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Posts tagged ‘Total Forgiveness’

Forgiveness Begins in the Heart.


Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God1 John 3:21

Total forgiveness must take place in the heart or it is worthless. If forgiveness truly takes place in the heart, one does not need to know whether one’s enemy will reconcile. If I have forgiven him in my heart of hearts, but he still doesn’t want to speak to me, I can still have the inner victory. It may be far easier to forgive when we know that those who maligned or betrayed us are sorry for what they did, but if I must have this knowledge before I can forgive, I may never have the victory over my bitterness.

If Jesus had waited until His enemies felt some guilt or shame for their words and actions, He would never have forgiven them.

It is my experience that most people we must forgive do not believe they have done anything wrong at all, or if they know that they did something wrong, they believe it was justified. I would even go so far as to say that at least 90 percent of all the people I’ve had to forgive would be indignant at the thought that they had done something wrong.
Total forgiveness, therefore, must take place in the heart. If I have a genuine heart experience, I will not be devastated if there is no reconciliation. If those who hurt me don’t want to continue a relationship with me, it isn’t my problem because I have forgiven them. This is also why a person can achieve inner peace even when forgiving someone who has died.
Confidence toward God is ultimately what total forgiveness is all about; He is the one I want to please at the end of the day. He cares and knows whether I have truly and totally forgiven, and when I know I have His love and approval, I am one very happy and contented servant of Christ.

Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).

By R. T. KENDALL

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Learn the Difference Between Personality and the Holy Spirit.



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(Stuartmiles | Stock Free Images)

A pleasant personality can look like the fruit of the Spirit. There are people who are just simply nice. They are sweet, friendly and cheerful. They are the type of people you want to be around all the time. At times their pleasant personalities can put Christians who have been saved for years to shame.

However, sometimes in their case an aspect of God’s common grace is substituting for the Spirit’s manifestation. Their pleasantness may have nothing whatever to do with the fruit of the Spirit. Actually, they acted the same way before they were converted.

It can be difficult to convince people like this of their own need to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. But sooner or later their self-righteousness will surface if they haven’t been convicted of sin. If you recognize this problem in yourself, I urge you to do two things:

* Thank God for giving you your pleasing temperament.

*Pray harder than ever to be sensitive to sin and to the Spirit.

Emotional maturity can look like spiritual maturity. Some people grow up faster than others, and some develop spiritually more quickly than others. There are many explanations for this.

If a person has developed emotionally in a manner that shows fewer psychological problems, it should not be surprising that he or she appears spiritually mature as well. A person like this may or may not be strong in private prayer, worship and Bible reading but will nonetheless appear levelheaded and responsible compared with a neurotic Christian.

Regeneration and sanctification do not necessarily eradicate damaged emotions that come from abuse or neglect as one was growing up. For this reason a Christian who had severely damaged emotions as a child may struggle in areas in which a relatively unspiritual person does not. The latter may appear to be more godly when this is not really the case.

For some people, then, the appearance of the Dove may not be the explanation for their apparent maturity. Yet these same people are often the ones who get voted into positions of church leadership and who go into full-time ministry.

They are not unlike King Saul–they have the influence but not necessarily the anointing. Pigeon religion is widespread in the church.

The problem becomes even more complicated when ordinary Christians–beset with emotional difficulties but nonetheless consumed with a love for God and His Word–think that their church leaders aren’t very spiritual. A poll showed that the average church leader spends only four minutes a day in quiet time.

Cultural and intellectual tastes can look like theological maturity. Some people have a head start when it comes to upbringing. They are brought up with poise, elegance and a certain aptitude for intellectual things. They go to the better schools. They have a cerebral framework that others do not have.

When people such as this become Christians, they may take to Pauline theology like a cat chasing a mouse. Does this mean they are more spiritual? Possibly, but not necessarily. There could be a natural explanation.

People who are theologically minded are not necessarily more interested in the things of the Spirit. They often think it is far more important to articulate the implications of justification by faith alone than to be personally filled with the Spirit.

At the other end of the spectrum are people who are more interested in things of the Spirit than they are in the intricacies of theological orthodoxy. But these people are not necessarily more spiritual. They may lack theological training and are therefore drawn more naturally to experiential knowledge than to doctrine.

We must resist the temptation to be judgmental about things that are opposed to our own interest levels. Often what appeals to a believer can be explained in natural terms rather than by Holy Spirit-motivated explanation.

Written by R.T. Kendall


R.T. Kendall has been the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London for the last 25 years. He now lives in Key Largo, Florida. He is a well-known speaker and the author of Total Forgiveness, released from Charisma House.

A Clear Path to Intimacy.


For if you forgive men when they sin against you , your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

Not only do we need daily forgiveness as much as we need daily bread, but we also need to pray daily that we have the grace to forgive others as a lifelong commitment. It is not easy. No one ever said it would be. It has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but following this phrase in the Lord’s Prayer is the clearest path to fellowship with God.

It is as though Jesus adds a “P.S.” to the Lord’s Prayer. It almost seems that that is why He gave us the prayer in the first place!

Why does Jesus add this further statement? He is demonstrating which of the petitions was the most important. The most natural tendency in the world is to want to get even when someone has offended you. It is as natural as eating or sleeping, and it is instinctual. Jesus is telling us to do something that is not natural but supernatural: totally forgiving people—sometimes those closest to us—for the wrongs they have done to us. I still struggle in this area myself. But when I truly and totally forgive, I have crossed over into the supernatural—and have achieved an accomplishment equal to any miracle.

The kingdom of heaven is the domain of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is at home in us, it means He is not grieved. He can be Himself; He isn’t adjusting to us, but we are adjusting to Him. When Jesus said, “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,” He was not talking about how to achieve salvation. He was referring to receiving the anointing of God and participating in an intimate relationship with the Father. Unless we are walking in a state of forgiveness toward others, we cannot be in an intimate relationship with God.

Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).

By R. T. KENDALL.

Loving Your Enemies.


But I tell you: Love your enemies. … If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? —Matthew 5:44, 46

Jesus instructs us to overcome our enemies, not by showing everybody how wrong they were, nor by matching their hatred with ours, but by loving them.

This brings us back to the matter of choice. Love is not what you feel. Forgiving is not doing what comes naturally. It is often said, “You can’t help what you feel.” We therefore ask, does the choice to love involve repressing or denying our feelings? No. Repression is almost never a good thing to do. But love is a conscious choice to forgive—even if you don’t feel like it! If you wait until you feel it, you probably never will forgive. You must do it because it is right, because of a choice you have made that is not based on your feelings.

The paradox in total forgiveness is that it simultaneously involves selfishness and unselfishness. It is selfish—in that you do not want to hurt yourself by holding on to bitterness. And it is unselfish in that you commit yourself to the well-being of your enemy! You could almost say that total forgiveness is both extreme selfishness and extreme unselfishness. You are looking out for your own interests when you totally forgive, but you are totally setting your offender free.

Even the non-Christian understands the benefits of forgiveness in a physical and emotional sense. This surely leaves all of us without excuse. If a non-Christian is able to forgive others, how much more should the Christian follow a lifestyle of forgiveness?

As Christians we have no choice. We forfeit our fellowship with God and blessings here below when we don’t forgive. If we have been forgiven of all our sins—and this includes even the sins we have forgotten about—how dare we withhold this from others?

Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).

By R. T. KENDALL.

Why Do I Have Enemies?.


God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart. —2 Chronicles 32:31

When Jesus said, “Love your enemies,” He assumed that we would have one or more, and most people do. Sadly, many, if not most of them, will be from within the community of faith. Certainly Jesus assumed this, and nothing has really changed.

Much persecution comes from those who claim to believe in God as much as you do. And yet the issues between you may not be theological. You enemy may simply not like you!

The origin of such enmity may be explained almost entirely in terms of the flesh. For example, your enemy may just not be able to cope with your being the way you are or with your being on a particular side of a certain question or issue. It is usually no fault of your own.

They could be angry with God for blessing you or for putting you where you are. You have that prestigious job. It pays well.

You are admired by your boss and the people in your office. God has blessed you with certain talents and gifts.

There will always be someone who will be jealous and seek to bring you down. If you have been blessed with a good reputation, do not be surprised if someone resents it. Unfortunately, your enemy doesn’t know that he or she is probably actually angry with God.

The ultimate reason you and I have an enemy is that it fits God’s purpose. Why? It is what we need. It helps to humble us lest we take ourselves too seriously. An enemy shows us what we are like.

So don’t be angry with your enemy! It is God who is at work on your heart!

Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).

By R. T. KENDALL.

The Art of Forgiving and Forgetting.


[Love] is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. —1 Corinthians 13:5

First Corinthians 13, the great love chapter of the Bible, is a perfect demonstration of the cause and effect of total forgiveness. The apex of this wonderful passage is the phrase found in verse 5: Love “keeps no record of wrongs.” The Greek word that is translated as “no record” is logizomai, which means to not reckon or impute. This word is important to Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith. For the person who believes, their faith is “credited” to them as righteousness (Rom. 4:5).

This is the same word used in 1 Corinthians 13:5. It is turned around in Romans 4:8, again using the same word: “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Therefore, not to reckon, impute, or “count” the wrongs of a loved one is to do for that person what God does for us, namely, choose not to recognize their sin. In God’s sight our sin no longer exists. When we totally forgive someone, we too refuse to keep a record of their wrongs.

It must be clearly acknowledged that wrong was done, that evil took place. Total forgiveness obviously sees the evil but chooses to erase it. Before a grudge becomes lodged in the heart, the offense must be willfully forgotten. Resentment must not be given an opportunity to set in. The love described in 1 Corinthians 13 can only come by following a lifestyle of total forgiveness.

Love is a choice. It is an act of the will. When we learn to forgive and practice forgiveness, He rewards us with an incredible peace and the witness of the Spirit in our hearts.

Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).

By R. T. KENDALL.

How to Deal With Meddling.


A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. —Proverbs 15:1

Jesus asks, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:4). He is assuming we are rational, sensible people who would immediately see through the inconsistency of meddling in another’s affairs. The assumption is this: If we have no plank in our own eyes, it would not be unreasonable for us to offer help. But when we have a plank and still meddle, our fault is far worse than theirs. Meddling is always uninvited and almost always unwelcome.

What if someone meddles in your life? How do you respond? Most of us find it hard to respond in a way that pleases God. First, He calls us to maintain a sweet spirit. Never forget: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1).

Second, we are to agree with them. Usually there is a little bit of truth in what a critic will say to us about us. Even if you can’t find a way to agree, you can always say, “I see what you mean.”

Third, we should thank them. This will not only defuse their irritation, but it will also enable them to save face should they be up to no good. In addition, we will avoid making an enemy unnecessarily in the process.

What we must never do when being confronted is to defend ourselves or try to impress them with how good or right we are. We must never seek to punish or get even or make them look bad. Ask them to pray for you! But do it in a noncombative manner, never sarcastically. Confess sincerely, “I need all the help I can get.” The principles of total forgiveness should enable us to make friends, not lose them.

Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).

By R. T. KENDALL.

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