The Power Of Forgiveness
by Loy Clements
(Springhill, LA. U.S.A.)
Forgiveness is God's Love in Action
Text: Luke 23:34
The most powerful two decisions any person can give someone else is "I am sorry, please forgive me", or to pray "Lord lay not this sin to their charge."
In Acts 7:54-60 we see the pure heart of Stephen, a man of forgiveness. In the world in which we live today there is a force that has been released that is a murder of everything good.
This force is called strife, and it is manifested through the pride of men that refuses to forgive others who have wounded their hearts. "The spirit of man will sustain him; but a wounded spirit who can bear?" Someone whose heart is filled with forgiveness!
I. Strife creates every evil thing in our life.
2nd Timothy 2:5,14,24
"And if a man also strives for mastery, yet he is not crowned, except he strive lawfully."
The Greek word for strife here in verse 5 is atheo or athlos, and it means to compete in the competitive game. We are not to compete against each other for a position of leadership.
"Of these things put them in rememberance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words of no profit, but to the subverting of the hearer."
This Greek word for strife in verse 14 is logomacheo, and it means to be in a disputation (or trifle): strive about words. We are not to get into arguments over words, or doctrines (teachings).
"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compated by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual (effective) working in the measure of every part (of each part doing its share), maketh increase (causes growth) of the Body unto the edifying of itself in love."
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt (able) to teach, patient."
The Greek word for strive or strife here in verse 24 is machoal, and it is a primary verb and means to war, to quarrel, dispute: fight, strive.
We are not to cause war aginst others. These Greek words are found in Strong's Exhausive Concordance Of The Bible.
II. Go not forth hastily to strive.
"Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end, when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame."
III. The end of all strife.
"For man verily swears by the greater: an oath for comformation is to them an end of all strife."
IV. Our freedom comes in a decision.
"Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and truth: put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve the Lord. And if it seems evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in which land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Conclusion: Never allow strife into your heart! Strife will always seperate us from God and His will for our lives. A failed life is one that has been lived with a heart full of strife, and unforgiveness! The kind of forgiveness Jesus showed at Calvary is the secret to every person's success. Amen.
Note from Mark: Thanks Loy. I don't think we can be reminded too much about the need for us to forgive others like Christ forgave us.