope you all had a joyous Christmas. Welcome back to the She Who Honors 5 week challenge! Be the she who honors God with her everything!
Week 4: She who honors God by forgiving others (and herself).
I am sure you have seen or heard of movies, tv shows, videos and read books that had revenge in it. A husband who tracks down and kills those who killed his wife. Girls getting back at another girl who disses (disrespects her).
A wife who slashes her husbands’ car tires and burns his clothes when he is caught cheating on her. A man who kills his wife when she threatens to leave. Someone gets offended by something that was posted online and they post gossip and untruths to hurt the other person.
What is missing in these plots or story lines…? No one is quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. (see James 1:19). The characters immediately plot revenge for the offense (sin against them) and don’t forgive the offender. Forgiveness is pardoning an offense. Think of a judge who pardons a criminal from a crime he has committed. Or a debt that doesn’t need repayment.
Most of these movies, books, tv shows and videos are usually general media, not Christian media. One of the main Christian tenants is forgiveness, a clean slate because of Jesus.
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. Romans 3:22-25c NLT
Let’s think on that for a second. Jesus gave His life for you and me, he took on our sins, offenses, crimes and other dumb things we have done so we can be in the presence of our awesome God. Yet we can get offended at trivial things that someone has said or done and may even hold grudges against that person for life. Or plot our revenge! It sounds really dumb if you think about it.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not trivializing us getting hurt. It is no fun and can cause some serious heartbreak. However, taking offense and getting revenge is not how God wants us to deal with it. God wants us to forgive others as he has forgiven us. Remember we are made new in Jesus; trivial things should not get us so testy (when we are in the spirit).
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15 NLT
I pray you see the pattern of the challenge – putting God first, keeping our minds on what is pure, true, right, healthy thoughts and emotions etc., bearing the fruits of the Spirit and today forgiveness are all things and characteristics of the Spirit in us. When we go back to our default flesh is when we get offended, angry, an attitude and sometimes a little bit of self-righteousness, too. Stay in the word!! It leads us to the path of righteousness, wisdom and a thriving life.
Revenge is never a good idea. What does it solve?
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”[g]
says the Lord.” Romans 12:17-19 NLT
Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. When someone does us wrong forgiveness doesn’t condone what the person did. We give it to God and let him handle it. Remember everyone will have consequences to their choices. When we don’t forgive and hold on to grudges it can actually affect us physically and mentally. We can get illnesses, stress, stomach issues and other ailments from holding on to that offense.
Most importantly if we don’t forgive others God will not forgive us.
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15 NLT
Lastly, I want to speak about forgiving yourself. Please forgive yourself, too. I believe us Christians can be hard on ourselves. We are supposed to be living right and a good role model that when we fall we can beat ourselves up. I know I have done it to myself. But God knows our hearts. If we are truly sorry, confess our sin or sins to God ask forgiveness and repent, which means to be truly sorry and change our ways. Then forgive yourself. He forgives us and wipes the slate clean. He doesn’t bring it up, he doesn’t ruminate on our sin, it is done! We need to remember that when the wrong we did creeps up in our mind or something triggers that memory. Say I’m forgiven when it comes up, put it in the vault and seal it tight. It may take some time, but it will happen.
Day 4 challenge. If you have been carrying a grudge, hurt, offense and unforgiveness for someone forgive them. You don’t have to tell them you forgive them because some people don’t even realize they offended you and then that can be a whole other issue! Write it down and lay it at the altar. Give it to God. Forgive yourself, too. Let’s start a new slate for everyone, just like God did for us when Jesus died for our sins.
Thanks for taking the She Who Honors challenge. I pray that you are getting emboldened, enlightened, compelled and educated to be the She Who Honors God with her everything. It is awesome to see how lives are changed when we honor God, trust and obey Him.
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Christina Leeman MPH, CHES, writer and health educator, emboldens women to be the She Who Honors God with her all - body, thoughts, words, actions.
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