How to Forgive When Forgiveness is Hard
August 6, 2017
This is the continuation of a series of Podcasts started in Episode #556.
Forgiveness can be hard in small things, so how do we forgive a huge offense? Discover the little word with big power that God gave Martha years ago!
(Martha) Now, is there anything too hard to forgive? I saw a testimony recently of a man in a wheelchair. He’d been a wheelchair for forty years. And his forty-year-old son was standing beside him. A gangster – it was a random shooting – shot him in the head and paralyzed him. And he told the story of forgiving, and that he went back to find the boy and mentored him. The boy that shot him, he mentored him. And the newscaster said, “How did you forgive?” And he said, “Oh, I had to. I didn’t have a choice.”
(John) Um hmm.
(Martha) So, because he chose it, God’s forgiveness came to him in the power to forgive that comes from Christ alone. When you really choose to forgive, eventually the power of God is going to be there for the forgiveness to be actual. And you’ll be free.
(John) Um hmm.
(Martha) But it begins with a choice. And the choice is, “Let it be.” It is what it is.
(John) That’s a word that has been buzzing around you and about you for a number of years.
(Martha) Um hmm. Carole reminded me of where it began the other day. I don’t tell it in the book. But we were in Spain, and something very frightening was going on at home. I was very disturbed about it, and I sat in that beautiful courtyard, and I was crying out to God, because I was in Spain, and I could do nothing about it. And I couldn’t fix it, and I couldn’t have fixed it if I was home anyway. And I was imagining all kind of terrible outcomes. And the Lord said, “Let,” and my anguish completely vanished. All my fears, pain, hurt vanished. All my emotions vanished. And I went, “What on earth happened? What do You mean, ‘Let?”‘ He said, “Let Me be God, and let the situation be what the situation is.” And as it turned out, it went poof. All the difficulty of it at home went poof! There was nothing, it came to nothing, absolutely nothing. In fact, it came to a good outcome.
(John) A better outcome than you could have done if you had done it yourself.
(Martha) Exactly. And that’s where it began. And so, that word, let… And you know, someone reminded me this week that the word of creation was, “Let there be light.” And it actually means, the word let in Genesis, means be. It should be written, “Be light.” Let tells it better. But the word let is very powerful. Let God be God. And that’s why forgive – there’s a tremendous work of accepting the situation, and it can be done. You can do it by knowing God, by intimate relationship with God on that issue, so that you’re involved in a dialogue with. You’re involved with honesty with Him. You’re choosing. You’re praying, and you’re releasing. And as He works that situation through, no matter whether it’s well resolved to my pleasure or whether it goes on, nevertheless God is God over it. And man isn’t God, and Satan isn’t God. And that’s what you come to in forgiving. You come to the fact that God is God, and there is no situation that He isn’t over and beyond. So, but the more I’m listening to the Lord and working and hearing and writing and reading in the Bible, the more I came to understand that I think I want to change the name of the book. It’s called “Altogether,” which is one word, “Forgiven,” meaning you and I are altogether forgiven. That’s how I meant it. But what I’m beginning to see is, we are all together forgiven. You see it? It’s three words instead of two words. We’re all together in this. We’re all together in being forgiven by each other and forgiving and living forgiven. There’s a chapter called, “Living Forgiving,” and it means that once you tap into the great flow of God’s forgiveness, it’s like being caught up in a swell, in a flowing river that you are carried in forgiveness through life. It’s a place where you – There’s a place you come to where forgiveness is a constant belief, a proven belief and a constant faith that forgiveness is simply there, and it is already given. Forgiveness is given. And so, you give what’s already given to other people and to yourself. So, that’s the big, big thing. And so, it’s simple, but not easy.
(John) Um hmm, um hmm.
(Martha) Always, everything with God is so simple. Let it be. Let it be God’s. And I think there’s a whole devotional series on “Let“…
(John) There is.
(Martha) And it’s going to be coming up. I think Jennifer told me it’s going to be coming up soon. And it is one of my favorite words, because it’s so powerful. It means I’m not God. You’re God, so I let You have it. And I let it be what it is. And if He gives me a promise, I’ll let that promise be the issue. So, how do you know you’re forgiven? Well, that’s a very good question. This is the difficult one. You know you’re forgiven when you love and care about the person who hurt you.
(Martha) I’ve worn out, if I could have worn it off the page of Luke 6, “Love your enemies, pray for those who spitefully use you,” and that’s a command. And so, that’s what the ultimate goal is, whether they ever know it or not. Many times they won’t ever. There are some people you’ll never see again, so that they can see the love on your face. But amazingly God allows… This is how sovereign He is. This is not in the book. I need to write it; glad to get it. God sends people to you specifically that they will sin against you as a cry for help, as a proof they need God. And God trusts you sometimes, probably every time anybody offends you. It’s a trust…
(Martha) …from Him that you would forgive. And maybe this person is… There are people who have never had a prayer said for them and have never been forgiven by another human being. Forgiveness has enormous dynamic power over another person. I think it was Henry Groover said, “You forgive somebody, it lifts the burden of their sin just a little bit so they can face it.”
(Martha) And I know there are people who they are just a deliberate set up by God to send someone to you that desperately needs to feel forgiven, to be forgiven. And sometimes they’re the most cruel, because they’re so hurt and afraid and hateful. That’s real. So, you have to find out from God. You have to forgive for your own sake. If you don’t forgive… I had an experience recently where He called me to forgive someone, and I realized that if I didn’t do that, I would stand before God carrying all my sin before Him.
(John) Ummm, yeah, yeah.
(Martha) And that if I do not forgive, I’m not forgiven for anything. So, it’s your own, it’s for your own sake. God sets it up so it’s for your own sake that you forgive.
(John) Do you remember a number of years back, I think we talked about on a podcast (it was in a GetAlongWithGod post>>>click link), where I was talking about a man who had offended me? And that God said that He had literally tied my destiny to that man? Do you remember that?
(Martha) Yes, I do. Yes, I do. That’s well said. That’s what it is, tying your destiny.
(John) So, literally if I had not prayed, not forgiven and not done the work of dealing with that, that literally I would be thwarting my own destiny. But it was specific. It was grander than that, you know. That seems almost punitive. I’ve tied it so you have to do it. This was something almost like sling-shotting my destiny. “I’ve tied you so that this whole situation will bring glory.”
(Martha) There’s a number of times the Lord has taken me to Ezekiel 3, where it says if you warn a man who’s dying and he turns from his ways, his blood will not be on your hands, but if you don’t warn him and he goes and dies in his sin, his blood will be on your hands. That means murder. And the incentive to care about other people who are so difficult for me comes into that. There is a literal, Biblical base for what you’re saying, John. That if God makes you… And confrontation is bringing another person to the forgiveness they need. And that’s the goal of Matthew 18 too. It’s you take one, you go privately. If they don’t hear you, go with two. And then the next one is to bind and loose in prayer. So, you’re not released unless the Lord releases you…
(John) Um hmm.
(Martha) …from the person who offends you. And one of my most significant times was when I understood so clearly that God is behind—God’s sovereign. He’s absolutely on the throne over everything. And it’s proven by the fact that Satan had to ask to sift Peter. But Jesus had a purpose. And God had a purpose for Peter to be sifted and to find out he didn’t love Jesus enough to lay down his life for Him. It was to convert his brothers. It was for others. God lets you be deeply offended for the sake of others.
How to Forgive When Forgiveness is Hard – Episode #557 – Shulamite Podcast
Forgiveness can be difficult under the best of circumstances, so what do we do when the offense is huge? How do we forgive a wound so deep that it’s changed the very fabric of life for us? Discover the little word with big power that God gave Martha years ago!