- It Happened in Sri Lanka, It Can Happen Here.
Last Sunday (Easter) Sri Lanka churches were devastated by suicide bombing attacks that left more than 250 dead. Pastor Roshan Mahesen is the leader of Zion Church in Batticaloa, which lost 28 members when a man detonated a backpack explosive outside —
But, Pastor Roshan says he forgives the assailants for their heinous actions.
“We are hurt. We are angry also, but still, as the senior pastor of Zion Church Batticaloa, the whole congregation and every family affected, we say to the suicide bomber, and also to the group that sent the suicide bomber, that we love you and we forgive you — no matter what you have done to us, we love you, because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ… Jesus Christ on the Cross… “He said, ‘Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’ We also, who follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ, we say, for the Lord forgive these people.”
- Why R.T. Kendall wrote, Total Forgiveness
Josif Tson of Romania: “RT, you must totally forgive them. Until you totally forgive them, you will be in chains. Release them, and you will be released.”
No one had ever talked to me like that in my life. But those words, spoken to me unexpectedly by my friend Josif Tson of Romania, are among the most important words anybody has ever personally shared with me… Mercifully, the Holy Spirit spoke to me that day through Josif’s words. At first I was angry; I felt hemmed in. But it was a pivotal moment for me, and it changed my life. I was never the same again.
To be honest, I had only told Josif of my problem because I thought I would get sympathy from a man I deeply respected and whom I thought would be on my side. I expected him to put his arm on my shoulder and say, “RT, you are right to feel so angry! Tell me all about it. Get it out of your system.”
But no! He compassionately but soberly rebuked me and would not let me off the hook.
Those words came to me during the greatest trial I had ever had until that time. I couldn’t discuss it with my friends or family members, but because Josif was from Romania and was far removed from the situation, I was able to tell him everything.
“Is that all?” he asked when I finished my story. “Yes, that’s it,” I said.
And then came those remarkable words—spoken in his Romanian accent: “You must totally forgive them.” “I can’t,” I replied. “You can, and you must,” he insisted.
Unsatisfied with his response, I tried to continue. “I just remembered. There is more. What I didn’t tell you…”
“RT,” he interrupted, “you must totally forgive them. Release them, & you will be set free.”
- What “Total Forgiveness” is NOT
- NOT Approving of what someone did. (God forgives but never approves of our sin.)
- NOT Excusing what someone did. (Difficult circumstances ~ excuse inappropriate behavior
- NOT Justifying what someone did. (We never make that which is wrong look right.
- NOT Exempting from legal consequences what someone did. (People who commit crimes need to be incarcerated for their own good and to protect society
- NOT Denying what someone did. Total forgiveness = coming to terms with reality
- NOT = Reconciliation. Requires the willing participation of two parties. The one you forgive may not want this.
- NOT always Forgetting. Love does not always erase our memories.
- NOT Refusing to take the wrong seriously. God > the Cross
- NOT Pretending we are not hurt. Forgiveness is based > truth.
- NOT Always Easy: R.T. Kendall” “It was the hardest thing I had ever been asked to do… I repeat, it was the hardest thing I had ever been asked to do, but it was also the greatest thing I had ever been asked to do. An unexpected blessing emerged as I began to forgive: a peace came into my heart that I hadn’t felt in years. It was wonderful. I had forgotten what it was like.
- Why Must I Totally Forgive? Love, Gratitude, Obedience
- Just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” Col. 3:13
- “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” (Matt. 18:35
- Forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us…
- Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you
- Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. …
- What does God’s forgiving love of me look like?
- Relentless: How can I surrender you, O Israel? …My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled. (Hosea 11:8)
- Extremely Costly/ Painful: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
- Totally Complete: He forgave all our sins… (Col. 2:14)
- M. Scott Peck: “The only ultimate way to conquer evil is to let it be smothered within a willing, living human being. When it is absorbed there like blood in a sponge or a spear into one’s heart, it loses its power and goes no further.” The healing of evil—scientifically or otherwise—can be accomplished only by the love of individuals. A willing sacrifice is required …
- Steps in Totally Forgiving Another
- This is one for whom Christ died. I must view this person through blood of Christ.
- I determine to be obedient and forgive no matter what it takes. I rely upon the Holy Spirit
- With Paul, I view myself as the greatest of all sinners.
- If I have chosen to cherish bitterness, repent/ ask God’s forgiveness.
- Absolutely hang on to Romans 8:28-29
- Unless it is in counseling or for the definite protection of others, I make the deliberate and irrevocable choice not to tell anyone what they did.
- Be kind to them if/when you are around them. Find ways to bless them.
- “In the Name of Jesus Christ, I forgive ______.” As often as is necessary.
- How Do I know when I’ve totally forgiven someone?
- I have stopped talking badly about that person, both to others and to myself.
- I am now looking for real ways to bless that person.
- Jesus, “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.”
- “We sincerely petition the Father to let those who have hurt us off the hook – even if they have hurt not only us, but those close to us.”
- Invitation to Totally Forgive:
- Have you definitely received Christ’s total forgiveness?
- Who have you not Totally Forgiven from the heart?
- “ But I can’t?” Can’t begin? Who’s telling U that?
“RT, you must totally forgive them. Until you totally forgive them, you will be in chains. Release them, and you will be released.”
Pastor Roshan Mahesen: “We are hurt. We are angry also, but still… we say to the suicide bomber, and also to the group that sent the suicide bomber, that we love you and we forgive you — no matter what you have done to us, we love you, because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”