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Becoming a Woman of Freedom ~ Bitterness and Forgiveness

November 13, 2010

Here are some notes from our Bible Study series by Cynthia Heald.

Ephesians 4:31 – 32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Colossians 3:12-13 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

  • These scriptures serve as a reminder to us to “clothe ourselves” with compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience.  These are beautiful qualities that are an attribute to personal character.  Additionally, we are reminded of the things to “get rid of”, bitterness, rage, anger, slander and malice.  Both of these scriptures ends with the same instruction, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  We can not “clothe ourselves” with the good and “get rid of” the bad without forgiveness.  Unforgiveness is the beginning of  a root of bitterness (a deep resentment) which traps us in a bad cycle that isn’t healthy for us or anyone around us.  But, how?  How do we forgive?  The answer:  “Just as God forgave you.”   To truly understand the process of forgiveness we must look to the example God has given to us and revisit the amazing forgiveness God has extended to us.  It is important to remember that laying aside bitterness and walking out forgiveness is sometimes a painful process – we are doing something divine through a vessel of humanity.  The Holy Spirit within us empowers us to forgive, the sinful nature within us wants to battle forgiveness every step of the way. 

 

“We have cause to suspect our religion if it does not make us gentle, and forbearing, and forgiving; if the love of our Lord does not so flood our hearts as to cleanse them of all bitterness, and spite, and wrath.  If a man is nursing anger, if he is letting his mind become a nest of foul passions, malice, hatred and evil wishing, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”  –  Hugh Black

 

Ephesians 1:7-8 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify (remove guilt) us from all unrighteousness.

  • These scriptures paint the beautiful picture of forgiveness that is extended to us from God.  We learn from these verses that God forgives with Lavish Grace (undeserved gifts poured out in abundance).  We might be tempted to withhold forgiveness because we don’t feel that person “deserves” it.  Grace is to extend gifts to people who are undeserving of those gifts.  Forgiveness does not make what the person did right, it is lavishing an undeserved gift on them – grace. 

Luke 23:33-34 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

  • Lastly, we see the ultimate example of forgiveness through Christ.  As Jesus was suffering beyond our comprehension He extended forgiveness.  The one who had more reason then we would ever have to hold bitterness…. chose to lavish grace through forgiveness. 
  • How did He do it?  He spoke it.  He said it out loud.  Who did He speak it to?  He spoke His forgiveness out loud to God.  Following Christ’s example – We need to first choose forgiveness and then we need to speak it out loud to God.  One of the most powerful and successful ways I have found to work through feelings of bitterness is to make a committment to speak one sentence out loud everyday to God.  “I forgive ________________ in Jesus name.  (fill in the blank with the name or names of those you need to forgive)  It is such a simple sentence.  Just one sentence out loud with their name(s) everyday.  One day turns into a week, turns into a month, turns into several months and before you know it the bitterness is replaced with the freedom of forgiveness.  It works… just try it.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 14, 2010 7:08 am

    Good article. I like it.

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