Who do you want to Totally Forgive?
Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall (Charisma House) 2002
Purpose of book
It is wholly about biblical teaching –about the spiritual blessing that comes to those who take Jesus’ teaching of total forgiveness seriously.
When we are bitter, we delude ourselves into thinking that those who hurt us are more likely to be punished as long as we are set on revenge (xxvi).
I have come the conclusion that the primary way we grieve the Spirit in our lives is by fostering bitterness in our hearts (xxvi).
The ultimate proof of total forgiveness takes place when we sincerely petition the Father to let those who hurt us off the hook –even if they have hurt not only us, but also those close to us (4).
Totally forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily mean we will want to spend our vacation with him or her, but it doesn’t mean that we release the bitterness in our hearts concerning what they have done (8).
It therefore follows that I should not hold people responsible for what they have done to me. I will hold nothing against them, and I will not tell other people, not even my closest friends, what they did to me (9).
Making a choice to continue in unforgiveness shows that we aren’t sufficiently grateful for God’s forgiveness of our own sins. God hates self-righteousness as much as He hates the injustice that you think is so horrible, and He certainly doesn’t like it when we judge (86).
William Perkins: “Don’t believe the Devil, even when he tells you the truth.” (95).
Somerset Maugham said, “When people ask for criticism, they really want praise” (99).
God blesses the underdog, especially those who walk in an attitude of humility (107).
The irony is, the degree to which we forgive others will often be the degree to which we forgive ourselves; the degree to which we set ourselves free will often be the degree to which we forgive others (140).
Nelson Mandela has been asked many times how he emerged from all those years in prison without being bitter. His reply is simple: “Bitterness only hurts oneself” (163).
What total forgiveness is not: (11-19)
- Approval of what they did
- Excusing what they did
- Justifying what they did
- Pardoning what they did
- Denying what they did
- Blindness to what happened
- Refusing to take the wrong seriously
- Pretending we are not hurt
What total forgiveness is: (19-35)
- Being aware of what someone has done and still forgiving them
- Choosing to keep no records of wrong
- Refusing to punish
- Not telling what they did
- Being merciful
- It is an inner condition
- It is the absence of bitterness
- Forgiving God
- Forgiving ourselves
How do we know we have totally forgiven –Example of Joseph (37-65)
- Do not let anyone know what someone said about you or did to you
- Do not allow anyone to be afraid of you or intimidated by you
- We will want them to forgive themselves and not feel guilty
- We will let them save face
- We will protect them from their greatest fear
- It is a lifelong commitment
- We will pray for them to be blessed
What happens when we don’t forgive? (80-82)
- Salvation is unconditional; fellowship with the Father is conditional
- Justification before God is unconditional; the anointing of the Spirit is conditional
- Our status in the family of God is unconditional; our intimacy with Christ is conditional
- Our eternal destiny –whether we go to heaven or to hell –is fixed, but receiving and additional reward is conditional
The consequences of an unforgiving spirit: (87-93)
- The Holy Spirit is grieved
- You are left to yourself
- You force God to become your enemy
- You lose the potential of your anointing
- No authentic fellowship with the Father
When speaking to or about another person, ask yourself if what you are about to say will meet their NEED:
- Necessary –Is it necessary to say this?
- Encourage –Will this encourage them? Will it make them feel better?
- Edify –Will it edify? Will what you say build them up and make them stronger?
- Dignify –Will it dignify that person?
When we are right to judge: (109-123)
What we are required to do first is to admit that we have a plank and repent. If you and I want to help a person in need, or speak up against an injustice, our first priority must be to get things right in our own hearts (117).
When we cannot help another:
- Your nose is out of joint because something or someone has gotten your goat. In other words, when you are churned up, stay out.
- You are personally or emotionally involved. Even if an injustice has been committed, you should stay out of the situation –unless you have specifically been asked to testify or give your opinion.
- Your desire is to punish or get even.
- There is envy or jealousy in your heart
- Your own self-esteem is related
When we can help another:
- You are meeting a NEED
- You would be irresponsible not to speak out. It is appropriate to get involved if you are in a strategic position to help.
- You have been asked to step in by a responsible person who has no agenda.
- You are utterly impartial and have no agitation or feeling of being annoyed.
- Nothing matters to you more than the honor of God. Be careful! Many meddlers use this as their justification. One day you will find out whether it really was God’s honor you cared about –or just your own!
Steps in totally forgiving others: (170-175)
- Make the deliberate and irrevocable choice not to tell anyone what they did
- Be pleasant to them should you be around them
- If conversation ensures, say that which would set them free from guilt
- Let them feel good about themselves
- Protect them from their greatest fear
- Keep it up today, tomorrow, this year and next
- Pray for them
Five Stages of Praying for “enemies”: (176-177)
- Duty. The first level is strictly based on obedience; you are doing it because you feel you have to.
- Debt. You have reached the second level when you are so conscious of what you have been forgiven of that you cannot help but pray for your enemy. You don’t want God to “spill the beans” on your, so you pray that your enemy too will be spared.
- Desire. You begin to pray for your enemy because it is what you really want.
- Delight. The takes the desire a step further. It is when you love doing it! You get joy from praying for and blessing your enemies.
- Durability. This means that what you took on as a lifelong commitment becomes a lifestyle. The thought of turning back or praying in a different way is out of the question. It has become a habit, and it no longer seems like something extraordinary. What began as a duty and once seemed insurmountable is now almost second nature.