The Forgiveness Series Article 5 of 71
Our beliefs about Gods role in our lives can close us off or open us up to receive the many benefits of biblical forgiveness. God is interested in how we respond to our offenders. When God chooses not to stop an offense, it may be because He desires to use it to benefit our lives. He knows that the pain we endure will result in our ultimate good.
The first deception many Christians believe regarding forgiveness is the conclusion that those people who hurt us are acting solely on their own initiative. Christians who subscribe to this deception believe that offenders perpetrate their offenses exclusively on their own authority and out of their own motivation. In short, their choice to commit an offense is the only reason that the offense occurred. This belief is a natural assumption of the human heart. Thus, when someone hurts us, we focus on the bad treatment we have suffered at his or her hands. Soon the hurt turns to anger and seething resentment. Then, before long, bitterness takes root in our hearts.
Do we believe that God is in charge?
In order to get at the truth regarding biblical forgiveness, Christians must ask themselves, Do I belong to God? Am I confident that Jesus Christ is in my life? Am I willing to submit my life to His authority?
If Jesus Christ is not our Lord and if we are not willing to submit our lives to His leadership, then the promises contained in the scriptural principles of forgiveness do not apply to us. However, if we answered yes to the questions listed above, God desires to establish a very important truth in our hearts. It is interesting to note that Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Roman Catholics are all in agreement as to this particular truth, which is found in the Bible from Genesis 1 all the way through Revelation 22. The truth is that God is in charge.
To use scriptural terminology, we say that God is sovereign. Because God is sovereign, nothing can touch our lives unless God first authorizes it. A sovereign God who can prevent an offense from touching our lives must therefore allow the offense to reach us before it can hurt us. When God chooses not to stop an offense, it is because He desires to use it to benefit our lives. He knows that the pain we endure will result in our ultimate good. The implications to this truth are obvious. Our problems are bigger than whatever our husbands or wives have done to offend us. They are bigger than our employers angry attitudes. They are bigger than the unfair treatment we are getting from our parents.
God is interested in how we respond to our offenders.
Although God is intimately acquainted with every detail of His childrens afflictions and hardships, He is far more concerned with how we respond to our problems, trials and difficulties. (He is very concerned, as well, about the offenders, the perpetrators and the victimizers. He has a plan for them too.) The way in which we respond to offenses, however, is probably the greatest determining factor of whether Jesus Christ is Lord of our lives or whether we are retaining some aspects of that control for ourselves.
No circumstance that we have ever been through has touched our lives by chance. No situation that we have ever faced has occurred by accident. No difficulty that we have ever encountered has happened apart from divine will.
In Romans 8:28 we find a powerful promise to every Believer, We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
God has promised to bring good out of every offense that we have ever endured.