THE ART OF FORGIVENESS
Look at the structure of this adverb Forgiveness. Break it down into two parts and you’ll find that to forgive is to be forgiven and to be forgiven leads to forgiveness.
What do you value?
What is the substance of your life?
The buzzword of the industrialized world for a long time was “Mission Statement.” That brought forth a mirade of fancy paragraphs of nice sounding statements. “Our mission is to provide the customer with blah blah blah.” Reality and truth would require a mission statement to read something like this; “ Our mission is to turn as much profit as we possibly can from our customers. All of our decisions will be based on this.”
Or; “Our mission is to keep our heads above water so that we can provide services that are needed to those less fortunate.” Sadly though; mission statements rarely voiced the company’s true mission in life.
Later; the whole mission thing would run through six sigma, and a host of other projects that would make the worker feel empowered. To be empowered that is to produce more product.
Some companies actually came up with Core Values. Some actually followed these core values until the sole proprietorship turned into a corporation.
Just my rant.
What Influences you?
Life is complicated and seldom are simple decisions are made.
Most are made with the influence of many different factors involved.
Very seldom is a decision a clear Black _ White Usually there are many shades of gray.
The answer may come out black-white, yea-nay “but conditional.”
What influenced our decision?
What influenced our lives?
Usually what ever it takes to make it quiet
This cannot always be obtained
It is modified by our core values
Modified by our core values.
And sometimes distorted.
We watched as our daddy dealt with everyday situations.
We watched as he dealt with hard situations.
We watched as he dealt with our mother and siblings.
We watched as he dealt with their friends.
We watched as he dealt with our friends. Or didn’t.
This all became normal to us.
If his view of life was distorted then our values became distorted.
Then at times we would reject their value and replace it with another more favorable one.
Such is life.
Life goes on as it does and then we encounter Christ.
Any encounter with Christ is a life-changing event no matter how large or small it may be. When you walk away from that encounter you are forever changed. You will meet thousands of people in your life and some will be life changing but most will not be such. But Christ never touches a life without changing it. I’ll say that again; “Christ Always Changes The One He Touches or Encounters.” Always.
Sheep Follow the Shepherd
Life brings a shepherd into your life.
This man has had his encounter with Christ and Christ’s core values. This shepherd’s new core values will still be tainted with his past values and regardless of what he teaches or preaches, the sheep will look like the shepherd. They watch just as we did our daddy to see how he handled life’s situations. Our new values will be tainted with the shepherd’s and then modified with ours.
Do you see him as a hard-mouthed man rebuking the Pharisees?
A mean man rebuking Peter?
A sarcastic saying “You know not what spirit your of”
You generation of vipers.
A compassionate man speaking to the woman at the well.
At the pool of Bethesda
To the man with the withered hand?
Have you really ever determined who Christ is? What He is? How he handled life’s daily decisions?
Did you ever put on his sandals and walked the dusty roads of Israel?
What would you say to those that followed you across the Sea of Galilee to hear more of what you had to say?
Images of Christ range from some effeminate creature to a craggy root out of dry ground persona..
Francis Hook portrayed him with an image that sticks in mind.
All of that is just the physical container that carried those Core Values around while he was on earth.
You cannot judge a book by its cover but you must look at what is within. It’s like;
“The man’s resume looked great and his qualifications checked out. But his values were flawed.”
And such is life.
Jewish religious beliefs limited forgiveness to three times. Peter doubled it and added one for measure when he asked, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?.” Jesus took it to a new level; all the way to the level of the symbolism for eternity by using seven times seventy. The meaning is simple; once you forgive, it is forgotten. And if forgotten, then it never happened. There is no scorebook in the heart of God. We may pray; “God I did it again. Will you forgive me Please?” God looks puzzled because forgiveness means it never happened before.
This is a very important portion of the LOVE CORE VALUE we are looking at.
The ditty; “Fool; me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” has no place in the Kingdom of God. Repentance and forgiveness is just that. It is to be forgotten.
Our usual modis operendi is we move forward with caution keeping our reserve against another attack. We put the offender on probation, waiting for them to repeat the offence. This is not the will of God. The response Jesus received from his disciples was succinct, to the point;
Luk 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
Mat 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Mat 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Luk 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
Luk 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luk 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
Luk 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Luk 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
The Nine Fruit of the Spirit
Every action that Jesus took was base on certain Core Values. These Core Values are those He received from His Father. The result of those Core Values will manifest itself in the Fruit of the Spirit.
There are Nine listed here in
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
. But the fruit of the Spirit is Love; (let me explain it to you more clearly) Joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. If you manifest the fruit (singular) of the Spirit, which is pure Love, then this will be the result. Lord increase our faith.
Paul spoke under the anointing in I Corinthians 13:4-8 defining Charity (LOVE)
Charity suffereth long,
charity envieth not;
charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly,
seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked,
thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity,
but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things,
believeth all things,
hopeth all things,
endureth all things.
Charity never faileth:
Isn’t this an explanation of Galatians 5:22?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Love God topped out.
Mar 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Job said it this way to define his relationship with God.
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him
What is central in the Love of God?
We call it Tough Love when in reality it is simply true love.
The decisions that are made concerning our children and spouses usually contain a great deal of self-involvement and they are not made with the Love of God as the core. We become permissive because of their crying, moaning, whining, or just simply to make them smile. God does not bend nor sway from doing what is necessary to develop us into the image He desires for us. We cry for the will of God while desiring the will of the flesh to be done. God puts us on the potter’s wheel then fires us in the furnace of adversity to develop us into a usable vessel. We throw more water on the clay of our children thinking that it will make it easier for them. We remember our hardships and don’t want them for our children. We forget that it is just these hardships that have made us into the man of God that we are. It’s the winds of adversity that builds the roots of the trees that stand against the tornados of life. God stands aside with tears in his eyes as we cry against the pain that life has given us. Then God puts us in position to put our pain aside to help someone else in his or her distress. Our children fall down and scrape their knees, and we run and pick them up, dress their wounds, and dry their tears. But, in reality, they need to shake off the pain of life, get up, wipe off the gravel of life from their wound, and move on, much stronger from the experience. It’s not what we can give our children or spouses that will make them into men and women of God, it’s what we don’t give them that will do so. God does not reward us for good performance in this life. Good performance is expected.
Holy Ghost is Essential
The modification of current learned values requires a strong emotional trauma to change and the results are not always good.
Adaptation is not the answer
The replacement of the learned values comes from a Spiritual Heart transplant
The complete removal of our heart of stone
And the replacement of a heart of flesh from the heart of God.
We are speaking of CORE VALUES that will guide you in ALL your relationships.
How do I use These Core Values in Everyday Life?
Your new CORE VALUES cannot be assaulted because they are foundational truth of the universe.
No defense is necessary
It is Absolute
Understood by all, I mean ALL.
Have you ever called someone to question about some action they have made?
Your children? Wife? Coworker?
“Why did you hit Fred in the nose?”
“I hit him because he called me a name.” “He assaulted my learned values and I had to defend them.”
“Hey Tom, why did you leave that empty reel of wire on the machine at shift change?”
“He would have done that to me.”
And so it goes. We must defend our learned values and give reasons why we treated someone shabby.
But the CORE VALUE of the universe never needs defended because it is the basis of all creation.
Our mental image of God shapes our image. The idea that God is love is distorted by concepts ingrained in our minds form years of listening to others tell us so.
The image may consist of such a thing as God watching over your every move and you had better not screw up because God will get you.
Love is not like that.
Love is direct.
You do not have to guess about love.
Love does give second, third or seven times seventy chances but only after repatriation is accomplished.
Love is direct.
Love will allow you to error but will not hold back the consequences.
“Tough love” is the name given by physiologists but this is the true basis of love.
Given here are seven types of love.
That is why there is confusion in our minds concerning the definition of love.
Of the seven, the core value that we are speaking of is called Agape.
Jesus Christ separated it into three types:
1. Agape = Spirit
2. Philautia = Soul
3. Eros = Body
Spirit, Soul and Body
The only one we are concerned with here is Agape, which is Strong as death.
True Agape is extremely rare in our human flesh. It is spoken of as though it is truly obtainable in a human state.
But is usually tainted be some altruistic leaning. Attempted with a goal in mind. Which defeats the definition of Agape. Agape has no return value. It is strictly one direction love. UNIDIRECTIONAL.
A farmer takes care of his livestock because of the reward that he can receive from the care given. A man that has a dog for a companion will care for his pet. Is this agape? No because his reward is the dog’s devotion to him giving him a sense of purpose and comfort. Is the dog’s love for his companion agape? More so than that of his master. Why? Because the dog’s love requires nothing of the master. This definition too is tainted because the master began this relationship by his devotion to the dog. Petting, feeding, cuddling, walking, playing tug of war and throw the ball type of responsive training. It is more of a learned response. Does agape require one to develop another? A-love will require everything and anything of the A-love person. A-love will care for his wife when she is sick, broken, hospitalized, mentally washed of all memories, hurt by them, betrayed by them, rejected by them or abused. A-love requires no responsive result.
Paul said it this way;
· Charity suffereth long,
· is kind;
· charity envieth not;
· charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
· Doth not behave itself unseemly,
· seeketh not her own,
· is not easily provoked,
· thinketh no evil;
· Rejoiceth not in iniquity,
· but rejoiceth in the truth;
· Beareth all things,
· believeth all things,
· hopeth all things,
· endureth all things.
· Charity never faileth:
to be long spirited, that is, (objectively) forbearing or (subjectively) patient: - bear (suffer) long, be longsuffering, have (long) patience, be patient, patiently endure.
Mat 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Luk 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
Heb 6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Jas 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
show oneself useful, act benevolently: employed, useful (in manner or morals): - better, easy, good (-ness), gracious, kind. e); to furnish, to employ or to act towards one in a given manner: - entreat
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Luk 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
1Pe 2:3-4 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
--To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
· charity envieth not;
To have warmth of feeling for or against: - affect, covet (earnestly), (have) desire, (move with) envy, be jealous over, (be) zealous (-ly affect).
(Act 7:9) And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,
(Act 17:5) But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
(1Co 12:31) But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
(1Co 14:1) Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
(1Co 14:39) Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
(Gal 4:17) They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.
(Gal 4:18) But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
(Jas 4:2) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
(Rev 3:19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
· charity vaunteth not itself,
braggart; to boast: - vaunt itself.
Modern english would be; “to perpetuate”
Bragging about yourself to increase your image. To hold yourself up for others to see. Maybe to make memorable? It goes along with “puffed up” May extend to naming something after yourself. Edison library, Becker towers, Feremi lab Johnson method, and so on Baptized in the name of Paul
Joh 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
· is not puffed up,
The primary sense of blowing; to inflate, that is, (figuratively) make proud (haughty): - puff up. Arrogance,
1Co 4:6) And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
(1Co 4:18) Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
(1Co 4:19) But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
(1Co 5:2) And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
(1Co 8:1) Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
(Col 2:18) Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
· 1Co 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly,
From G809; to be (that is, act) unbecoming: - behave self uncomely (unseemly).
inelegant: dishonorably, not doing the right thing, not treating properly
(1Co 7:35) And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
1Co 7:36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.
· seeketh not her own,
Of uncertain affinity; require, (X will) seek (after, for, means). Compare G4441. Does not demand something that is due.
And this along with G1438
reflexive pronoun (dative or accusative) they, thyself, you, your (own, own conceits, own selves, -selves). My own; mine
Mat 18:28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
[He was seeking his own, that owed to him]
Look at this In comparison to being selfish. Selfish is not sharing, keeping all to yourself but here is this not speaking of that part due you? This is hard to comprehend. Should I not try to get what is owed to me? Am I to simply ignore it?
Luk 6:30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
A lesson on loaning; If you give and ask nothing in return, there isn’t any room to be upset with your brother for not returning it too you. Don’t give if you cannot do it cheerfully or do without. After all; 1Co 4:7 -----and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?
· is not easily provoked,
From G3844 and a derivative of G3691; to sharpen alongside, that is, (figuratively) to exasperate: - easily provoke, stir.
Act 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
Exasperated. Is not easily exasperated. aggravated, bothered, annoyed, galled, irked, irritated, peeved, put out, teed off, vexed
· thinketh no evil;
Middle voice, to take an inventory, that is, estimate (literally or figuratively): - conclude, (ac-) count (of), + despise, esteem, impute, lay, number, reason, reckon, suppose, think (on).
Apparently a primary word; worthless (intrinsically such; whereas properly refers to effects), that is, (subjectively) depraved, or (objectively) injurious: - bad, evil, harm, ill, noisome, wicked.
Mark 11:31 reasoned; Mark 15:28 numbered; Luke 22:37 reckoned;
Love thinks no evil, does not reason, number, reckon, count, impute, esteem, suppose any wrong thing about or too anyone or thing.
· 1Co 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity,
This goes along with and further differentiates the previous attribute; love thinketh no evil
A primary verb; to be full of “cheer”, that is, calmly happy or well off; impersonal especially as a salutation (on meeting or parting), be well: - farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, hail, joy (-fully), rejoice.
From G94; (legal) injustice (properly the quality, by implication the act); moral wrongfulness (of character, life or act): - iniquity, unjust, unrighteousness, wrong.
This is easily understood. Love does not get glad when something bad happens to someone. When something bad happens to a person that has treated you unfairly, you are not to rejoice over it. Actually, you were to forgive and pray for that individual. On the other side; when wrong, injustice, unrighteousness or hurt is demonstrated, love is saddened.
· but rejoiceth in the truth;
From G4862 and G5463; to sympathize in gladness, congratulate: - rejoice in (with).
From G227; truth: - true, X truly, truth, verity.
Truth is absolute. Never requires defending. Truth is the fire in a diamond. The deep blood red of the ruby.
The sweet breath of your true love.
The anointing oil of God on the lips of the speaker.
It does not require definition, explanation nor apologetics.
You do not have to remember truth.
Truth is the single lineal aspect of the laser.
Truth is as comfortable as a mother’s hug.
Truth is the chief corner stone of the kingdom of God.
Truth is the sound of birds singing after the storm has passed.
How could you not rejoice in it?
Truth is so easy to use in a conversation. You don’t have to invent it nor remember it.
· 1Co 13:7 Beareth all things,
From G4721; to roof over, that is, (figuratively) to cover with silence (endure patiently): - (for-) bear, suffer.
1Co 9:12) If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer G4722 cover, bear, suffer with silence all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
471Th 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
1Th 2:15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
1Th 2:16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
1Th 3:1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, G4722 cover, bear, suffer with silence we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;
1Th 3:4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
1Th 3:5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, G4722 cover, bear, suffer with silence I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
To stand in the face of adversity and man up. To have GRIT SAND MOXIE.
· believeth all things,
From G4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): - believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.
Including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole: - all (manner of, means) alway (-s), any (one), X daily, + ever, every (one, way), as many as, + no (-thing), X throughly, whatsoever, whole, whosoever.
Albert Barnes Commentary ;”in regard to the conduct of others, there is a disposition to put the best construction on it; to believe that they may be actuated by good motives, and that they intend no injury; and that there is a willingness to suppose, as far as can be, that what is done is done consistently with friendship, good feeling, and virtue. Love produces this, because it rejoices in the happiness and virtue of others, and will not believe the contrary except on irrefragable evidence.”
“It takes the good side first.”
· hopeth all things,
Albert Barnes Commentary “Hopeth all things - Hopes that all will turn out well. This must also refer to the conduct of others; and it means, that however dark may be appearances; how much soever there may be to produce the fear that others are actuated by improper motives or are bad people, yet that there is a “hope” that matters may be explained and made clear; that the difficulties may be made to vanish; and that the conduct of others may be made to “appear” to be fair and pure. Love will “hold on to this hope” until all possibility of such a result has vanished and it is compelled to believe that the conduct is not susceptible of a fair explanation. This hope will extend to “all things” - to words and actions, and plans; to public and to private contact; to what is said and done in our own presence, and to what is said and done in our absence. Love will do this, because it delights in the virtue and happiness of others, and will not credit anything to the contrary unless compelled to do so.”
· endureth all things.
Albert Barnes Commentary Endureth all things – “Bears up under, sustains, and does not complain. Bears up under all persecutions at the hand of man; all efforts to injure the person, property, or reputation; and hears all that may be laid upon us in the providence and by the direct agency of God; compare Job_13:15. The connection requires us to understand it principally of our treatment at the hands of our fellow-men.”
Each of these attributes of LOVE seem to overlap each other. One blends in and becomes the next and so on until the total image of Christ is formed in our minds and hearts. This image is of the Father also and transcribed to us in His mortal form as the man Jesus Christ. The image of God sitting in the Heaven with a scepter in his right hand and passing judgment and punishment for infringements of his will dims in the bright light of truth written in the Bible.
The song; “There’s and eye watching you, every day mind the coarse you pursue” does not aptly describe the God that I serve. God is definitely watching over me to keep me from injuring myself. He’s there to instruct, guide, nurture, and build me into the man of God that he has imaged for me.
· Charity never faileth
There are very few thing in life that you can explicitly depend upon. Very few aspects that can be relied upon. Very few actions you can depend upon to produce good results. When I look over Scripture, verses such as Pro 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Or
Pro 25:15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.
Pro 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
I understand that in dealing with others; my family, friends, business associates, the waitress at Dennys or the cold caller on the phone, my reactions must be based on this Core Value of Love.
Core values such as “the bottom line of a corporation” will leave much to be desired.
The core values of a humanistic life are sorely lacking in depth, scope, and time enduring strength and they will fail you when the going gets tough.
The scope of human reasoning is limited to this life that we live. And possibly rightly so. The Christian must lift his eyes unto the hills from whence his help cometh and find an expanded view of the kingdom of God. The veil of humanism drops aside and the dimension of Spirituality fills the view. It is the infinity pool of understanding. The perspective view that disappears in the distance.
If I can convince you of anything; let it be that the Kingdom of God and His righteousness is based solely on this core value called LOVE.