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Oh Lord, Where Do We Go From Here? Current and former members (and anyone in between!)... tell us what is on your mind and in your heart.

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Old 10-21-2018, 12:18 AM   #1
Trapped
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Default Forgiveness

There is a lot I could say on this topic but will put down a few thoughts to start. In all my general examples I am referring to regular daily relationships with people/friends/Christians, rather than, say, a special one with a spouse. "Damage" or "hurt" spoken of is the deep wounds that inescapably occur in typical human life with fallen, proud, screwed up people (as opposed to physical abuse or anything truly serious like that).

1. 70 x 7. Lee states that 490 is a large enough number that the point is you will have lost count well before you get to it. I realized a month or so ago that 490, while large, is still a finite number. If it was supposed to be essentially infinite, that would have been very easy to state, and 70 x 7 just doesn't equal "infinite" or "boundless" for me.

2. In the LC I grew up under the thought that if someone hurts you and asks for forgiveness, and if you don't forgive them and can't let it go, then you (the one who is hurt) is the one who sins, and the one who hurt you is released and can go on with their life because they apologized and that's all that's expected of them. This has turned out to be a very difficult thing for me with many saints who think "I'm sorry" is enough to undo and erase their prolonged intentional belittling or disregarding, without their putting in the effort to make up for what they've said or undo the multifaceted damage they've done. Is this thought true?

3. I understand we are to forgive as our heavenly Father forgave. However, He forgives when we acknowledge/repent and confess, right? He doesn't forgive what we don't confess. How does this play out when you have people who have knowingly and intentionally hurt you and do not care or their "confession" is clearly not genuine? Are we still asked to forgive then? If yes, as I mentioned, then are we forgiven by the Lord for things we don't confess? If not, how could we then be held to a higher standard than even God if we are expected to do that?

4. On the cross Jesus prayed to the Father to forgive them because they know not what they are doing. This seems to be an example of Jesus forgiving ones who have not asked for it or repented. Are we expected to do the same to that level, and if so, where is that stated in the Bible?

5. Is there any example in the Bible of forgiveness but a change in relationship? The thing I struggle with the most is forgiving and then being expected to return to a heavily damaged relationship as if nothing had happened. Often times the relationship is so permanently changed and damaged, that forgiveness is one thing but what to do about the relationship going forward is completely another. Yes, I know to pray for the ones who have hurt me, yes I know we are to bless our enemies, but to be honest doing those things has never changed my heart towards them.
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Old 10-21-2018, 04:46 AM   #2
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I believe that all offenses and all apologies are not created equal. The apology must also match the offense. A two cent apology for a two dollar offense does not really work. The scope of the apology should also match the offense, e.g. a private apology for a private offense is normally adequate, but a public apology is needed for a public offense.

People are not robots, they tend to know how deeply the apology touches the heart. Words should convey that heartfelt conviction. A simple and flippant "sorry" does not work after one's life has been threatened. In the Bible examples, the Lord does use different dollar (shekel?) amounts to convey the various debts incurred by diverse offenses. The ones who owed more had a deeper repentance, and the ones forgiven more had a deeper appreciation and love.

Basic relationships in the LC system tended to suffer the most. Those relationships with headquarters required the most attention, while the ones with the saints were less important. The LC hierarchy was often on full display. When looking "up" the hierarchy, one paid more attention that his apology was completely adequate, but when looking "down" the hierarchy, the same care was not afforded. Some brothers were more "brother" than other brothers. I don't think this brown-nosing man-pleasing side of apologies and forgiveness is pleasing to the Lord.

Sometimes forgiveness is a life-long struggle, especially when you know that an adequate apology will never come. Forgiveness then becomes a decision you must make in the Lord's presence. Often this decision needs to be restated because the pain resurfaces. This is crucial because unforgiveness hurts the "unforgiver" more than the offender. You feel you have been wronged, and are owed a debt that that will never be paid. In these cases, one must ask the Lord, sometimes repeatedly, that He will make up this debt to you with His love and grace.

Retaliation, though appealing on many levels, is not an option for those following the Lord. During one particularly egregious offense, the Lord actually visited me and told me specifically that, "vengeance is Mine, I will repay." It completed stopped me from taking further action. Praise Him.
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Old 10-21-2018, 06:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Forgiveness

Trapped,

Possibly the missing piece is "repentance".

"I'm sorry" is sometimes sufficient, but is very often an expression of regret by the offender telling you how they feel about what they did. This may be sufficient in some matters but worthless in others.

When someone repents, genuinely repents, their behavior changes. They stop hurting you (whoever).

I'm sure you've seen and/or heard accounts of an abusive marriage partner who beats their spouse every night, then "apologizes" every morning. There are actual shelters for women (mostly) who are in this situation. It's in our nature to try to "fix" someone who hurts us because we love them. When they apologize in tears and say they will never hurt you again, we believe them, forgive them, and give them 489 more chances. Then in the evening, the abuse cycle begins again. Staying in the "relationship" empowers them to continue their abuse because they count on your forgiveness.

Bottom line, abusive behavior toward another person in the secular realm is unacceptable. At some point, you have a decision to make...walk away or not. Abusive behavior of one Christian toward another in the spiritual realm, plays on your emotions in another way. It falls on the abused Christian to forgive, while the abusive Christian says "I'm sorry" but does not change their behavior. Just as in the example above, you forgive them and they use it against you. This is a serious problem and they have need of much more help than you (likely) can provide. They need serious psychiatric help. They are lying to themselves and others.

You can't fix this problem. It's not your job, nor is it within the realm of your capabilities. Forgive them from a distance. Run! This is why people "leave the church". That is, leave the Local Church. The Local Church takes away your voice. It takes away your right to say "NO". God gave you freedom to choose.

Remember the brother in Corinth who was living in fornication with his father's wife? The church was admonished to give him over to Satan for the ultimate salvation of his soul. This was the only way the church could help this sinning brother. This is extreme, and is evidence of a problem that the entire church could not fix and Paul makes it clear that it was not their job.

Remember the classic Witness Lee "garlic room" example? You become "nose blind" and can't smell the garlic as long as you are in the room. Once you get out of the garlic room and smell the fresh air, the stench of the garlic becomes obvious.

I hope this helps--
Nell

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Old 10-21-2018, 04:25 PM   #4
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I agree with Nell. Forgive from a distance. When old wounds come back to the surface and I feel pain or anger afresh, I just confess my damaged, unloving heart to the Lord each and every time, and I agree with Him, and declare my forgiveness toward the offender all over again. This is the best I can do. Over time, I believe the Lord has been faithful to heal me, slowly, of these old wounds.

In recent months, I had the opportunity to converse with one sister who had hurt us deeply when she closed the door of communication to us last year. While she has determined to allow fellowship between us.....unfortunately it the LC brand of fellowship. She will not allow me to speak the truth if she deems it negative toward Lee(it is), neither will she acknowledge nor respond to anything I speak. She very effectively talks over and past me as if I don't exist. So the offense is simply ongoing. I had to walk away. That doesn't let me off the hook for my forgiveness towards her (them, really) because that forgiveness has to be before the Lord....it is towards them, but between the Lord and I. He forgave me ALL, and I believe He wants me to release ALL. In my decision to walk away from these brothers and sisters, I struggled. I do not want to be found guilty of what they do.

I took Romans 16:17 as His instruction to me.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them.

Member when the oldest Duggar son was found to be committing egregious sins against his wife and kids? Months later, the Lord showed me I was holding those offenses against that brother, who has absolutely nothing to do with me.....I had to bow before the Lord and repent, and forgive him....I had not even been aware of this 'unforgiveness' hiding in my being until that moment in prayer. Many times, the offender will not be repentant, and in fact, if they are unsaved, may never turn, nor apologise to you.....I still believe we are called to forgive....ask the Lord to supply this forgiveness in you....didn't He supply the apostle to call the Lord to forgive those stoning him to death, in the act of it? Someone help me, who was that apostle? God is able....while we may not be. He would not require something of us we cannot do! That would be unrighteous! If He lives in you, He is the Righteous God, the One able to forgive....ask Him. God bless you!
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Old 10-21-2018, 08:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Forgiveness

Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
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Old 10-22-2018, 06:12 AM   #6
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Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Yes, Stephen. Thanks Nell. This act of forgiveness was surely out from the Lord, supplied to Stephen by Him...
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Forgiveness

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Yes, Stephen. Thanks Nell. This act of forgiveness was surely out from the Lord, supplied to Stephen by Him...
Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit and saw the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. His being was full of gratitude and joy, seeing he was going to be with Him. I was considering that's how he had the empowering grace to plead for his opposers.

By the way, has there been records of martyrs seeing an encouraging vision while being martyred?
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: Forgiveness

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Originally Posted by byHismercy View Post
I agree with Nell. Forgive from a distance. When old wounds come back to the surface and I feel pain or anger afresh, I just confess my damaged, unloving heart to the Lord each and every time, and I agree with Him, and declare my forgiveness toward the offender all over again. This is the best I can do. Over time, I believe the Lord has been faithful to heal me, slowly, of these old wounds.
In recent years when old wounds come back to haunt me, I pray "Have mercy on them for You had mercy on me. Forgive them for You forgave me." This prayer has helped me to forgive them and put the memories behind me. I think it is because in my natural self I can't forgive but with the Holy Spirit in me, Jesus does the forgiving from my spirit.

I often say, while I forgive (through the Spirit of course) those who have wronged me, it doesn't mean I want them back in my life. I pray they get right with the Lord for their sake and to shame the devil giving GOD all the Glory and Praise for the work of Jesus and His Holy Spirit.



Quote:
He forgave me ALL, and I believe He wants me to release ALL. In my decision to walk away from these brothers and sisters, I struggled. I do not want to be found guilty of what they do.
Eventually, the Holy Spirit will shine His Glory Light on them and they will either repent for their treatment orrr and I will leave it there for it is between the JUDGE and them.

Great insight! Great post!
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Weighingin View Post
Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit and saw the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. His being was full of gratitude and joy, seeing he was going to be with Him. I was considering that's how he had the empowering grace to plead for his opposers.

By the way, has there been records of martyrs seeing an encouraging vision while being martyred?
https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-...ing-of-stephen

Hi saints, I read this message to the kids at bedtime last night, it was a good look at Stephens story, if you read it you will see how it is Stephens' victory, and Gods' victory. It really does give a modern believer a picture of how to forgive. What is resonating with me still today is how Stephen was looking `steadfastly' into heaven.....I think this is key. What he was looking for he found. He found the Son standing.....check this out if you have time! Weighing in, MacArthur mentions reading many accounts of martyrs of Christ, and while the answer to your question isn't there, he does say something interesting, I think he said, there are no accounts of martyrs behaving crazed with fear or something to that effect...

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Old 10-23-2018, 12:07 PM   #10
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In recent years when old wounds come back to haunt me, I pray "Have mercy on them for You had mercy on me. Forgive them for You forgave me." This prayer has helped me to forgive them and put the memories behind me. I think it is because in my natural self I can't forgive but with the Holy Spirit in me, Jesus does the forgiving from my spirit.

I often say, while I forgive (through the Spirit of course) those who have wronged me, it doesn't mean I want them back in my life. I pray they get right with the Lord for their sake and to shame the devil giving GOD all the Glory and Praise for the work of Jesus and His Holy Spirit.





Eventually, the Holy Spirit will shine His Glory Light on them and they will either repent for their treatment orrr and I will leave it there for it is between the JUDGE and them.

Great insight! Great post!
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Yes, this is good, Countmeworthy!
Forgiveness is the hardest thing for believers, I think...it is sooo easy to hate someone who damages you, especially intentionally! And you do not even have to try, or expend any energy to be angry or hold a grudge, it seems like. But.....I prefer the blessing from the throne of Jesus!! And in my experience, He is so faithful to help, to bless, to supply, to be forgiveness for us, when we do our best to follow His wishes, His commands to us! Tellin' you, that is where it's at! The obedient life is THE life! May He call us all to obedience, to rest in His obedience to His death on the cross! and to remain at His feet, looking steadfastly at His face like Stephen.
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Old 10-23-2018, 05:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byHismercy View Post
https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-...ing-of-stephen

Hi saints, I read this message to the kids at bedtime last night, it was a good look at Stephens story, if you read it you will see how it is Stephens' victory, and Gods' victory. It really does give a modern believer a picture of how to forgive. What is resonating with me still today is how Stephen was looking `steadfastly' into heaven.....I think this is key. What he was looking for he found. He found the Son standing.....check this out if you have time! Weighing in, MacArthur mentions reading many accounts of martyrs of Christ, and while the answer to your question isn't there, he does say something interesting, I think he said, there are no accounts of martyrs behaving crazed with fear or something to that effect...

byHismercy
Thanks for posting the link to that great article on Stephen.

I could not help but contrast this with the cheap message I often heard in the LC concerning Stephen -- that supposedly he was perfected and filled with the Spirit simply by "waiting on tables."

That was the classic LSM takeaway for LC elders -- "Just go wait on tables, we at LSM will do the spiritual labor in the word for you."
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:26 PM   #12
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Thanks for posting the link to that great article on Stephen.

I could not help but contrast this with the cheap message I often heard in the LC concerning Stephen -- that supposedly he was perfected and filled with the Spirit simply by "waiting on tables."

That was the classic LSM takeaway for LC elders -- "Just go wait on tables, we at LSM will do the spiritual labor in the word for you."
What I liked about the message is where he connects the Lord's word that "henceforth you shall see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the almighty" with Stephen confirming this saying I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God the Father".

This was a confirmation that they had rejected the Messiah. This isn't simply the anger or sinners, or anger of those in the world, this is the anger of those who rejected the heir so that the inheritance would be theirs and now they have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:46 PM   #13
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What I liked about the message is where he connects the Lord's word that "henceforth you shall see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the almighty" with Stephen confirming this saying I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God the Father".

This was a confirmation that they had rejected the Messiah. This isn't simply the anger or sinners, or anger of those in the world, this is the anger of those who rejected the heir so that the inheritance would be theirs and now they have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
Right! Can you imagine being present for both testimonies.....if there were indeed ones there present to hear Jesus prophesy and then later Stephens' eyewitness testimony....I bet they knew their error as soon as they heard Stephen utter the words, if not before that. I think they must have been filled with fear, but it certainly looked like rage.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:49 PM   #14
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Thanks for posting the link to that great article on Stephen.

I could not help but contrast this with the cheap message I often heard in the LC concerning Stephen -- that supposedly he was perfected and filled with the Spirit simply by "waiting on tables."

That was the classic LSM takeaway for LC elders -- "Just go wait on tables, we at LSM will do the spiritual labor in the word for you."
What do you think they meant, exactly, Ohio, by 'wait on tables'?
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:46 PM   #15
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What do you think they meant, exactly, Ohio, by 'wait on tables'?
Read Acts chapter 6. Stephen and others were appointed by the apostles to take care of the distribution of food to the Greek widows.
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Old 11-10-2018, 11:51 PM   #16
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One common theme I hear in some non-LC sermons or messages I have listened to recently about forgiveness is the thought of Jesus forgiving us so much that we are bound in return to forgive others.

I realized that I don't actually have much awareness or experience of the Lord forgiving me, and as I pondered further I realized that I shockingly don't think I need much forgiveness. I don't lead a "sinful life" (so to speak), for example, I don't drink at all, people can leave a $1 bill or a stack of $20,000 in front of me and walk away and be secure in the knowledge that every penny of it will be there when they return, I keep my mouth shut rather than making cutting remarks to people, etc.

The small sins I do commit I tend to excuse or explain away, e.g. I am not quick to anger but when I do get angry it is because I have been pushed and pushed and pushed repeatedly to it, etc.

In general I am "a good church kid" continuing to adulthood and feel the pang of shame pretty readily.....if I was caught in a lie it would be a horrible, horrible feeling and not one I want to feel.

I know just how puffed-up all that sounds, and as I type it I do feel a little ashamed at how dismissive I am being of what I mentally know is the great gift of the Lord's forgiveness......but if I'm not honest then its harder to get the right kind of help.

I know other church kids who have gone off and gotten drunk speeding down roads, who have gone off to sleep with other married people, who are into pornography, who have gone off to a life of clubs, drinking, drugs, casual relations, etc..... I can understand their being "forgiven much". How do you feel "forgiven much" when you generally "color between the lines"?

I guess my question is: has anyone else been in this same position? I need to forgive some astronomical offenses and hurt inflicted upon me by people I cared very much about, but almost feel like I can't forgive them until I understand how much I myself have been forgiven. Except I cannot manufacture "feeling forgiven", I cannot manufacture an appreciation of being forgiven by the Lord which I just don't have. To be totally honest if I wasn't in this difficult situation with some others who have deeply, deeply hurt me, I wouldn't even care that I don't feel or appreciate the Lord's forgiveness towards me.

I know I have "sermon on the mount" sins - i.e. anger in my heart that I don't act on, or lusting in my heart that I don't act on, but I guess it's hard for me to feel like those are things that need to be forgiven if I don't act on it, or something, I don't know.
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Old Yesterday, 06:13 PM   #17
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I realized that I don't actually have much awareness or experience of the Lord forgiving me, and as I pondered further I realized that I shockingly don't think I need much forgiveness.
I appreciate the self reflection and honesty in your post. I sympathize with it and cringe at it all at the same time. In 2014 I was recalibrated (again) to see how far I fall from the Glory of God each day. Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to - the Lord may just help you in a way you don't want to be helped. You can PM me if you're interested in this story.

I was never a "Church Kid" (by the grace of God) - and I know there is a lot of baggage that goes along with that - We can't use things like this an an excuse. It sounds like you're moving in the right direction, honestly identify the issue and let the Spirit work through this (and if you're like me - DESPITE you). Blessings in your journey.

I wonder if the problem is the thought that you're too "good" (or insert your preferred phrase here) or don't realize how "good" God is (grasp His perfect, holy, and just nature?)
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Old Today, 12:00 AM   #18
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I appreciate the self reflection and honesty in your post. I sympathize with it and cringe at it all at the same time. In 2014 I was recalibrated (again) to see how far I fall from the Glory of God each day. Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to - the Lord may just help you in a way you don't want to be helped. You can PM me if you're interested in this story.

I was never a "Church Kid" (by the grace of God) - and I know there is a lot of baggage that goes along with that - We can't use things like this an an excuse. It sounds like you're moving in the right direction, honestly identify the issue and let the Spirit work through this (and if you're like me - DESPITE you). Blessings in your journey.

I wonder if the problem is the thought that you're too "good" (or insert your preferred phrase here) or don't realize how "good" God is (grasp His perfect, holy, and just nature?)

LofT,

I am fully on board with your cringing at my post. I know how arrogant and blind it sounds.

It's funny that you mention the verse about thinking more highly of yourself. I actually have pervasive thoughts about how worthless and unwanted I am to the point where I feel sorry for people who have to interact much with me or have me in their lives in any extensive way because I assume most people don't want to or would prefer not to, given the choice. I actually had an elder use that very verse to show me that although we shouldn't think more highly of ourselves than we ought, there is still the "ought".....meaning there is an "ought" level of height to which we should esteem ourselves.....just not more highly than we ought though.

One of the sermons I heard said that if you are a person who cannot forgive others, then you don't understand the depth you've been forgiven by God. Maybe you don't think you're that bad and need forgiveness, and if that's the case then you should be scared to death. Alternatively, if you won't forgive, then you are in open rebellion towards God, and discipline is coming your way....and you should be scared!

I think after hearing that I am more scared that I'm not scared. What do you do then?

In thinking further about it, I think what it comes down to is I have a hard time accepting blame when I didn't cause any of this. I didn't create the universe, I didn't create man and put them in front of two trees, I wasn't the one who was in the garden fellowshipping with God but who listened to the snake and ate the forbidden tree instead thus injecting sin into all subsequent humans. I was just born. I was born, out of my control, and with the sin nature, out of my control, so why should I feel bad when I'm not perfect? I'm not responsible for any of the whole shebang. Please don't get me wrong - I am not numb to my conscience necessarily, I definitely feel the hot flush of shame if I'm caught doing something I shouldn't, I can't lie and look someone in the eye at the same time, if I want with everything in me to retaliate against someone I am inwardly prevented from doing it. But as far as the awareness of my dirt and sin or my need of forgiveness, I don't have that much. Even the thought that "my sin put the Lord on the cross".....well, I sin because I was born with the sin nature, none of us are immune, so since it's not something I had any power to prevent why should I whip myself over it?

I think I'm making the cringing worse and frankly kind of feel like I'm Pharoah typing with a hardened heart, but again, I have to be transparent here in case anyone who understands can give any advice or experience that would help.

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Old Today, 07:51 AM   #19
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One of the sermons I heard said that if you are a person who cannot forgive others, then you don't understand the depth you've been forgiven by God. Maybe you don't think you're that bad and need forgiveness, and if that's the case then you should be scared to death. Alternatively, if you won't forgive, then you are in open rebellion towards God, and discipline is coming your way....and you should be scared!

I think after hearing that I am more scared that I'm not scared. What do you do then?

In thinking further about it, I think what it comes down to is I have a hard time accepting blame when I didn't cause any of this.
Sorry to butt in, but brother Trapped, maybe you should stop listening to sermons.

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Old Today, 09:05 AM   #20
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I realized that I don't actually have much awareness or experience of the Lord forgiving me, and as I pondered further I realized that I shockingly don't think I need much forgiveness.

I know just how puffed-up all that sounds, and as I type it I do feel a little ashamed at how dismissive I am being of what I mentally know is the great gift of the Lord's forgiveness......but if I'm not honest then its harder to get the right kind of help.
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I am fully on board with your cringing at my post. I know how arrogant and blind it sounds.

I think I'm making the cringing worse and frankly kind of feel like I'm Pharoah typing with a hardened heart, but again, I have to be transparent here in case anyone who understands can give any advice or experience that would help.
Trapped, you remind me more of Job than Pharoah, in fact, the Pharoah comment seems unwarranted. One of the key features of Job was not just his intense loss and suffering, but how his friends and community completely turned on him believing that his misfortunes resulted from some hidden sin and his unwillingness to repent. Since Job was cognizant of no known sin, he refused to repent in order to appease them, which would then make him a liar and a man-pleaser.

Yet in his attempts to communicate his uprightness of heart and exemplary walk, he did approach self-righteousness at times, not recognizing God's ultimate position and authority over all creation. Many lessons were taught in this book, not just for the chief of sinners (more like myself), but also for good and honorable men, perhaps like yourself. What hurt Job the most was how mistreated he was, and what humbled him was knowing God.

All of us must surrender and be humbled by the mercy of God. For example, I visited a small country church yesterday. The minister at one point commented that he was saved by the Lord from a horrible life of drugs, drinking, and crime. Since I didn't know him, I assumed that was his life before salvation. Soon in his message I realized that he never participated in that lifestyle, but still was forever grateful to the Lord that he was not.

Trapped, like Job you have been hurt by others. "And the Lord restored Job completely when he prayed for his friends." -- Job 42.10
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Old Today, 09:22 AM   #21
HERn
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Sorry to butt in, but brother Trapped, maybe you should stop listening to sermons.
True dat! Spritual and psycological damage can be inflicted by self-assured bible thumpers. Sheep should watch out for false shepherds.
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Old Today, 09:32 AM   #22
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True dat! Spritual and psycological damage can be inflicted by self-assured bible thumpers. Sheep should watch out for false shepherds.
Evidence of a true shepherd would be if he/she is continually before the Great Shepherd pleading that He would enable them to better shepherd His flock. Evidence of an evil shepherd might be if he is more concerned with being absolute for a man's ministry rather than shepherding the flock according to Christ's example.
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Old Today, 09:37 AM   #23
UntoHim
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Why would Trapped want to stop listening to sermons? Trapped is a Christian and believes in the God of the Bible. As others have pointed out, we all have to exercise discernment (and even a little common sense) when accepting the teachings of any man.

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One of the sermons I heard said that if you are a person who cannot forgive others, then you don't understand the depth you've been forgiven by God. Maybe you don't think you're that bad and need forgiveness, and if that's the case then you should be scared to death.
I don't know who was giving the sermon and the overall context of this quote, but it is absolutely biblical and absolutely good advise!

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But as far as the awareness of my dirt and sin or my need of forgiveness, I don't have that much. Even the thought that "my sin put the Lord on the cross".....well, I sin because I was born with the sin nature, none of us are immune, so since it's not something I had any power to prevent why should I whip myself over it?
Thank's for your frankness and honesty. I believe a lot of Christians feel the same way, especially those who have been raised in, or spent many years in, groups like the Local Church of Witness Lee, where the Gospel has been either diluted, corrupted or just flat out changed. You see, the exposing and condemnation of sin is only a part of the Gospel, and if we stop at the exposing and condemnation of sin, we are selling God and what the Gospel offers terribly short.

Let me give a quick example of what I mean - We are all very familiar with the story of "The Woman at the Well" in John 4. The Lord Jesus did not instantly rip into the women about her having 5 husbands. What He did do was to offer her the ultimate gift of living water that she may have eternal life. Only after offering the woman the living water did the Lord Jesus ask her to "go, call your husband, and come here". This comports perfectly with what Jesus told Nicodemus in the previous chapter - "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." (John 3:17)

Actually the Lord Jesus was not sent by the Father to judge and condemn, (although he will eventually judge and condemn mightily at the Judgement) and he does not currently stand at the right hand of the Father to judge and condemn those who belong to him, rather he stands as a "merciful and faithful high priest" (Heb 2:17) and "the author and perfecter of our faith" (Heb 12:2). There is much more to say of course, however I believe that some of us (me included) have a tendency to not keep our eyes on the message of the full and complete Gospel.

Trapped, you have a good and honest heart! God will always honor this if you put your faith in him and his Word. I'll leave you with one more great verse in Hebrews - But without faith it is impossible to please him. For he that draws near to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them who seek him out. (Heb 11:6 Darby)
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Old Today, 04:49 PM   #24
Nell
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Default Re: Forgiveness

Hi Trapped,

After I read your posts #16 and #20, I thought of this old, beloved hymn, "Just as I Am". Your posts might "inspire" the thought "Just as I am, warts and all."

I think every Christian is blessed to come to the place where they can write what you did. I think the Lord has you right where He wants you!

Blessings to you Trapped--
Nell



Original Lyrics from Charlotte Elliot, 1835
Just as I am - without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am - and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am - though toss'd about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am - poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am - Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am - Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am - of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove
Here for a season, then above,
-O Lamb of God, I come
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Old Today, 07:13 PM   #25
Trapped
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Default Re: Forgiveness

awareness and HERn, I should have included more of the surrounding sermon for better context but was trying to save space. In short, the pastor spoke of Colossians 3:12-13, which says "....as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."

The scripture is saying you must forgive, in the same way the Lord has forgiven you. It's essentially a command. This is why if you refuse to forgive, you either don't understand the depth of the Lord's free gift of forgiveness ("as the Lord has forgiven you") and must not think you are that bad, or, you do understand it but in refusing to forgive you are disobeying a command from the Lord, and are thus rebelling against Him. Either way.....whether you think you are pretty good, or are disobeying God, neither is a place you should be comfortable in. I have to agree, even though I'm in one of those places and worryingly comfortable.

He talked about the difference between letting someone off the hook but their sin is still on your "mental account" versus actual Biblical forgiveness where you don't take revenge, you forgive completely, and you forgive repeatedly. All of which come at a price! I am VERY much a "mental account" type of person who doesn't want to pay the additional price on top of being wronged of forgiving completely and repeatedly without revenge.

There was a lot more but I'll say this one other thing. He mentioned that Joseph (of the coat of many colors) was able to forgive his brothers for selling him into slavery because he trusted in God's sovereignty. Genesis 50:20 "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." That's a very hard one for me because I just don't trust that God's sovereignty is ever going to work out well for me, and I mean EVER. This ties back to God and His heart for me being misrepresented to me for decades in the local churches, but has also seemed to play out in my life oftentimes too. It's difficult to trust in God's sovereignty when things don't go well or when you are suffering. Let me rephrase - it's not difficult to trust that God is still sovereign and over all even in the midst of my suffering.....but it IS VERY difficult to trust that God in His sovereignty cares at all or will ever use it for actual good that will comfort or remotely work out well for me, and that He isn't just watching it all play out with an unfeeling heart, and doesn't care to use it in ways that won't absolutely gut or knife me and send me reeling for months or years.
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