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Eric's Sunday Sermon; How About Forgiveness?

Updated on June 23, 2016

Another new beginning

By forgiving we can begin anew just like a new day.
By forgiving we can begin anew just like a new day. | Source

Forgiveness should be freely given.

Let us get one thing out of the way first. While forgiveness maybe be quite important for the one being forgiven it is essential for the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of the one doing the forgiving. From all accounts this is true for God also if you think about it. Forgiveness is so intertwined throughout our mind body and soul that it belies any definition. Oh for sure we can find instruction on the subject and we can look up dictionary definitions but that does not satisfy our quest for understanding.

We do not see forgetting to be a necessary ingredient for forgiveness. But forgiveness helps mightily in the area of forgetting. In the ordinary it takes some real effort to forgive someone who has wronged you. Indeed it takes a willing heart and deep reflection. And it takes a certain finesse to do it without further aggravating a situation. And it is hard to actually relate that forgiveness. And there is this important notion of forgiving one’s self. Seemingly there is no easy route to forgiveness. Now there is a exception to this difficult route. If one can somehow obtain a space where love is in the heart and forgiveness is a part of that love on a continual basis then forgiveness is an automatic reflexive action. Wouldn’t that be nice? To be sure some of us are in that state of mind and heart somewhat some of the time.

What of that Biblical concept of forgiving seven times seventy? Wow, someone does something bad to you and then just persistently continues to do it and we are to forgive him every time he does it. So we notice that the real concept of forgiveness does not require any repentance (read that changing of heart and mind). That kind of makes you wonder about a concept that would say that God only forgives you if you repent. We are ordered not to require that so how much more does God not require that.

Let us look a little further into some of these notions.

How about you?

Do you practice forgiveness

See results

Perhaps forgiveness is the finest thing we can teach a child.

Life is good without resentments.
Life is good without resentments. | Source

I only found this song researching for this sermon. I like it.

Some complications.

How about these stories where a murderer of a child is forgiven by the parent of the child and actually prayed for? We can see that this is actually required of someone with the strength to follow their Lord. But I think that a big impetus in such cases is often for the healing power to the forgiving individual. Holding on to resentments and hate is very self-destructive and can actually cause physical ailments. I see nothing inherently wrong in forgiving another mainly for self-preservation. Perhaps it is not pure and optimum but it is a darn sight better than not doing it at all.

How about when you have something to do with causing the act that needs to be forgiven. It gets a little complicated here to the rational mind. But one thing is for certain. In those circumstances you had better be sure and forgive yourself first and accept responsibility. It is said that we cannot transmit something that we do not already have. I knew a Sensei once who was adamant that when we are involved in a problem we accept fault. The concept being that when we own the fault we can do something about it. If we place the blame on someone else we are powerless to create the solution. And so it is that if we accept the responsibility then there may be no need to go through the process of forgiveness.

When the act that causes a need for forgiveness was precipitated by necessity; well in that case we better hurry up and forgive lest we risk placing too high of a burden on the other. Sometimes in life we are faced with the problem of having to make a decision on action when the consideration boils down to two options and our only guide is to pick the one that will cause the least amount of harm. That is just the way of life sometimes. It is critical in such a case that we forgive quickly the person that caused harm. To not do so will cause further guilt harm to the actor. And then who needs to be forgiven?

Just hanging out at grandma's

Go ahead and hold on to your anger - if you dare.

Perhaps we can do better.

When communicating the forgiveness would harm a situation. Many times there is a situation when forgiving another and communicating that forgiveness to them causes more harm than good. In the secular world telling someone that you forgive them can appear pompous and appear to be self-righteousness run amok. That is not cool. Other times it may just serve to open old wounds that are healing with time. In such cases it would be advisable to forgive in your heart and pray for the person and then act compassionate toward them. Here are such cases where uplifting them may be more beneficial than communicating forgiveness.

How does all this work with family? Let us just mention a few possible combinations. Current spouses. Ex spouses. Young Children. Adult children. Grandparents. Young siblings and older siblings. Parents in general. In-laws. Honorary members of the family. Aunts and uncles. Cousins. And some that I missed. Well the problem here is that everyone is pretty much responsible to love our family members. That love is shrouded in the bad if there is a harboring of resentments. Shoot, resentments my stifle the love altogether. And that is a very bad thing. Forgiveness to family members needs to be a knee jerk reaction to any wrongs. It needs to be our default position. And remember that includes forgiving ourselves.

Hard to face but true.

Forgiving God – driving a wedge between your God and you. Isn’t it just a strange fact that we can hold a resentment toward God? That is a malady that we cause ourselves. I like to look at impatience/patience and how that works. First it is an if this then that proposition. If I am impatient then I got problems. If I have patience then I have less problems. Then it is a which came first the chicken or the egg issue. Am I impatient and that causes a distance from my God. Of do I distance myself from God and become impatient? The same goes for resentment and forgiveness. Do I resent God and that distances me from God? Or do I distance myself from God and that causes resentments? Either way if God does not act quick enough for me I get a resentment toward God and that needs to be forgiven right here and right now.

Forgiving inhumanity. Oh boy there are a whole lot of man caused wrongs in this world. And you know what? It really pisses me off. The lack of humanity in this world makes me take it personally. I am just plain angry at the world for how it treats the least of our brothers and sisters. What good does that do? Well a good thing is that it first makes me get off my butt and try to impact my community. For that I am thankful. But the rest of my angst is just plain destructive to me and provides no redeeming value in my life and those life’s around me. I have to pray daily that I forgive humanity for they know not what they do.

So maybe.

OK, some people, places and circumstances are bad or cause harm to me. But that is nothing compared to the harm I do myself and others by harboring resentments. To serve others I must be clear of these resentments and the best way I know how to do that is forgiveness.

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    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 10 months ago from london

      Good old-fashioned spiritual Truths. You are expressing it in a clear and lucid way. Let us all stop and take count. Higher blessings.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 10 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Forgiving someone who has harmed you is difficult but necessary for happiness. I have been there. Your sermon is spot-on, a way for all to live and love one another, forgetting is more difficult. The best example is Jesus forgiving his killers while he was dying on the cross. Cheers my friend..

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      You are a wise man, Eric. Yes we need to forgive, and that is sometimes far from easy. However, as you say it is for our own well being as much as others that we try our darnedest. Some things in the world are atrocities and it is very difficult to understand how anyone can commit such vile acts against humanity...can we forgive those..I don't know. Maybe the best we can do is try to understand why they did it, and if we can't forgive we need to forgive ourselves for not forgiving :)

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 10 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric - You have touched on so many important aspects of forgiveness, I hardly know where to begin. The sensei with whom you spoke was a very wise man indeed.

      Forgiving those who have hurt us? That's not always an easy pill to swallow, but if you hold onto anger and bitterness, the only person you injure is yourself. I felt betrayed when I found myself having to take an early retirement to escape a toxic work climate. I was so deeply hurt and full of rage. But then I recognized that my negative feelings not only meant nothing to those who had wronged me--they were not even aware of them. The only person I was hurting was myself (and those around me).

      Forgiving God--when we feel separated from God, when it feels as though He has turned his back on us...we are not alone. The hurt that comes into our lives is not a punishment, not retribution. We live in a sin-filled world. God never leaves us. "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you" is a promise that I believe in.

      Thank you for a(nother) beautiful hub. Blessings on your day.

      P.S. - Your little boy is adorable!!!

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 10 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "Holding on to resentments and hate is very self-destructive and can actually cause physical ailments." - This is so very true. I think if most people knew how badly grudges and held-up anger affect their health, everybody would embrace forgiveness.

      "If I am impatient then I got problems." - Haha, yes I can say that this is very true because I am not very patient myself and that indeed gives way to all sorts of problems lol I know this so well ...

      Great article! We all certainly need to embrace forgiveness, compassion and understanding, in order to have a more pleasant time here on this planet of ours.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 10 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very difficult act but the wisest solution for happiness and peace of mind. Each one of us might be going through such circumstances in our day-to-day life that require forgiveness. And forgiving is the best policy to maintain peace and happiness in this world.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Manatita, we should count it a blessing if we even just try to forgive.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby I pretty much always am inspired by Jesus's actions and words. That part about "forgive them for they know what they do" hits home with me. After years of trying not to harm. I still find myself doing it when I don't think it through and therefor do not know what I am doing.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John thank you much you always add a positive when you leave a note on my sermons. Your last line is something that I have been working on in thought. "all we have to fear is fear itself" and "the worst thing we can do when anxious is to be anxious about our anxiety". "I just can't forgive my brother". To fix that I must first forgive myself.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 10 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Forgiveness of others who have wronged us is a gift we give ourselves. Like you have so aptly stated here, we only hurt ourselves when we do not forgive. My husband and I were in a car accident and were having issues with the insurance company paying for my injuries, as the driver of the other vehicle was uninsured. We ended up in a lawsuit over the issue, and it festered and grew within us until we were nearly consumed. It was not until we forgave the other driver that we were able to move on with our lives.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda, no matter how well my day is going, a visit from you always elevates a bit higher. It is possibly not even an emotional malady that occurs when we fail to forgive. Perhaps it is just down right a spiritual malady caused by us distancing ourselves from God.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hey my fine Canadian friend it is always good to hear from up north. Well I will say this about your comment and myself -- guilty as charged. When I was all impatient the other day my eldest just said to me "dad you are supposed to be smarter than this by now". When will I ever learn?

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Venkatachari, a malfunction somewhere sometimes creates an unforgiving heart. This is for sure the saddest circumstance that I can think of. Resentment is a detour from happiness.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Denise you remind me of one of my favorite terms; "inextricably entwined". Forgiveness is one of those things that make it hard to differentiate between spiritual health and mental health. I know exactly where you are coming from in forgiving someone in order to move forward.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 10 months ago from The Caribbean

      How about forgiveness? Thank you for underscoring how important it is to develop this virtue; we need it if we intend to experience life at its best.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Dora, thank you for dropping in and leaving a nice note. What a gift forgiveness is.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 10 months ago from Nibiru

      Amen

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 10 months ago from United States

      Wonderful sermon my friend. Many blessings to you and yours. whonu

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Clive it is always great to have you come by and lend support.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Whonu, your encouragement is always much appreciated. I hope that since you are commenting that we get a new poem from you soon.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 10 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Eric, I don't think I have ever regretted having forgiven someone, but I know I've regretted holding resentments. It seems we can't go wrong by choosing forgiveness. Great Sunday Sermon.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Chris that is a very noteworthy comment. I suppose I must admit that there have been times that I disliked forgiving, because the resentment had grown to be a part of me.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 10 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Forgiveness was something I struggled with. One day the Lord had put something on my heart to tell someone and in my opinion if that person was about to suffer for something they did-they deserved it.

      This person, in my opinion, got away with being "nasty" while I "the good christian" was suffering and getting away with nothing.

      So the lord, kept bringing this thing to my heart and when I realized I couldn't ignore Him, I became angry-very angry. So, a few days later I opened up my bible and it fell to Matthew 7:3-5- Why do you despise the speck in your brothers eye and you have a plank in your own eye. So afterwards the Lord spoke in my heart and asked me why do I despise weaknesses that I see in my brother and expect mercy for my own weaknesses.

      He said if I were to remove the plank from my eye and see myself I would see the same weaknesses and then maybe I would have mercy on my brother. That sent me for a loop. It wasn't that I haven't read that scripture before its just that -well, as I always say-its not what you know but what you understand that brings change.

      I had to ask myself why don't I have mercy for my brother but expect mercy for myself when I want to be forgiven. The Lord said to me. "If I gave you what you deserved we would not be having this conversation" That was tuning point for me. Where would I be if the Lord had not forgiven me. Not here to comment on this hub, that's for sure.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana, what a cool story of the softening of our hearts. Truly we must have own journey to reach such wonderful destinations as learning to forgive. Years ago I had a life changing illness that took me off my high horse and down to my knees. I got puffed up again. And so was brought down to my knees again. Thank God. I fail to forgive when I am self righteous and forgive when I am humble. If God keeps me lessor than other men, then I am grateful for that.

    • profile image

      Norine Williams 10 months ago

      I keep telling ALL, if "filled with the Holy Spirit," you "consider the source" (Satan) and pray for the individual! Didn't JESUS? Did HE not say "Lord forgive them for they know not what they do?" Why can't one remember JESUS and what He did and said?

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I rethought my last comment and deleted it..sorry, Eric.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Norine, nice to see you write a short to the point comment.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 10 months ago from Florida

      Forgiving is sometimes very hard to do for sure, but so important if we are to move on and learn something from the experience we have to forgive.

      This is a well-written and thought-out hub. :)

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Missy that is very kind of you, and a great point.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 9 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      Some great truths here. The only thing I can think of is that forgiving someone doesn't always mean forgetting what they did, to me it means letting go of the pain and not letting the event or person have that hold over you!

      It's letting go and refusing to be bitter. Sometimes the person will realize what they've done and ask forgiveness which can lead to healing the relationship but it's never totally the same as before.

      Thank you for the issue

      Lawrence

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great to hear from you Lawrence, you always positively add to my sermons. You remind me of the both sides to the tightrope we walk. We do not seek to control others but we should strive to help mentor them. Like history, our mistakes and those of others are not to be forgotten lest they be repeated.

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