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Monday, May 13, 2013

Too Hard

Forgiveness, Bible, Christian, Corrie Ten Boom, Robert Sadler
One Nazi guard in the concentration camp was especially cruel to Corrie and her sister Betsy. Betsy died before the end of the war, but Corrie survived to tell their story. Imagine her surprise when this former guard attended one of her talks, extended his hand, and asked her forgiveness.   
Robert’s father sold him and two of his sisters into slavery where one sister was murdered and Robert was cruelly mistreated. When he and his other sister finally gained their freedom, they discovered that their father was sick and homeless.  

What would you do in Corrie and Robert's shoes?

Corrie took the hand of her former guard and forgiveness flooded her soul. Robert and his sister took their father into their home and cared for him the remainder of his life. 

Forgiveness isn't easy, but it's essential to our spiritual health.

Has someone offended you? Seek our God "who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20). 

To read these marvelous stories of forgiveness: The Hiding Place and Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom; The Emancipation of Robert Sadler by Robert Sadler and Marie Chapian.

Bible Study

I'm not sure we can study forgiveness too much. I know I often need a refresher course because injustice is part of life.

1.Three helpful things to remember: 

Stuart Miles, Free Digital Photos
One. All of us will be offended and unjustly treated at times and all of us will be tempted to remain bitter and unforgiving, but others have forgiven and so can we! 
1 Corinthians 10:13No temptation[to remain unforgiving] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Two. The closer and more meaningful the relationship, the more painful and difficult the forgiveness will be. But God's power is enough!

Jeremiah 32:17 (NLT): "O Sovereign LORD! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!"

Philippians 4:13 (NLT): "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." 

Three. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we approve or excuse our offenders sin. It means we give up our desire to get even, and we give up bitter thoughts. 

Romans 12:9-21:  9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

2. Since God asks us commands us to forgive, what confidence can we have? 

1 John 5:3:  this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome  

2 Peter 1:3,4:  3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

2 Corinthians 10:4,5:  4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I'd love to have you share ways that God has helped you forgive offenses.
image: Free Digital Photos;
© copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com 
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted
After you do this study, check out my insights HERE. And I'd like to hear yours.

For supplemental reading check out these 1-Minute Bible Love Notes:
Freedom of Forgiveness
Sometimes I'm An Elephant

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