Tag Archives: relationships

Forgiveness – The Key to Love

Before love can be either given or received, there must be forgiveness. Through His son Jesus, God forgave our sins when Jesus died on the cross. This was love. We cannot truly love someone unless we are willing to forgive them.

Matthew 12:31 says: And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Even though every kind of sin can be forgiven, we still put limits on God forgiveness. The ability to forgive comes from God and not from our abilities.

What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is when we refuse to look at, or focus on the sins of others. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12(NIV) Here Jesus is quoting a passage in Jeremiah 31 as God was explaining to Jeremiah what would happen when God established His Covenant of Grace.

Many people have the idea that if we forgive someone, we forget what happened. However, forgiveness is when we ‘refuse to remember’ the wrong that was done against us. In other words, we do not keep reminding ourselves of the wrong done against us. Forgiveness is when we no longer ‘keep score’.

Many relationships are destroyed when someone in the relationship begins making a mental list of all the wrongs done against them. We want to use those sins to ‘protect’ our pride. We want to look better than the other person in the relationship.

“How can I forgive them when they have done…?” Forgiveness comes from God. When Jesus was dying on the cross, he did not say I forgive you. But he did say: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34(NIV) You see, only God can forgive sin. When someone sins against us, we ask God to do the forgiving because we are unable to do it in our own strength. Forgiveness requires God sized strength.

Throughout the Old Testament, the emphasis seems to be on looking at sin. The law was put into place so we would know what sin is. In Romans 7:7 Paul says:

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” Romans 7:7(NIV)

In the New Testament however, the focus is on the forgiveness of sins made available when God caused Jesus to be victorious over death. In the Gospels, Jesus is frequently telling people ‘their sins were forgiven’. This would get the religious leaders all in an uproar because only God could forgive sins. The leaders were focused on the sin, but Jesus was focused on the forgiveness of the Father. Jesus was doing what the God had instructed him to do.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.1 John 4:7-12(NIV)

When we experience God’s forgiveness, we can experience love. When we forgive others through the God’s strength, we can experience love. Love and un-forgiveness cannot co-exist. In other words, when we hang onto the sins of other, God cannot show us love because he cannot look at sin. Let go of the sins of others so God’s love can be seen in you.

When we exercise forgiveness of our spouse, we will begin experiencing love. When we exercise forgiveness our children or our parents, we begin to experience love. When we exercise forgiveness in a work or business relationship, we begin experiencing love. When we exercise forgiveness of our neighbor, we begin to experience love.

The most important thing in a person’s life is love. In 1 Corinthians 13:13(NIV) Paul is telling the church at Corinth that the greatest gift is “love”. When you exercise forgiveness, you are showing love. People will see love; they will know that Christ dwells within you. They will want what you have.

Forgiveness brings love, but un-forgiveness brings bitterness. (Acts 8:22-23)

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog was downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

Forgive as God Forgave

Paul in 2 Corinthians 1-11, is talking about a person that has offended the church at Corinth.   Paul tells them that they have punished him enough so that Paul did not need to punish him. However, Paul does say that once the punishment has been delivered, the person needs to be forgiven.

“The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:6-11(NIV)

In Colossians 3, Paul also says this about the Christian and their responsibility to forgive.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14(NIV)

God has given us the perfect example of forgiveness when he forgave our sins. Paul did not say “forgive as the Lord forgave you, BUT…” There is only one sin that God does not forgive. That sin occurs when someone blasphemes the Holy Spirit.

 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.Matthew 12:30-32(NIV)

If God forgives anyone who sins against him, then we can forgive anyone who sins against us.

Jesus also talked about forgiving others when he taught his disciples to pray. In fact immediately after he gave them the prayer in Matthew 6, he said:

 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15(NIV)

The choice to forgive is ours. However, if we chose not to forgive others, God will not forgive us.

Struggling with forgiveness has been shown in the Bible from the very beginning. In Matthew 28, Peter is struggling with forgiveness. He asked Jesus how many times he was to forgive a brother or sister who sins against him. Jesus replied seventy-seven times!

Then Jesus told a story of a servant who owed his master a large sum of money that he could not pay. After the servant begged his master to forgive his debt, the master agreed and forgave his debt.

Having his debt forgiven, the servant then went to another man who owed him money and demanded his money. Even though the man begged for forgiveness, the servant had him put into jail until he could pay the debt, which was the accepted penalty for failure to pay a debt.

When the master heard that the servant had not forgiven the man’s debt, he called the servant in and demanded immediate payment for his debt.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart. Matthew 18:32-36(NIV)

God expects us to forgive others in the same way he forgave us. Jesus paid the price for all of our sins not just a few small ones.

When God forgives us, he no longer holds those sins against us. He does not hold them in our face and remind us of those sins. He does however; continue to love us and to treat us as though we have not sinned against him.

When we forgive others, do we keep a list of the thing that we have forgiven “just in case” we need them later?

One of the greatest problems in relationships today is the failure to forgive as God forgives. We are more concerned about ourselves than we are about forgiving others. We are concerned about being ‘used’ by someone. We are concerned that they may commit the same sin again. In fact, we may even attempt to catch them committing the same sin against us.

Have you ever asked God to forgive a sin, and then you repeat the same sin a few days later? Did God go back and reinstate the first sin because you failed again? No, when he forgives you, he does not hold that sin against you. God continues to love you and to encourage you to do what is right. Do we love and encourage those who’s sins we have forgiven?

We have often heard the expression: Forgive and forget. Forgiveness does not require forgetting. God doesn’t forget, he just refuses to look at that sin again. Sin has consequences that sometimes cannot be forgotten, but they can be still be forgiven. Forgiveness needs to come from the heart and not from our emotions.

Love does not dwell on the sins committed against us, it dwells on the forgiveness given for those sins. The good news of the gospel is not that we do not sin anymore. The good news of the gospel is that there is forgiveness when we do sin. When someone sins against you, they do not need to feel guilty, but they do need to feel forgiven and loved.

When we sin against God, does He hold us hostage until we pay the price of that sin? No, God has already paid the price for sin. Are you holding someone hostage because of a sin they have committed? When you see that person, do you rehearse in your mind the sin they committed against you or do you remember the good that they have done? God still loves them and has forgiven them. You can also forgive them with the help of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. Release your hostages and forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.

Note: All scripture used in this article were downloaded from www.biblegateway.com, January 7, 2016

The Rainbow

I find the rainbow to be an interesting symbol, especially when the rainbow is associated with the same sex marriage decision made by the Supreme Court.

If one were to study Genesis 6-8, they would find that the world had become corrupt. The women had been forced into co-habitation relationships. The people had turned to their fleshly desires. They had forgotten that is was God who formed man in his image. Their thoughts were evil all the time. The world had become so evil that God wished he had never made man. It appears the way society was acting then is very similar to the  way society is acting today.

When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:1-8(NIV)

Noah was the exception, however. God found that Noah was a righteous man; a who still believed in God regardless of what society was doing; Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God chose Noah to save the world from their sin. God did destroy all the people of the world, but He saved Noah and his family. God also saved two of every kind of animal and bird.

God had a plan. God talked to Noah and told him to build an ark. Noah worked on the ark for 120 years. While Noah was building the ark, the people ridiculed him. He still trusted God and kept building the ark. God made a covenant with Noah saying that God would protect Noah, his family, and two of every kind of animal.

God gave the world 120 years to repent but the people did not improve their behavior. It continued to deteriorate. The flood came but Noah, his family, and a representative male and female animal from each kind were safe inside the ark. The people, who continued to sin and followed their fleshly desires, were destroyed by the flood.

After the destruction of the people who followed the fleshly desires of their heart. God caused the water to subside. The water subsided and God gave Noah a reminder of the promise God made with Noah, that he would never destroy all living creatures with a flood again.

Why then, would the rainbow be used to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to force same sex marriages on all states? Is it a reminder to people that we can either accept God, or reject God? If we reject God, God will turn us over to our sinful behavior, and we will die in our sin (See Romans 1:18-32). On the other hand, if we accept God, we will follow God, and will have eternal life with him.

The rainbow is a reminder of the covenant God made with Noah. Circumcision was a reminder of the covenant that God made with Abraham. The communion cup is a reminder of God grace offered to us. It represents the blood of Christ shed for us. Jesus paid the price for our sins. He made it possible for us to have eternal life with God.

When you see the rainbow, remember God’s love for us. It was so great that He sent His Son to die for our sin. He freed us from the guilt of our sin just as he promised.

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog were downloaded from  www.biblegateway.com

Cohabitation or Marriage?

What does the Bible say about co-habitation?

The Bible does not directly talk about cohabitation of couples. It does however, talk about marriage. Here is what it says about marriage:

Genesis 2:24(NIV) That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Matthew 19:4-6(NIV) “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’  and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Mark 10:7-9(NIV) ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,  and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

1 Corinthians 6:16 (NIV) Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body?

Ephesians 5:31(NIV)  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

As I read the Bible, it is apparent that marriage does not require paperwork! It only requires that the eligible couple consensually ‘sleeps together’, in other words “become one flesh.” The only exceptions to this are the cases we consider as rape or “for profit” sexual activity.  And in those cases, it is usually referred to as adultery or prostitution.

I should also point out that having a marriage license is a civil requirement, not specifically a Biblical requirement.

The Bible does teach however,  that if a married couple gets divorced, they need to have it done in writing.

If a couple has consensual intercourse and later separate, they should have the divorce in writing. If it is not done in writing, and they later get married, they are practicing ‘polygamy’.

Cohabitation is a civil term that means the married couple is living together without meeting a civil requirement or having the civil protection of a civil marriage. People who cohabitate, experience the same, or similar feelings of divorce that a non-cohabitating, married couple experience when they divorce.

What are the advantages if cohabitation?

According to some of the research findings, these are some of the ‘advantages’ (If you want to call them that) that you can expect to experience when cohabitating:

  • Slide into a relationship (89%) (Only 23% plan on marrying)
  • Lower level of commitment to the relationship
  • Don’t pool resources (16% pool resources)
  • Joint checking accounts (16.1%)
  • Higher sexual infidelity (Twice as high as for married couples)
  • Lower “levels of closeness, love and satisfaction in intimacy dimensions”
  • Physical violence (12% if engaged to be married,15% if not engaged to be married.)
  • Less satisfaction even if they eventually marry
  • Have more marital problems when they do marry.

What are the advantages of marriage?

According to the research findings I have read, these would be some of the advantages of marriage over cohabitation:

  • High rate of intentional relationships
  • Higher level of commitment to the relationship
  • Tend to pool resources (80% pool resources)
  • Joint checking accounts (70%)
  • Higher sexual fidelity
  • Higher “levels of closeness, love and satisfaction in intimacy dimensions”
  • Physical violations of less than 4% if married without cohabitation first
  • More marital satisfaction without cohabitation prior to marriage
  • Fewer marital problems without cohabitating prior to marriage

Conclusion:

The real question here is “would you rather have a marriage the way the Bible teaches or have cohabitate based on the definition and practice of civil government?”

God has a plan for marriage. His plan is not in opposition to the civil practices regarding marital relationships. However, even if you didn’t believe the Bible or God’s plan for marriage, the results appear to be the same. Do you want the real thing, or do you want the temporary satisfaction of having your immediate, sexual gratification satisfied?

(This information comes from my reading some of the research results pertaining to the subject. The statistical information in this article comes from  an article by James E. Sheridan written for  The News-Sentinel, Wednesday, January 14, 2015 as downloaded January 23, 2015 from http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20150114/LIVING/150119967/1008

All Scripture used in this article were downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2011&version=NIV