Sexual Purity Posts

The Secret of Forgiveness

We will never be cleansed until we confess we are dirty. We will never be pure until we admit we are filthy. And we will never be able to wash the feet of those who have hurt us until we allow Jesus, the one we have hurt, to wash ours.

You see, that is the secret of forgiveness. You will never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you. Only by letting him wash your feet can you have strength to wash those of another.

Still hard to imagine? Is it still hard to consider the thought of forgiving the one who hurt you?

If so, go one more time to the room. Watch Jesus as he goes from disciple to disciple. Can you see him? Can you hear the water splash? Can you hear him shuffle on the floor to the next person? Good. Keep that image.

John 13:12 says, “When he had finished washing their feet … ” (NCV)

Please note; he finished washing their feet. That means he left no one out. Why is that important? Because that also means he washed the feet of Judas. Jesus washed the feet of his betrayer. He gave his traitor equal attention. In just a few hours Judas’ feet would guide the Roman guard to Jesus. But at this moment they are caressed by Christ.

That’s not to say it was easy for Jesus.

That’s not to say it is easy for you.

That is to say that God will never call you to do what he hasn’t already done.

Today’s devotional is drawn from Max Lucado’s Second Chances.

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A Small Piece of the Puzzle

Revenge belongs to God. If vengeance is God’s, then it is not ours. God has not asked us to settle the score or get even. Ever.

Why? The answer is found in Joseph’s statement: “You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good to save the lives of many people, which is being done.”

Forgiveness comes easier with a wide-angle lens. Joseph uses one to get the whole picture. He refuses to focus on the betrayal of his brothers without also seeing the loyalty of his God.

It always helps to see the big picture.

Some time ago I was in an airport lobby when I saw an acquaintance enter. He was a man I hadn’t seen in a while but had thought about often. He’d been through a divorce, and I was close enough to it to know that he deserved some of the blame.

I noticed he was not alone. Beside him was a woman. Why, that scoundrel! Just a few months out and here he has another lady?

Any thought of greeting him disappeared as I passed judgment on his character. But then he saw me. He waved at me. He motioned me over. I was caught. I was trapped. I’d have to go visit with the reprobate. So I did.

“Max, meet my aunt and her husband.”

I gulped. I hadn’t noticed the man.

“We’re on our way to a family reunion. I know they would really like to meet you.”

“We use your books in our home Bible study,” my friend’s uncle spoke up. “You’ve got some great insights.”

“If only you knew,” I said to myself. I had committed a common sin of the unforgiving. I had cast a vote without knowing the story.

To forgive someone is to admit our limitations. We’ve been given only one piece of life’s jigsaw puzzle. Only God has the cover of the box. To forgive someone is to display reverence. Forgiveness is not saying the one who hurt you was right. Forgiveness is stating that God is fair and he will do what is right.

After all, don’t we have enough things to do without trying to do God’s work too?

Today’s devotional is drawn from Max Lucado’s Cast of Characters.


Sexual Purity Posts

“Forgive Him? Never!” – 13 Excuses You’ll Use to Never Forgive Your Husband

The leaders of Castimonia would like to state that forgiveness is not so much for the person that committed the transgression against you, but for you and your healing.

“Forgive Him? Never!” – 13 Excuses You’ll Use to Never Forgive Your Husband

by Bevill and Associates

Scenario: My husband committed adultery (or viewed pornography…again!) and has asked me to forgive him. I don’t think I can forgive him, but I know God has told us to forgive one another. How can I get past my feelings?

Woman Alone and Hurt

First of all, we must realize that forgiveness is not a feeling, but it is an action God commands. We must choose whether we will obey by faith (in spite of our feelings) or disobey His command (because of our feelings). In Ephesians 4:32, God gave us the model when He forgave our sins at great cost to Himself but with grace and mercy to us.

Refusing to forgive binds us, not the person who has sinned against us (Matt. 6:14-15). God’s ways always lead to the abundant life, to freedom and blessings, even when they are hard paths, or feel impossible, from our human perspective. God teaches us how to reach out and love with His love, to forgive with His forgiveness, to return His blessing for their cursing (Rom. 12:9-21). Only genuine heart change allows the Holy Spirit to do such a wonderful work in our hearts that we can love those we would rather hate!

I hear excuses all the time about why someone just can’t forgive. Here are a few:

“How can I forgive him after what he’s done to our marriage?” His intent most likely was not to destroy the marriage. His sin does affect the marriage, but so does your response to his sin! Forgiving may point him to Christ and to godly sorrow that produces the fruit of repentance and change (2 Cor. 7:9-10). Your godly response may actually help to redeem the marriage!

“How can I forgive him again?” How many times has the Lord forgiven you? Matt. 17:3-4 makes it very clear we must repeatedly forgive. But notice the next verse where the disciples are begging for faith to obey. Yet the Lord’s response paraphrased says, “You don’t need more faith, you just need to put your little bit of faith into action and do what is your duty, to obey me!” Wow! That can be hard, but it is the right thing to do when he is truly repentant, and only the Lord knows that! So, we forgive again.

“How can I forgive him? This is way too big!” His sin is big, but so is mine! God doesn’t measure sin by the same yardstick you and I do. He measures it against absolute obedience to Him, and we all fall pitifully short! Yet the Lord warns us strongly against playing god and thinking we hold the yardstick for others to live up to (Matt. 7:1-5).

“How can I forgive him after his total betrayal of me?” Paul understood the principle that to share in the suffering of Christ makes us more like Christ (Phil. 3:10). Our experience of betrayal helps us to identify with his. Peter taught us that suffering when we are doing the right thing reveals God’s glory in us (1 Pet. 4:12-14, 19). The Christian life is not about me, but about honoring my Lord, especially in the deepest trials of life.

“How can I forgive him when he hasn’t repented?” His repentance is between him and God, so we forgive from the heart and trust God to convict and change him from the inside out. That typically doesn’t happen overnight, but God has made a promise to each of His own to complete what He has started in us (Phil. 1:6)! Pray for God to do His work in your husband and He will – in His time and His way.

“How can I forgive him when I don’t feel it?” Forgiveness is a heart issue. Forgive anyone anything (Mark 11:25). It’s an act of obedience. The feelings come when forgiveness is asked for and granted, and then there is a “forgetfulness” modeled after the way God removes our sin and remembers it no more (Jer. 31:34). We must choose not to remember the offences so we don’t use them in destructive ways.

“How can I forgive him when he hasn’t asked?” You can’t! God doesn’t forgive us until we ask. Butyou can have a heart ready and willing to forgive him the moment he does ask, just as God forgives us the moment we ask. You will have fulfilled your duty toward God and toward your husband when your heart desires repentance more than anything for him. That means you don’t shortcut God’s convicting power over his sin by saying prematurely to him that you have forgiven him, but only saying you are willing to forgive when he repents and asks. The transaction is complete when forgiveness is asked for and granted! God provided for our forgiveness long before we asked!

“How can I forgive him when I keep thinking about it?” When forgiveness has been asked and granted, it is your responsibility to exercise thought control and think of his sin only in the context of God’s grace. You no longer dwell on it or replay the video in your mind, because that keeps bitterness stirred up in you.

“How can I forgive him if his sin is a common topic with my family or friends?”Gossip is a desire to make others judge the offender just as you have judged him. It is talking to people who are not a part of the problem or a part of the solution. Discussion about his sin must cease once the issue has been settled, and that includes bringing it up to him, using it as a weapon to wound him just as he wounded you. That is what it means to remember it no more just as God does for our sin (Jer. 31:34). We will never stand in judgment for our sin because it has been forgiven (Rom. 8:1).

“How can I forgive God for letting him do this to me?” God has never sinned and will never sin, and therefore needs no one’s forgiveness; this is blasphemy to falsely accuse God. God never tempts anyone to sin (James 1:13-16) and cannot be blamed when anyone chooses to sin. God does allow us to make sinful choices. Freedom to choose parallels His love, but sometimes we make foolish choices. Thank God for grace and mercy!

“How can I forgive him when I can’t even forgive myself?” This excuse makes my standard of perfection above God’s. My comparison and expectation for myself and others will always fall short (2 Cor. 10:12). That’s why we desperately need God’s grace and mercy, all of us! We are never commanded to forgive ourselves, but to accept God’s forgiveness.  We then grant the same forgiveness to others, recognizing all sin is first and foremost sin against God, and He forgives anyone who asks.

“How can I forgive him when I still don’t trust him?” Trust takes time to rebuild. It is not the same as forgiveness that comes from your own heart. Rebuilding trust is the responsibility of the offender, as he demonstrates over time his faithfulness, dependability, accountability, and consistency. But you must allow him that time as you invest in the relationship, and he must work toward rebuilding the trust by faithfully honoring God and you to the best of his human ability.

“Maybe I will forgive someday, but not today!” Eph. 4:26-27 tells us to not keep holding onto those things that make us angry because it gives the devil a foothold in our hearts and keeps our bitterness alive (Heb. 12:15). Settling and forgiving offences is God’s way for each of us!

I’ve heard all of these excuses, but the best definition of an excuse I’ve ever heard is A skin of a reason, stuffed with a LIE!” Let’s all examine ourselves to see that we are living by faith in Truth, not with excuses of why we can’t forgive someone!

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Sexual Purity Posts

How to Forgive When It’s Hard to Forget

Proverbs 4:23 – “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

“I know I’m supposed to forgive,” a woman to me (Dr. Cloud) at a recent seminar. “But, I just can’t open myself up to that kind of hurt anymore. I know I should forgive him and trust him, but if I let him back in, the same thing will happen, and I can’t go through that again.”

“Who said anything about ‘trusting’ him?” I asked. “I don’t think you should trust him either.”

“But you said I was supposed to forgive him, and if I do that, doesn’t that mean giving him another chance? Don’t I have to open up to him again?”

“No, you don’t,” I replied. “Forgiveness and trust are two totally different things. In fact, that’s part of your problem. Every time he’s done this, he’s come back and apologized, and you have just accepted him right back into your life, and nothing has changed. You trusted him, nothing was different, and he did it again. I don’t think that’s wise.”

“Well,” she asked, “How can I forgive him without opening myself up to being hurt again?”

Good question. We hear this problem over and over again. People have been hurt, and they do one of two things. Either they confront the other person about something that has happened, the other person says he’s sorry, and they forgive, open themselves up again, and blindly trust. Or, in fear of opening themselves up again, they avoid the conversation altogether and hold onto the hurt, fearing that forgiveness will make them vulnerable once again.

How do you resolve this dilemma?

The simplest way to help you to organize your thoughts as you confront this problem is to remember three points:

1. Forgiveness has to do with the past. Forgiveness is not holding something someone has done against her. It is letting it go. It only takes one to offer forgiveness. And just as God has offered forgiveness to everyone, we are expected to do the same (see Matthew 6:12&18:35).

2. Reconciliation has to do with the present. It occurs when the other person apologizes and accepts forgiveness. It takes two to reconcile.

3. Trust has to do with the future. It deals with both what you will risk happening again and what you will open yourself up to. A person must show through his actions that he is trustworthy before you trust him again (see Matthew 3:8; Proverbs 4:23).

You could have a conversation that deals with two of these issues, or all three. In some good boundary conversations, you forgive the other person for the past, reconcile in the present, and then discuss what the limits of trust will be in the future. The main point is this: Keep the future clearly differentiated from the past.

As you discuss the future, you clearly delineate what your expectations are, what limits you will set, what the conditions will be, or what the consequences (good or bad) of various actions will be. As the proverb says, “A righteous man is cautious in friendship” (see Proverbs 12:26). Differentiating between forgiveness and trust does a number of things:

First, you prevent the other person from being able to say that not opening up again means you are “holding it against me.”

Second, you draw a clear line from the past to the possibility of a good future with a new beginning point of today, with a new plan and new expectations. If you have had flimsy boundaries in the past, you are sending a clear message that you are going to do things differently in the future.

Third, you give the relationship a new opportunity to go forward. You can make a new plan, with the other person potentially feeling cleansed and feeling as though the past will not be used to shame or hurt him. As a forgiven person, he can become an enthusiastic partner in the future of the relationship instead of a guilty convict trying to work his way out of relational purgatory. And you can feel free, not burdened by bitterness and punitive feelings, while at the same time being wise about the future.

This devotional is drawn from Boundaries in Dating, by John Townsend and Henry Cloud.

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Somebody Hurt Me – VIDEO

Great sermon from this past Sunday on forgiving those that have hurt us.  Coming from a man that was sexually abused as a child, I have come to understand quite a bit about forgiving those that hurt me.  Nevertheless, this can be applied to various aspects of life to anyone who has been hurt by someone else. If you have been hurt by someone (a loved one, a friend, a co-worker) I urge you to watch this sermon.

1. Forgiveness is the key to healing my hurts.

2. Forgiveness does not mean their actions were “OK” or that I forget what she did. 

3. Forgiveness is a process, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

4. Hating the person that hurt me keeps my hurt alive!

– Hate is a parasite that hurts us, not the person we hate.

5. Forgiving the person allows my life to move forward!

6. Not forgiving others keeps us locked away in a prison, where we hold the key.

7. Forgiveness is for me, not for the person who hurt me.



Click on this link to view more messages in the Transformed Series:

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Everyone Deserves Forgiveness

forgivenessMany people seem to have a misunderstanding about what it really means to forgive someone for a wrong done to them. The first thing I want to point out is… forgiveness is NOT a gift you give to another, but rather something you do inside of yourself, for yourself. The other person need never know. You can choose to extend forgiveness to the other person, if that is your choice, but it is not necessary in order to forgive inside of yourself and heal the pain you carry for a wrong another has done to you or that has affected you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation – nor does it mean you have to allow a behavior that can hurt you to continue to hurt you. Forgiveness is, in essence, the acknowledgment inside of yourself that the person who has wronged you in some way is a fallible human being – and that, like a human being, they made a mistake worthy of your forgiveness. …everyone deserves forgiveness inside of themselves, because to hold on to old wounds defeats you as a person. It closes off a part of your heart and self that you cannot give to anyone else as long as you hang on to the anger and bitterness that remains in you when you do not forgive. From “Forgiveness – the Gift You Give Yourself”

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi