Monday, July 4, 2016

Act Your Way Into A New Way Of Thinking

I have heard several teachings on what forgiveness really is.
Why we should forgive.....

The benefits of forgiving, and the dark side of unforgivness.
I've have read books that elevate forgiveness and the one who offers it to a level that is almost angelic.
Truth is, it is easy to read, listen and watch others tell you what you should do, but it is a whole other ballgame when it comes to walking out this thing call forgiveness.

I've been parked in Luke chapter six this past weekend, and Jesus really hammered me with the fact that forgiveness is not just a heart attitude, but a life action that we must take.
It's more than simple saying "I forgive you!". The words and attitude of our hearts have to translate into action and behavior.

Jesus said, "But to you who are willing to listen, I say love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you."
I love the way Jesus started those verses off.......
"To you who are willing to listen."  Those who are to the point that they are willing to do whatever it takes to be free of the bondage and prison that is unforgiveness. You turn loose of all the pain and hurt that has been heaped on you. You recognize your part that you played in this life drama.

I remember years ago a man who was going through the program at Rapha. He was full of anger, bitterness and unforgiveness because those who thought were his best friends rolled on him when they were arrested by the police. It meant that he had to spend time in prison while his so called friends got much lighter sentences. When I taught on forgiving, he wanted no part of it. You could see the unforgiveness consuming a little bit of him each day. He was a truly miserable person. Finally he came to me to talk about what he needed to do to find peace. Now the positive thing about this individual was that he truly was ready to change, and he even said that he was willing to do whatever it took to move beyond his addiction so that he could have a life. As we talked, I told him that forgiving someone was not based on how you felt toward the individual. It was all about doing the right thing. That your forgiveness was not based on whether you felt like it or not, but was simply a choice you made. You choose to forgive!

I asked him if he was serious about his recovery, and he told me he was.
I told him that for the next 21 days, every morning when he woke up, to pray and tell God that you forgive these men who turned you in to the police. I told him that he needed to tell God that he didn't really want to do this, but knew it was a part of moving forward so he was going to forgive. Guess what? Before the 21 days were up, the man's attitude and heart toward those who had wronged him changed. The bitterness left and the anger was put down. For the first time in his life he found real peace. He even came and told me that if his friends had not turned him into the police, he might never have been in a position where he chose going to treatment. In fact, he told me he'd probably be dead.

I guess it really is true what we use to teach at Rapha.
"You don't think your way into a new of acting.....You act your way into a new way of thinking."

Our minds tells us that we don't need to forgive.
But our hearts instruct us to do it anyway.
As we make the choice to "Act in accordance to forgiveness"....our minds catch up and are changed by these new behaviors that we have incorporated into our daily lives.

Now that's some good stuff right there.....
Wouldn't you say?

God on you....

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