2016-11-04

Everything You Need to Know About Forgiveness

Forgiving others is a key virtue of your character and the secret to a happy and successful life. However it is a very difficult to do. There are many hindrances and excuses not to do it. But there are ways to help you so that you can live in freedom and joy.
Why should I forgive?
  • - God commanded it.
    • - Mat_6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
      • Mat_6:12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    • - Mat_6:15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
      • Mat_18:35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
    • Luk_6:37 "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
    • Eph_4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
  • - Good for us
    • - Remove our bitterness and hatred
    • - Free us from bondage
    • - Bring us healings
      • Mat_9:2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven."
      • Jas_5:15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
    • - Obtain forgiveness for ourselves
      • Mat_9:6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"—he then said to the paralytic—"Rise, pick up your bed and go home."
    • You are truly His disciples for Christ also forgive those who crucified Him.
What is Forgiveness?
  • Forgiving the people, including yourself, that hurt us and bring a closure to the bad experience of the past.
  • - It is an act of your will and not by feelings
    • of released and peace will come when you truly forgive.
  • - Forgiveness is a process.
    • It takes time for the Holy Spirit to heal the inner heart. Luk_7:47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little."
Who should I forgive?
  • Others
    • Luk_17:3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,
    • 2Co_2:7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.

  • Yourself
    • for the mistakes that you made
      • - the cause of your present suffering
      • - if only I did to make do that.
      • - the loss of money
      • - the wrongs committed against yourself eg chemicals addictions
    • - 1Jn_1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1Jn_2:12 I am writing to you, little children because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake.
  • God
When should I forgive?
  • immediately
    • Mar_11:25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
    • as soon as possible
  • of past events and people
Where to forgive?
  • You can forgive right where you are. It is not necessary to go back to the crime scene.
How to forgive?
  • 1. Know that god has forgiven us
    • Mat_26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
    • Mar_3:28 "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,
    • Col_3:13 ... forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
  • 2. Look to the past
    • - be specific
      • to the person and
      • to the wrongful acts
      • at a particular time and place
    • Mat_26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
  • 3. Do it now
    • get help from others and the Holy Spirit if you have difficulty
  • 4. Look to the future
    • know that God is the judge and will judge them. God will vindicate you of your hurts and injustices did to you.
  • 5. Examples of Jesus & Stephen
    • Luk_23:34 And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.
  • - Seven Hindrances learned from Ps John Liu's sermon:
    • a. Not knowing that forgiveness is commanded by the Bible
    • b. Misunderstand that must have the feeling first in order to forgive.(Fact - Forgive first then feeling will come eventually - It is a Process)
    • c. Too deep a hurt so could not forgive.
    • d. Misunderstand that forgiveness is about ignoring the actual injury.
      • (It is facing the injury and bringing closure to the hurt through forgiving and healing by God)
    • e. Misunderstand that you have already forgiven when actually you have not.
    • f. Misunderstand that the one who forgives is to be weaker and not to forgive is to have the right to win against others.
    • g. Under the hindrances of the demonic spirits of unforgiveness and control.
How can you know you have truly forgiven him/her?
  • - when you don't feel the pains to recall the events and the perpetrator
  • - when you can calmly greet the perpetrator
  • - when you don't make any demand on him/her to repay back.
    • It is like he owes you and yet you did not demand that he pays you back.
  • - better still, you can pray for blessings upon him/her.
How Many/How much?
  • Seventy times seven
    • Luk_17:4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' you must forgive him."
Forgiveness and Forget
  • Forgiveness is not about forgetting the betrayals and hurts. It is about not being held in bondage to the bitterness and hatred and the desires to take revenge.
Forgiveness and Trust
  • Forgiveness is not about trusting again. In fact, forgiveness is about resetting the trust offered earlier to nothing and the forgiven person needs to earn the trust again. 
Lao Zi also tells us about forgiveness. 
See if you can learn some more from:
By Lim Liat (c) 4-11-16

2016-10-16

The Meaning and Value of Life, is the length of vital important?

The calling away of a young brother in Christ triggered some reflections on the value of our lives. It is not about how its length, its enjoyment, its wealth, nor about the suffering but rathere on whether we have completed the His calling for us. Only by the yardstick of our calling could we understand and accept life with its all joys and also all the pains.
Why God? 
Very sad to hear the news of the passing away of my former pastor' son. We saw how he has grown up, from one of the best Sunday School children, to a young man, a husband, and a good father. He was only 38 years old. He had fought and lived victoriously for 8 years against the brain tumor. He never ever raised any "Why me?" or any complaint against God, his father told me. I have no words to comfort the father. For I am tempted to ask, "why God?". We have witnessed many miracle healings of God even in this very church that his father served as a pastor. Why not heal him? He is still so young and the children are very young too.  I have to rethink about the meaning of life, and the purpose of God.

What is the yardstick to measure the value of life?
Must life be long in order to be useful and valuable?
Must we be married?
Must we have a family?
Must we have children that grow up well?
Must we have a good career, with a good salary, to live a comfort and luxury life?
Must we have wealth to give generously to others?
On the other hand, is a tragedy bad? Is an accidental bad? Is sickness bad? Is suffering bad?

What about Jesus? 
What about the martyrs, especially the young children, because of their refusal to denounce their faith in Jesus?

The key: 
Then I remember reading the life story of Jim Elliot when I was young. He was killed by the very people who he wanted to share the gospels with. His famous quote that touched my heart, that caused to response to a prayer to dedicated my own life too, to Jesus, as follows:

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

The Yardstick
The yardstick for our life, it not how long it is. It is not about how wonderful, not about family, not about career, and nor about sickness nor tragedy nor whatever. It is all about the call of God on our life and whether we live out the His purpose in us that He has created us for.

Paul in his departing message wrote, 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

The key is whether we complete the race that God has call and put us in. Paul finished his. My young brother had surely completed his. 

Before this, Paul said, Phi 1v21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. ....  24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body

So we know, even heaven is a better place for us to go quickly, we are here to accomplish the purpose and calling God has for us. When our work is done, then God will call us back. Each in different ways, some we may think is great, even some ways where we may think it was bad. Because in whatever way we leave this world, God has His purpose and is for the benefits of some others. We will all find that out when we meet Jesus.

What is Greatness?
In 2 Tim 4:7 cited above, Paul gave 3 points 
  1. I have fought the good fight, 
  2. I have finished the race, 
  3. I have kept the faith.
Paul's teaching matches with my learning from Ancient Chinese Wisdom. It resonates with what Mencius said about being a greaet person - staying to one faith no matter what. Here are the details.

Mencius defines What is a Great Person.
孟子 “居天下之广居,立天下之正位,行天下之大道;得志与民由之,不得志独行其道;富贵不能淫,贫贱不能移,威武不能屈:此之谓大丈夫。” 
He lives with heart concern about the board world,
stands at the right position under the world,
walk out the great way of God.
When he is successful, he shared his success with the people.
Even when is not successful, he continues to stick to the righteous way.
Wealth and fame do not corrupt him.
Poverty and low position do not change him.
Power and threat do not succumb him.
That person is truly the great one.

Lao Zi defines what is longevity
Lao Zi gives a very interesting definition of longevity. It has nothing to do with the length of our life ata all. 

In Dao De Jing Chapter 33 verse 4 不失其所者久,死而不亡者寿。
Being true to oneself is lasting. Died and yet his legacy lives on is a long life.

Longevity is being true to oneself, to one faith, to his God, no matter what ---- unyielding to the temptation of richness, fame, lusts neither giving in to the pressure of persecutions, threats and sickness. He has fought a good fight. He has kept the faith. He has completed the race.

What is more? Leaving a legacy of good influence that touches the lives of present generations and generations to come. That's is truly a long life.

My young brother in Christ had not just finished the race, but left behind a legacy of an exemplifying life that touches not just all our lives and the future generations.

We shall all meet again in the great feast of the Lamb.

Lim Liat (c) 16 Oct 2016