Forgive Others Quickly

Forgive Others Quickly

Chapter One

Forgive Others Quickly
Ridding Yourself Of Prejudice 11 Freedom Comes With Forgiveness 17
My Aim Was To 'Hit And Run' 13 Danger! Poison! 19
Hold On To The Good – Let Go Of The Skunks 14 Cast Your Burden 21
Express Your Love, Rekindle A Relationship 15 Discussion Questions 23

James 2:1-13

Ridding Yourself Of Prejudice

I saw him before he turned the corner. He was on foot… a professional looking man wearing a white shirt and tie. In his hands were leaflets. Pulling into our driveway I could see him turn the corner. He rapidly marched up the path to the first house on our street. While I was pulling grocery sacks out of the trunk of the car and fumbling to find my house key, I concluded that, if I hurried, I could reach the door before he turned up my walkway.

My mission was successful I was in the kitchen with two sacks before he reached the door. My mission: to avoid talking with whom I had determined was another politician. Like nearly everyone else, I was ready for the election to conclude. It is so exhausting listening to speeches and ads and accusations and propaganda that I just wanted it to be over.

Satisfied with my ability to out maneuver this supposed politician, I returned to my car to pick up another load of filled plastic bags. Yes. I was certain I was right. Sitting on the porch chair was a bright blue sheet of paper with a photograph of the man I just avoided, and written in large print the word, "VOTE." "Yes, I'D vote," I thought, "but perhaps not for you."

After several trips between the trunk of the car and our kitchen, my curiosity peaked. I just had to see who this man was and what he stood for. With Superman-like speed I glanced over the leaflet to see what political affiliation he was, but I could see nothing. Not quite as quickly, I scanned the paper again to see what issues he was promoting. Again, nothing registered. So, at my normal slow pace, I read the pamphlet. What a surprise!

He was not a politician. Be was a local businessman, a real estate broker who was using the momentum of the coming election to promote his company. I felt about an inch tall. It's not that I would have wanted to discuss the sale of my home with him. It is the fact that I judged him by his appearance and concluded that I did not want to have anything to do with him. I turned away from him before I knew anything about him. Others call it prejudice. I call it ignorance. My mother would have called it rude.

He is in good company though. It is said of Jesus, "Be was despised and rejected by men." I guess we do that a lot.

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"Lord, I am sorry for the way I have mistreated others who are not like me. Forgive me for the sins of hatred and prejudice. Please expose the ugliness within me, and soften my heart so I will learn to see others as You do – as one loved by You. In Jesus' name. Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: God changes hearts and attitudes. The end of prejudice begins with me.

– Thomas Duckworth –


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Matthew 7:1-5

My Aim Was To 'Hit And Run'

Many years ago in a foreign country, I was traveling late one night. Although it was very dark, I saw a man jump in front of the jeep I was driving. He wanted me to stop. Instead, I pushed the accelerator harder, determined to hit him if he didn't move. When he realized I was not going to stop, he leaped out of the way. Upon completion of my tour of duty, in the United States Army, I intended to enroll as a ministerial student. You may wonder how a Christian could deliberately hit a person. Wait before you judge me! We often make ourselves judges without knowing the details. Jesus says this is a no no.

Several weeks before my intent to "hit and run", another soldier had a person step in front of him as he was driving down the road. He stopped his jeep to keep from hitting the man. The driver was shot and killed. Since I was in the same situation, I decided to keep driving, hoping he would move. If he didn't, and I did hit him, I would go straight to the military police and tell them what happened. Thank God he jumped out of the way.

You may have been judgmental at first, but I am sure you changed your mind after finishing the story. Is it possible we get our exercise by jumping to conclusions? Perhaps you don't, but my answer would be affirmative. As I grow older, I believe I hold my judgment longer than I use to. At least I try to!

"God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days," said the wise Samuel Johnson.

It may have been someone by the name 'anonymous' who said "judging is actually an ego trip; we judge to make ourselves look better." If we are honest, we would say, we really cannot afford an ego trip.

Romans 2:11 "You therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same thing". OUCH!

"'Dear Jesus, it is so human and so easy to judge. Please help me to refrain from judging others. Help me to wait upon You in prayer and Bible reading each day."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: With God's help, I will endeavor to listen and to evaluate, but I will leave the judgment to God, who is the only all-knowing Judge.

– Lowell Weller –


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Philippians 3:12-14

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

Hold On To The Good – Let Go Of The Skunks

Several years ago, a man called and asked if he might come for some counseling. He informed me that he was a plant supervisor and, because he was upset with the people working under him, he was treating them unfairly. I listened to him talk, and discovered the man was harboring bitterness and unforgiveness. As we continued talking, I asked him some questions. "Do your employees know how you feel about them"? He answered "No". I then asked, "Which of you are suffering the most? You or them"? After giving thought to this question, he replied, "Me". He was hurting himself and destroying his marriage. I trust he let go of the skunks that were causing an unpleasant odor, for his attitude was "life stinks".

I recall the story of a mother, who was watching her children in the backyard, as she washed dishes. They were happily playing with little black kittens. She noticed each kitten had a white strip down it's back. What they thought were kittens were actually skunks. If the children got sprayed, she would have to throwaway their clothing. Frantically she opened the window, and yelled, "Run, run, run." To her surprise, each child reached down and picked up a skunk and ran.

Paul gave wise counsel when he wrote "Follow peace with all men… lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Hebrew 12:14-15) I would put it this way: "Let go of the skunks". There are good things to hold on to. Good memories, good friends, good messages, and good Christian music. "Hold on to the good". Paul was determined to forget the past and reach for those things before him. (Philippians 3:13) Verse 14 says, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

"My dear heavenly Father, I want to thank You for inspiring your writer, the Apostle Paul, to give me challenging Scriptures in Philippians and 1 Thessalonians. Please help me to live by those great truths written in your Holy Word".

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I do not have yesterday, I may not have tomorrow, but I do have today! I am determined to hold on to the good and to let go of the skunks.

– Lowell Weller –


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Romans 6:23; 1 John 1:9

Express Your Love, Rekindle A Relationship

Valentine's Day is probably the holiday that allows expression of feelings far more than any other. School kids exchange messages that most of them probably do not even understand: "You're out of this world! You're a blast! You're my cup of tea! I'm bananas over you" or made up words: "You're swingingest!"

Grown-up cards are far more sentimental with pictures of beautiful red roses and poems of endearment. They are used by young lovers as well as old married folks. Perhaps they even put S.W.A.K. on the envelope.

Many times a person will ask, "How much do you love me?" and the lover will naturally stretch out his arms, replying, "This much," then embrace his sweetheart.

If we ask Jesus how much Be loves us, He too, would stretch out his arms, revealing his nail pierced hands and tell us that he loves us so much that he died on the cross for us. The shadow of Him standing before us with outstretched arms forms a cross. A friend lays down his life for his friend. The wages of sin is death and Jesus, the spotless Son of God, who knew no sin, became sin for us that we might become sons of God. God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to take our punishment.

Have you ever gotten a valentine that you cannot forget? I remember a homemade valentine from my best friend in third grade. We had quarreled over something and I didn't expert a card from her. In fact, it looked like Humpty Dumpty after his fall. Inside was her message: "This heart is broken, it is sad but true. But it can be mended; it's all up to you." That message was loud and clear! It put the responsibility of restored relationship right in my lap!

Most of us can remember a person who was one time a close friend but something happened between us. It may have been an unkind word, a misunderstanding, or an action that should not have happened. Broken relationships can be restored, but it takes tremendous humility. Scripture says if one has offended you, go to him. Don't wait for your friend to come and apologize, admitting he was wrong. Go and express your love and seek forgiveness yourself, even if you feel it was not your fault.

Some people have even stopped going to church because they had a falling-out with another member or the pastor. Sometimes they say that the church is full of hypocrites. Paul warned, "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together." All Christians are sinners saved by grace. Our righteousness is as filthy rags but God imputes His righteousness to us. He sees us through the shed blood of his own Son, Jesus. Part of the

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communion service admonishes us to examine ourselves, to make things right with a brother or sister.

As Christians, our relationship with our Savior is sometimes broken because of sin. 1 John 1:9 was written for believers: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Why do we walk away in sorrow when a simple prayer of confession can restore a beautiful relationship? Who can explain God's grace? God looks on our hearts and accepts us without question when we return to him!

"Father, forgive me if I have offended my friend, and give me the humility to restore our relationship."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: A restored relationship is twice as strong.

– Laura Drewer –


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Exodus 32:19-35; Deuteronomy: 9:7

John 8:1-11; Matthew 6:14-15

Freedom Comes With Forgiveness

The Statue of Liberty stands in New York Harbor, holding a torch aloft as a symbol of the new life and liberties available in the Untied States of America. The tablet in her left hand bears the date of July 4, 1776. Inscribed on a plate are some of the words from Emma Lazarus' poem "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free."

Mankind has always yearned to be free. The book of Exodus depicts the sorrow experienced by God's people as slaves in Egypt for four hundred years. Several films including "Prince of Egypt" and "The Ten Commandments" have been produced which show Israel's anguish under slavery. When Moses informed Pharaoh that God says, "Let my people go," his reaction was rebellion. Both films depict the terrible plagues that God brought upon the Egyptians, but I am sure that the real experience was far worse. Can yon imagine frogs under your feet, in your bed, even in your oven?

However, the film scenes that portray what the children of Israel did after they were led out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, are totally unbelievable. We want to believe that after four hundred years of slavery, the freed people rejoiced and worshiped God and lived holy lives. Reading the Bible account will verify that they did not. The book is always better than the film.

What is far more amazing is that God forgave these people. God set them free, not only from their past slavery, but from their sin. The Bible says that Aaron formed the calf as an idol of worship, although he lied to Moses, saying he threw the gold in the fire and the calf appeared. God forgave Aaron and set him over the house of the Levites, the religious leaders of Israel. What a perfect picture of God's grace!

Both of these films do an excellent job relating the story of the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt. Nevertheless, no film can really show the greatness of God. Forgiveness is such a miracle that can come only from God.

Yet God has given this gift of forgiveness to his children. In Ephesians 4:32, we are instructed to "Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you." God gives us the power and the grace to forgive one another.

In the Lord's Prayer, we repeat, "Forgive us our sins as we have forgiven these who sin against us." Do we really want God to forgive us in the same manner that we forgive those who sin against us? Or do we demand the right, "I will forgive but I will not

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forget," God's forgiveness wipes the slate clean, and we ought also to do that for one another. Forgiveness also frees us from painfully carrying the burden and sorrow of past sin against us.

Jesus said in John 8: "If you continue in my words, then you are my disciples indeed; you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Christians who can stand with the Bible uplifted, and sincerely cry out, "Come, find forgiveness, find freedom, find life" will experience these gifts from God himself. Real freedom comes with forgiveness.

"Father, help me daily to forgive others as yon have forgiven me. Help me show others what you are really like as you live through me."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: The gift of forgiveness gives us liberty.

– Laura Drewer –


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Mark 11:24-25; Colossians 3:12-17;

Matthew 5:23-24; Ephesians 4:25-32

Danger! Poison!

It happened at a Bible study one November. My friend disagreed, and a barrage of pain and resentment rocketed forth from her mouth in volleys of angry criticism. It was as if a bottle had been uncorked and everyone had been splattered with the acid of her inner thoughts.

I left feeling defeated and frightened. Young Christians had been there, and I was supposed to be in charge. My defeat and fear soon focused into anger, but I resolved to keep my distance, forget my feelings, and go on. As an afterthought, I realized I must also forgive her.

I went about my business, making sure I stayed out of her way. Swallowing and denying my feelings, I was unable to admit my own wrath. Slowly, the "poison" I had swallowed did its work on me. Within a few weeks I began to experience muscle spasms in my lower back. The spasms came and went without warning; the pain was harsh as a searing knife. My repressed anger and resentment kept trying to surface like a festering sore working to extrude a foreign object in the flesh.

I was unaware of the connection between the Bible-study event, the repression of my anger, and the spasms of pain which became more frequent and disabling. The pain amplified into strange tingling sensations down my left leg. One afternoon I stepped on a stool to get something from a high cupboard. The tingling pain attacked, my leg crumpled beneath me, and I found myself on the floor in a frightened heap.

The hospital bed offered ample time to reflect, search the Scriptures, and listen to God's voice. The message was clear: 'Your resentment and angry judgment of another, swallowed to stifle conscious guilt, is making you sick! Go to her, confess, and ask her forgiveness.'

Three weeks later I sat in the living room of my friend telling her of my experience, sharing my deep hurt and asking her forgiveness. To my amazement, she scarcely remembered the incident. The relief of venting frustration had blinded her to the effects of her outburst. We wept in mutual awareness. She recognized her need for constructive ways to discharge frustration, and I realized my need to deal with my feelings before they turn sour and poisonous.

Since then, I have not, to my knowledge, let the sun go down upon my wrath or hurt. Neither have I had a back problem since that time. When shoved down and left to rot into resentment, anger is a "sick-maker."

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"Loving Heavenly Father, for Jesus' sake and to avoid its hurtful consequences, I purpose never to deny nor swallow my anger, but to confess my bitterness and resentment. Enable me to quickly forgive those who transgress against me, that I may also be forgiven and live in peace and health."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: God being my Helper, I resolve never to allow the sun to go down with me still angry or resentful towards any fellow human being.

– Kay Kline –


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Psalms 55:22; Matthew 11:28-30

Ephesians 4:31-32; James 5:16

Cast Your Burden

"Every change is perceived as loss, and every loss is grieved" states a respected Christian psychiatrist who ought to know. Furthermore, grief which is not acknowledged and worked through, stagnates into emotional garbage. The garbage may rot into resentment or explode in unexpected outbursts, More likely, it will be carried around as a handicapping load which prevents or inhibits further growth and places a cap on effective prayer.

One January several years ago, we visited the Holy Land. Many places evoked deep emotion for me, but most significant of all was the empty tomb because of what happen while I was there.

In the tour group, there was a delightful friendly woman with whom I had developed a friendship. I enjoyed her wit, her sense of humor, and her determination to experience this trip to the full. She had been baptized the day before in the Jordan River, a meaningful experience for her. But this day she seemed more quiet than usual. As we walked into Joseph's Garden and, further along, into the empty tomb itself, we stood together reflecting on its meaning. I sensed a gathering of emotion in her, but I was certainly not prepared for the great, heaving sobs which welled up and spilled out. I stood, not speaking, with my arm around her, feeling the wracking waves of emotion sweep through her.

When it was over, she turned to me and said, "I've just unloaded three years of anger here. I've been an angry old lady. Oh, I've tried to teach Sunday School and do all the right things, but I've been so full of anger." She told me about the death of her husband three years before and how she had refused to let herself grieve or even to accept her loss. Instead, she blamed God and carried the load of unexpressed grief and anger deep within herself. She had been holding a grudge, and grudges are dangerous baggage.

Some people hold grudges against themselves; some carry grudges toward other people. Still others, like this woman, are angry at God, feeling that He has let them down or been unfair to them.

I believe that any grudge or hard feeling towards oneself, another person, or towards God, is a crippling, unnecessary handicap. The price a grudge holder pays in human relationships and in access to God is enormous.

"Loving Heavenly Father, give me courage and honesty to acknowledge my long-held grudges against myself, against others, and even against You, Un thaw my frozen heart,

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and enable me to feel the grief which accompanies great losses in my life. I surrender my hurt and disappointments and resentments to you, and I humbly accept your healing for my broken heart. I believe and now with grateful trust receive your healing power! Thank you"!

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: God is able to take the greatest losses of my life and turn them into the greatest gains of my life!

– Kay K1ine –


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Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever judged another person by his appearance, and quickly (prematurely) concluded that you did not want to have anything to do with him? Do you think that most 'prejudice' is the result of ignorance? Why or why not? Is it ever 'right' for a Christian to ignore another person (i.e, to be impolite and rude to another individual)? What steps have you (as a believer) personally taken to rid yourself of Prejudice? Are yon learning to see other people through the 'eyes of Jesus'? (Note James 2:1-9; James 4:11-12)

  2. If it is true, according to the wise Samuel Johnson, that God Almighty does not propose to judge a man (human) until the end of his days, why is it so 'easy' for Christians to judge their fellow men so quickly and insensitively? (Note Matthew 7:1; Romans 2:1)

  3. Tell why you agree (or disagree) with the following statement: "Judging is actually an ego trip; we judge to make ourselves look better."

  4. As you consider your many different past relationships (with all of the resultant joys and sorrows, harmony and hurtful misunderstandings) have you deliberately chosen to "hold on to the good" and "let go of the skunks"? (Note Philippians 1: 12-20; Philippians 3:12-14; Romans 12:17-21)

  5. Do you have any memory of a person who was one time a close friend to you but, because of a serious misunderstanding, you became alienated from that person? Tell if you agree (or disagree) with the following statements: "Broken relationships can be restored, but it takes tremendous humility. Don't wait for your friend to come and apologize, admitting he was wrong. Go and express your love and seek forgiveness yourself; even if you feel it was not your fault."

  6. Do you believe that God gives the grace and the power for a believer to forgive another person who has deeply hurt him? According to Ephesians 4:32, what are believers instructed to do, and whose example are Christians to model in obeying these instructions? When a Christian forgives the offenses of one who has deeply hurt him, is he (as a believer) required to "condone" the behavior of the offending person? Is a forgiving believer required to become a "close friend" to the offending person to whom he has granted forgiveness? Why or why not?

  7. According to Matthew 6:14-15, what consequences incur to the person (believer) who refuses to forgive another person who has offended him?

  8. Share your personal response (or reaction) to the following statement: "God's forgiveness wipes the slate clean, and we ought also to do that for one another."

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  9. Physiologically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually, what are some of the possible consequences when a person represses his anger and bitterness against another person? (Note Hebrews 12:14-15; Matthew 6:14-15) What are some constructive ways to discharge one's frustration and anger (before these feelings turn "sour and poisonous")? How would you distinguish between "carnal anger" and "righteous indignation"? (Note Ephesians 4:26)

  10. What consequences incur to a person who refuses to accept losses (like the death of a friend or a loved one), and who fails to properly 'process' his deep grief! Why is the holding of a grudge against another person, or the blaming of God for losses, such a dangerous and destructive reaction? How can one's surrender of his broken heart and his confused mind to a God of perfect love and wisdom and power, enable him to discover healing and wholeness?

  11. Do you honestly believe that God is able to take the greatest losses of your life and turn them into the greatest gains of your life?

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