29 Feb Benefits of Forgiveness
Last Sunday, Pastor Ken preached the message: “Gospel Love at Work” from 2 Corinthians 1:23-2:4. We considered the abundant love that Paul had for the Corinthians, which ultimately drove Paul to work together with them for their joy in Christ. Ken termed this as “gospel love” and exhorted us to love each other deeply with gospel love. Through Paul’s example, we learned that gospel love exercises patience, advances joy in the faith, and exercises discipline.
Read: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11
This Sunday, Pastor Ken will preach from 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, and we will see Paul’s gospel love in further action as he extends forgiveness to a wayward Corinthian church member and exhorts the Corinthians to do the same. As you prepare your heart for our corporate gathering, let this article from Chuck Lawless motivate you to extend forgiveness to any who sin against you.
Reflect: “Benefits of Forgiveness”
Forgiving others who hurt us or our loved ones isn’t easy. In fact, it’s often a battle. What we don’t think about are the positive things that happen when we do forgive, and that’s the intent of this post. (And, if you wonder if you need to forgive somebody, check out: “9 Questions to Determine if You Need to Forgive Someone” before reading the rest of this post).
- We experience and extend the love of God. God is a forgiving God, compassionate and slow to anger (Psa 86:15). When we forgive as He has forgiven us (Col 1:13), we reflect His heart.
- We stand up for righteousness. That’s because forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you approve whatever happened; rather, forgiveness means we “consciously choose to let God be the one who determines the appropriate course of action in dealing justly with the offending person.”[i]We don’t ignore the sin when we forgive.
- We welcome the Holy Spirit’s continuing process of conforming us to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29). To forgive is to be like Jesus, and forgiving others is evidence of our ongoing sanctification.
- We break one of the enemy’s holds on our lives. Satan and his forces want us to be angry, bitter, unforgiving, seeking revenge. When we do forgive, though, we dislodge him in our lives.
- We experience the heart freedom of grace. Frankly, it’s painful and consuming to hang on to heartache. On the other hand, there’s nothing quite like the freedom and joy we experience when we release yesterday’s pain.
- We let go of one idol in our lives. If we choose to hold on to unforgiveness when the Bible calls us to forgive (Luke 11:4, Col 3:13), we’re walking in disobedience. Choosing to hold on to our anger is idolatry.
- We open the door to God’s forgiveness. Jesus is clear that if we don’t forgive others, our own relationship with God is hindered (Matt 6:14-15). Thus, our granting forgiveness is not only a mark of God’s love in us, but it’s also a means to experience God’s grace.
- We witness to the world. Few things show the transforming power of the gospel like forgiving an enemy does. Folks can’t understand a love that genuinely forgives.
- We sleep better. At least I do. Other things may keep me awake, but it won’t be my bitterness toward others and my own disobedience toward God.
“9 Things that Happen When We Forgive Others,” February 26, 2020 Blog Article, by Chuck Lawless
Sing: Song List for Sunday
1. “Alive in Us,” by Hillsong Worship
2. “The Wonderful Cross,” Arr. Joel Engle
3. “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone),” by Chris Tomlin
4. “King of Kings,” by Hillsong Worship