Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, October eleventh.
Whether someone hurts you deliberately or carelessly, the pain can be very real and unrelenting. Today's final message in our series helps you work through anger and forgiveness. Well, I was seated in a restaurant the other day and I just happened to be looking around and there were two ladies seated there and one of them waved. So, I sort of waved back. I did not know who she was. And in a few moments, she came by and she said, I saw you sitting there and I just had to come up here and tell you something.
She says, you see that lady over there? She says, I hated her. And one Sunday, my husband and I were watching television and I began to listen to your message about forgiveness. And she says, by the time it was over, I got saved. My husband got saved. God began to work in my life, change my life. And now the woman I hated is one of my very dearest friends. There is awesome power in forgiveness. And whereas she had been a woman of hatred, she became a woman of love. It affected her whole family, her husband's relationship with her.
And then he began to serve the Lord. And I wonder how many people that I'm speaking to right now who are angry. Who are you angry at? What did they say? What did they do? How did they heap on you something you can hardly live with it? And somehow deep down inside, it just gnaws away day after day. You don't want to see them. You don't want to talk to them.
In fact, you'd like to avoid them at all costs. And even when you're able to, you think, well, maybe that got rid of it, but deep down inside it didn't. Because you see, you can't get rid of anger by replacing yourself to some other destination somewhere.
Something has to happen on the inside of you. And so, I want to encourage you to listen very carefully because this message could absolutely, if you listen to it, by the power of the Holy Spirit, change your life. But even more than that, I'd put it like this. It'll set you free. Many people are very angry and know it. Many people are very angry and do not know it. And they're living enslaved by an attitude. Because you see, anger, bitterness, hostility, all of these are very enslaving attitudes. For example, one of the most difficult situations about unforgiveness is divorce.
When you've got two people who live together, sleep together, bear children together, and live together for years, and then one walks away for some other woman or some other man. And you say, well now, what am I to do about that? What did Jesus say?
Now, here's what I want you to remember. That doesn't mean that forgiveness, listen, always happens instantaneously and immediately. The shock, for example, of a woman going home from church and finding her husband says, left her a note, I'm leaving you, I'm in love with someone else, I want a divorce. Well, if she's to sit down and say, well Lord, here's what you said, if we confess our sins, that doesn't work. That's not forgiveness. And you know what? God knows that no person who loves anyone could say, well, I'm just going to, I'm going to deal with this right now and be forgiving and just forget it.
No. There's hurt that is so deep, it takes time. But you need to start as soon as possible. Don't allow anger to become a form of deep-rooted bitterness down inside of you. It's one thing to be angry, but bitterness, hostility, rage that happens oftentimes in people's lives. So, while we need to deal with things immediately, it's not going to happen as far as the spirit of forgiveness. Listen, even your capacity to forgive, because think about the shock of that. It's a shock. And you've got lots of questions. Why? What?
When? And all the things that happen. So, I'm not saying that forgiveness comes instantly. But it needs to come as quickly as you are capable and mature enough as a believer to deal with it. So, the question is, how do we deal with it? How do you deal with anger?
What steps do we take? First of all, this is the first one. I need to acknowledge I have experienced God's total forgiveness in my life. I've been saved by His grace, His love, His goodness and His mercy.
All of my forgiveness has come from God by His grace, not because I deserved it in some fashion. In other words, you start out and the foundation is this. He's been doing this for me all my life. That's where I start from. That I'm a forgiven person. That is the first step. And until you come to that conclusion, realization, then more than likely you're not going to deal with it wisely. The second step is this. And that is, I must be willing to confess my anger, my hostility, my bitterness, my resentment, rage. I must be willing to confess that to Him. God, this is what I've done. This is my attitude. This is not the right attitude.
I'm asking You to forgive me for my anger toward, and my anger toward her, and my anger toward this. And in other words, it must be specific. Because remember, what we're talking about is breaking out of slavery, breaking out of bondage. And forms of bondage are not just general things.
A person is in bondage to drugs or to sex or to alcohol or to money or whatever it might be. So, if I'm confessing something, I need to deal with it on the basis of being very personal about it and very specific about it. And the third thing is this. I have to realize and acknowledge the fact that my unforgiveness is a violation of the Word of God. That I have sinned against Him and I've sinned against others as a result of having an unforgiving spirit. And I want God to deal with that.
And so, I have to be absolutely open and honest about it and recognize it's a violation of the Word of God. And then, the fourth one is this. Ask God to forgive you. You say, doesn't that sound like that last one?
Close. Ask God to forgive you. Father, I'm asking you to forgive me specifically for what I've said, what I've done, and my attitude toward this person.
Forgive me. And as we said before, does that mean you have to go to every single person? It depends upon the situation. We'll come to that in a minute. But specifically asking for forgiveness.
Now, remember what we said in the beginning. For some people, well, they'll just think I'm weak. Suppose they reject me. Suppose they take advantage of me. Suppose I'm misunderstood.
That doesn't make any difference. There's nothing in the Scripture about conditional forgiveness. It doesn't say ask your brother to forgive you unless he's going to reject you, unless you're going to be misunderstood, unless it's going to be painful, none of that. We're to be forgiving no matter what the situation may be.
And then I think about this. By an act of my will, Father, and the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within me, I lay down this anger. I lay down this bitterness. I lay down this terrible anger I've had inside of me. By an act of my will, listen, not my feelings, by an act of my will, I choose, I make a choice to lay this down. And in the process of doing that by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within you, you can lay down anger and God will remove it from your life. But you've got to come at it the way we're saying. And that is, first of all, acknowledging His forgiveness and acknowledging we don't deserve it. And acknowledge how many times He's forgiven you and His promise to forgive. And what you're doing is you're laying down.
You say, well, I'm angry at several people. Well, you may have to do it with one person at a time, which is probably what's going to happen. But I'm only going to be able to lay it down and I will only lay it down when I genuinely acknowledge His forgiveness toward me and the grace that has surrounded and filled you and overflowed you all these years. Then you will acknowledge it. Then you will deal with it. Until you do, you will not.
It just doesn't happen that way. Now, let's go back to this issue of going to a person. God will show you if you need to go to that person, that normally under most conditions you need to say to them, my attitude toward you has not been right. Now, let's say they really wronged you. And I learned this myself when I had to go to my stepfather. And I had lots of reasons not to forgive. And when somebody hurts your mother, you can defend it almost to God, but not quite.
And so, I remember it took me at least a few months to decide how I was going to do it. How am I going to say to him, would you forgive me for my attitude toward you when I can still see in my mind and remember the things that you said and the way you treated my mother, how can I, what am I going to say? It took me several months to realize I had to go and say to him, I need to ask you to forgive me for my attitude toward you because it has been wrong. I've been resentful. I've been angry. And I need to ask you to forgive me.
Period. Not because you did this and because you did that and because the others. In other words, genuine forgiveness, watch this, genuine forgiveness does not build up a defense and say I'm going to forgive you, but genuine forgiveness forgives with no limitations and no demands. And I remember what happened because I'd never seen this in all the years I lived with him. First of all, he said, oh, you don't need to say that to me.
I'm the one who needs to be asking you. I've never known him to ask anybody forgiveness. Anyway, he came around the table, hugged me, you name it, and everything else went on. But I had to take the initiative. He would have died before he'd have ever said I'm wrong.
Here's what I want you to see. When you and I deal with forgiveness in our life, we set other people free. That's how he got free and that's how he got saved.
He got free when I got free to set him free by saying I was wrong in what I did. That's what true genuine forgiveness is all about. Then somebody says, well, but suppose they live a thousand miles away and I can't get to them. And suppose they've already died. I meet people rather often who have a problem with a father who has abused them, a young woman who has been abused by her father and now he's dead.
And here she is fifteen, sixty years of age and she's kept it all these years. So, how do you deal with that when the person's already dead, gone? Here's the best way you can deal with it. Somebody says, well, I just tell God I'm forgiving Him.
No, remember it's not mouth, it's emotion, it's feeling. You put two chairs, face each other. You sit down in one of them and you imagine that your father or mother or friend or employer, whoever it is, they're dead now. You sit them in the other chair and you can visualize them.
And you can. You visualize them sitting there and here's what you do. You say to them exactly what you would say if you were facing them. And the truth is it's a little easier because now they can't say anything back.
And there's no defense. You're doing all the talking. You are free to say whatever you need to say. And then once you say that and once you deal with that and you forgive them, you claim by faith that is the end of it. Because you have no reason to do otherwise. You have done everything you know to do to express your forgiving spirit. That is the end of it. You say, you mean to tell me that sitting in a chair, that's going to make me look like a fool.
No, it's not either. Let's put it this way. Suppose there's somebody who's alive that you're having a very difficult time doing that with and you know what? You just practice. You say, practice forgiving?
Absolutely. You may have to sit him in that chair or her in that chair four, five, six times. But you know what's going to happen? You're going to sit him in the chair.
And one time you're going to get up and you're going to be free. You're going to feel it in your soul, you're free. Then you can say to him face to face, let me tell you how I feel.
Let me tell you what's been going on in my life. And you can tell him, I had to practice for about a month, but I want to tell you this. You want to melt a man's heart?
You want to melt a lady's heart when he or she finds out that you want to be forgiving so much that you want to practice it in order to say it right. Now the question is, how will you know when you've really forgiven them? Well, I think one of the primary ways you can tell is the next time you think about them and the next time you see them, you're going to not have any of that in your heart. It won't be static in your heart.
There's going to be this sense of freedom. Whole different attitude about them and what's going on in their life. Not going to feel the same way. And your harsh feelings. And we've all had harsh feelings toward people who've hurt us deeply. Those harsh feelings are going to be totally different.
A feeling of compassion. You won't feel the same way because remember, you got free. You got liberated. You're no longer a slave. No chains in your heart.
You got free. The third thing that I would mention is you will be willing to accept them the way they are. Somehow, you can accept them the way they are.
Now that doesn't mean that everything is going to be just perfect. But remember what we're after. Our goal is freedom in your life. Freedom in your life.
And oftentimes when you get free, somebody else gets free. And then the last thing that I think is so evident when you really have forgiven someone else, here's what's going to happen. You're going to begin to consider, I wonder why they did that. Now you're free.
Not what's caused this, but I wonder why they did that. Then I mention one other thing, and that's this. When you're really and truly set free, you're going to look back and think, Lord, watch this carefully. Thank You, dear God, for allowing this in my life to teach me how awesome Your grace is in my life. How many times You have forgiven me. How You have changed my life for Your grace and love. Thank You for teaching me something about Your grace that I would never have known had I not learned it in this fashion. You do not have to hold unforgiveness or bitterness or resentment or hostility. You don't have to be chained and in bondage and imprisoned by an attitude that is a continuous destruction that goes on in your life over and over and over again. It may fool a lot of people.
It may do very well on the outside. But sooner or later, the consequences are coming home to you. It is my prayer that you'll be wise enough as God the Holy Spirit has brought people to your mind that you'll be wise enough, courageous enough to deal with it. And I've only simply given you a way to do it. There may be other ways.
I know this one works. And I pray that you'll be wise enough to let God set you free. Your testimony to your children, to your husband, your wife, your fellow employees, you won't be able to keep it to yourself because a free man is different from a slave man. And Father, how grateful we are that Your grace is indescribable, inestimable, immeasurable. There's no way for us to describe adequately Your grace toward us. I pray that every person who hears this message would be wise enough to take these steps that will set them free and more than likely someone else. And we pray this in Jesus' name.
Amen. Thank you for listening to Part 2 of Anger and Forgiveness. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-20 01:31:03 / 2022-12-20 01:38:33 / 8