Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Three Levels of Forgiveness

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I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire!  (Luke 24:32)

Here is a teaching that will literally revolutionize your life.

It’s called The Three Levels of Forgiveness.

The first level is Rookie Forgiveness.  Rookie forgiveness is when you get hurt, you suffer for a while, and then you forgive. 

The question is, how long do you wait between the offense and the forgiveness?  How long do you suffer in anger, hatred and bitterness?  A week?  A month?  A year?  Half your life?

What if you do like the movies and just blast your offender and take your revenge.  Would that solve the problem?  No, and here’s why.  The offender will die, but the offense lives on!  It will live on inside of you until…

Until you forgive.

So how long do you wait to forgive?  Why wait at all?  And that brings us to the second level of forgiveness.

After Rookie Forgiveness, the second level is:  Instant Forgiveness.

This is where you forgive your offenders instantly.  As soon as you see the offense coming, you forgive before it even hits you.  You don’t take the hit because you forgive them instantly. 

You hear someone talking behind your back.  Forgive them.  Instantly.

“Well Doug, that means I’m letting them get away with it!”

Ah, and that’s the problem with all of this forgiveness, isn’t it?  We feel like we are letting the offender get away with it.

But you know, you can forgive...AND hold accountable.  The accountability just won’t be in anger, hatred, revenge and bitterness.

For example, when a toddler screams, “Mommy, I hate you!”

The mom doesn’t take offense.  She instantly forgives and goes straight to loving correction. 

So someone steals from you?  Instantly forgive, and hold them accountable...in love, though, not hatred.

So you don’t want to practice instant forgiveness?  Keep in mind the other option is rookie forgiveness, where you go ahead and take the hit, suffer for a while, and then eventually you are going to have to forgive them anyway. 

So that is level two:  Instant Forgiveness.  We should be tossing out forgivenesses like candy at a parade.  Forgive.  Forgive.  Forgive.  See an offense coming?  Forgive.

Like I said, it will revolutionize your life!  And your marriage and your family and your church and your workplace.

And then comes the third level:  Preemptive Forgiveness.

You know offenses are coming.  Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offenses should come...”  They are coming, so forgive them now, ahead of time!

“But Doug, that’s impossible.”

Think of it like an emergency bank account.  You know something is going to break, so you put money in the account ahead of time.

So go ahead and put some forgiveness in the account ahead of time, knowing the offenses will come.  You don’t know who.  You don’t know when.  You don’t know why.  Maybe it’s next Christmas when Aunt Mable will make a horrible crack about you.  Maybe it’s five years from now when your brother will swindle you out of your dad’s inheritance.  We’re not asking for trouble ahead of time.  We just know that someone is going to do something that hurts us, small or large or even criminal. 

So send out a preemptive strike of forgiveness!  I forgive you now, whoever you are.

And then, when the time comes, and the devil rears his ugly head and goes on the attack...too late. I already forgave that five years ago.

And that sets you free to go on the attack yourself!  Not the attack of anger or hatred or vengeance.  It’s the attack of love, loving everyone, including enemies, through the power of God in me, the Holy Spirit who empowers me to love and to love and to love and to love.

And it all starts with forgiveness.

So think about it.  What level do you want?

There’s Rookie Forgiveness, where you take the hit, suffer for a while, and then finally forgive.

There’s Instant Forgiveness, where you avoid the hit by forgiving instantly, as soon as you see the offense coming.

And there’s Preemptive Forgiveness, where you go ahead and forgive the offender now, before the offense even happens.

Set yourself free from offense and hatred and anger and bitterness and revenge!

Revolutionize your life with the power of forgiveness.

May God bless you, today.

With Apples of Gold...I’m Doug Apple.



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