Have you ever been offended?
Without a doubt every single person has been offended by someone in their life time. Because we live in a fallen world and are fallen people; we are offended and offend other people. Even Jesus, who was perfect, offended people. Because of this problem, we have forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the art of letting go of the offence. Forgiveness is an action, but it is also an art. An art is something that has some principles that can be learned and taught, but also it is something that must become a part of the person. I believe the Art of Forgiveness is not about following a 5 step process of who to forgive someone or yourself; but it is lifestyle that must become a part of everything you do and think.
Look at it this way…if you go to a great artist and they hand you a canvas with lines and numbers on it and instruct you on every detail of your painting it will be beautiful. However, the next week when you sit down at home with an identical canvas and begin painting it will not be the same as it was before.
This is how forgiveness is…Every person is different…every offence is different…this means you must learn the ART of forgiveness not just the “paint by numbers” way you should forgive.
Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil teaches there must be a logical and step by step process to forgiveness, but the Tree of Life teaches the Art of a forgiving lifestyle through the power and gifting of the Holy Spirit when we are surrendered to Him.
In order to begin a lifestyle of forgiveness we must first start with the forgiveness that each one of us has.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.Isaiah 1:18
God was speaking to Israel that even though your sin is so great He will wash it away. In the verses before the people are being compared to Sodom and Gomora. Even the burnt offerings and festivals that are in the command of God were not good. God was trying to speak to them and to you and I today that. Through Him we can have freedom from our sin no matter how bad it is. God speaks again in Isaiah.
“I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.Isaiah 43:25
Have you ever gotten a stain and you tried washing it, but it wouldn’t fully come out. It is easy to see that when that red catchup stain is there we feel dirty, but even if that shirt becomes white again. The memory of the stain lingers. There are two sides to this memory.
Conviction – reminds us to be careful, use a napkin or a plate. There is a learning from the mistake.
Condemnation – Reminds us of the embarrassment or shame that came with walking around school or work with a big stain on your shirt. Thinking everything is looking, everyone is laughing, everything things I’m a baby that can’t take care of myself…I will show them!
Isaiah 42 tells us that God remembers YOUR SIN NO MORE! The Holy Spirit does not remind you of the embarrassment or shame of your sin, but gives instruction how to change for the next time.
The art of forgiveness , but start on a blank canvas. When you allow your past sins, your today sins, or your tomorrow sins to stain your canvas you will never be able to paint a life of forgiveness for others.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,Romans 8:1
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8
When you where or are at your worst God is at His Best forgiving you…fully, completely and truly…WITH NO CONDEMNATION! Because…
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.Galatians 5:1
Do you have faith to stand before God; like Adam and Eve…Naked and unashamed??? Physically, emotionally, Mentally, Spiritually…Knowing that your sin is cleaned and God does not remember it.
Now that you have a blank, clean canvas it is time to start painting a life of forgiveness; not by numbers. But by the power of the Holy Spirit in your freedom.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.Colossians 3:13
My mother-in-law is an artist and she teaches; she quotes Bob Ross; saying there is no such thing as a mistake only a happy accidents. In art we can often spend so much time looking at the way it “must be done” in order to be perfect. I believe it is the same with forgiveness. You are forgiven, by God. He forgave it all for you. Why do we feel we have the right to not forgive someone else. Just as God forgave you, so you need to forgive.
In this process we will often mess up, because we need to approach forgiveness differently for different people or situations. But when we are creating the art of forgiveness; remember there aren’t mistakes. We can say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing; believing we are seeking forgiveness. When in reality we are trying to avoid the problem.
Always seek to forgiven and be forgiven.
Forgiveness builds bridges when unforgiveness builds walls. Let’s not create walls between ourselves and others or between ourselves and God.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.Matthew 6:14-15
When we allow unforgiveness in our lives we build walls between people and God. Even if you didn’t mean to. That is what happened. Do you want to see God Move? Do you want to hear God Speak? Do you want to feel the Holy Spirit all the time?
You must live a life of forgiveness.
I ask again…Have you ever been offended? Living a list of forgiveness creates a life of freedom from being offended.
The art of forgiveness is as hard as painting that masterpiece without the numbers and lines; but the Holy Spirit will instruct you into all truth…If you will ask.
Do not allow your sin or others sin stop you for seeing the masterpiece the Holy Spirit is creating with you in this area of forgiveness.
This week ask the Holy Spirit to give you light into the truth about how you view/forgive yourself and how you view and forgive others. This may look like giving someone a call, sending flowers, writing a note, or simply surrendering to the truth about your own innocence before God.