Sermon by Melanie Kundt
I am not preaching the following because I am perfect in this area, quite the contrary. I preach this subject because I realize that my heart itself needs nourishment and needs to be taught. And I know that many hearts here are also suffering and need help in this area.
It's about forgiveness.
You couldn't imagine how much I wanted to avoid this sermon topic, how many times I explained to God that maybe another topic would be better. As you can see, this topic is quite a challenge for me.
I used to think the topic of forgiveness was only for those who were very badly hurt by people, experienced abuse in some way, or had a tough past, but now I know that people can feel hurt very quickly.
Opportunities to be hurt await us every day: in the family, in marriage, in the neighborhood, in the busy traffic, with our children, at work, in the community, in friendships. Where there are people, there are also injuries, disappointments and this is inevitable.
Forgiveness, however, is one of the most underrated and misunderstood topics of all.
For Jesus, however, this topic was never a marginal topic, because even in the Lord's Prayer and also in other moments, he repeatedly talks to his disciples about forgiveness.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Matthew 6,12 (ESV)
Paul also comes back to this again and again:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4,31+32 (ESV)
But at the same time forgiveness causes:
Cure, Freedom, Wonder, Health, Restoration, Reconciliation, Power, Peace, Calm
And these are all more wonderful subjects, aren't they?
To live a victorious life, forgiveness is not an option but a requirement.
"The level of forgiveness we offer other people ultimately determines the level of freedom we will experience."
God longs for his children to live in freedom and he has taken a lot on himself to do so. He loves you too much to want you to experience another second, another day of pain in your life and live in bondage. God desires our hearts to be completely intact. Unforgiveness, on the other hand, gives Satan leeway to work and keeps us from living in the potential that God intended for us.
When we suppress our pain, it will dynamically surface in one way or another, be it outbursts of anger, illness, physical pain, compulsive behavior, controlling, fears, panic, stubbornness...
Hurts are carried into relationships, into your own identity, into your calling and lead to further damage.
"Hurt people hurt people."
I have personally experienced hurt where it has taken me years to forgive, where I have found it very difficult to forgive myself, or where I have been so hurt that I cried out to God and said I'm sorry, I can do that person not forgiven – that was too intense for me. I also know it when you get hurt over and over again and nothing seems to change and you just don't have the strength to forgive anymore. You feel like an empty tank.
But the Bible doesn't say anything about God making all our pain and hurts go away, but says that he takes care of it. God doesn't take us out of our struggle, but carries us through and strengthens us if we stay with him. It is his nature to carry us through so that we can grow. It doesn't feel good, but it's definitely the better way.
Forgiveness is very much about how you see God and who God is to you. Unforgiveness shapes my relationship with God so intensely - even if I'm not aware of it. We often think it's just about me and the other. Wrong thought. First and foremost it's about me and God. Can I let him heal me, can I live from his power, can I cling to him in the pain, can I let God guide me or do I lead myself through this pain?
My willingness to forgive is always an expression of my relationship with God. If I cannot live forgiveness, then there is something in my relationship with God that is not healthy. I personally find this point quite hard. But have to admit it's the truth.
"Ultimately, unforgiveness is like a prison - you're the only inmate in it, but you're also the guard who holds the key to get out."
Satan wants to bring us to a point where we are either unwilling or feel unable to forgive. Satan loves to keep us captive. If only we could understand that our freedom depends on just one choice.
Forgiveness is a choice, but we often make it based on how we feel. Forgiveness doesn't have to feel good to be real.
"Forgiveness is a choice while healing is a process." R.H.
Basically, you're not fighting someone else, you're fighting yourself. God doesn't force us to forgive, he gives us the mandate; says what his will is, but we decide. We always think forgiveness is a gift we give to others, but it's a gift you give to yourself.
There are good reasons to be upset and angry, but at the end of the day we are left alone with our pain. You have to endure the pain alone, no matter how many people you tell about it and get them on your side. Pain cannot be shared.
Forgiveness does not begin with others. Not until he has apologized, until she has corrected himself, only when I see that he/she… no no - forgiveness starts with you. It takes both parties to reconcile, but only one person to forgive.
Forgiveness is always about wounds. Depending on the type of injury or the depth of the wound, the treatment is very individual. Some people need a lengthy operation and others just a plaster. So every wound and every healing is very individual.
There's a huge difference between wounds and scars. With unhealed wounds can become life-threatening. Scars are the trophies of God's grace, for they show that where we have had wounds that might have destroyed us, but God's grace healed us. People with scars understand people with wounds and can help them in their healing process.
"Injured people hurt people and healed people heal people."
Open wounds attract flies - emotional wounds attract ghosts. If wounded hearts are open doors to the enemy, we must ensure that we allow the Lord to heal such wounds in order to find peace, then healed hearts will be closed doors to the enemy. Open wounds attract flies - emotional wounds attract ghosts. If wounded hearts are open doors to the enemy, we must ensure that we allow the Lord to heal such wounds in order to find peace, then healed hearts will be closed doors to the enemy.
When we're struggling with old wounds and realize we've been holding onto things instead of taking them to God, the first step is to repent. It's not about repenting of the situation in which we were hurt, but that we clung to it and wanted to be in control of our pain and repenting of our resentment/hate as well. Perhaps repentance for distrusting God and not allowing Him to work. Maybe one or the other thinks they have a right to hold onto it, but that's not true.
The Bible says: forgive and you will also be forgiven - literally it says: let go and then you will be let go.
Unforgiveness is poison and until I let go I'm poisoning myself and my heart. I read a book on this some time ago and the author gave a very good tip and I am now convinced that it was divine advice. I'll tell you why. I sat outside in the garden and read this book: He compared the process of forgiveness to a helium balloon: everyone knows this situation, if you hold such a balloon in your hands and if you are careless, it's gone. It means letting go.
“In prayer you can come before God. Imagine yourself holding this balloon. Imagine writing on it the name of the person who hurt you, the situation, etc. and then let them fly in your mind and watch them soar into the sky until they're gone. Then say to God: I give you the person, the pain, the circumstances, the situation, etc. I let go: anger, rage, disappointment, pain, bitterness, hatred, etc. and I let go of the person.”
The moment I read that in the garden, my son called out, "Mama, Mama - look up there". And above our heads, a helium balloon in the shape of a butterfly flew over our garden. In that moment, I knew it was divine advice. In the weeks that followed, I tried this advice. And I was amazed at how much this tip helped me to forgive and get peace in my mind.
Forgiveness releases the peace of God and brings us freedom, but after that the healing process begins because sometimes the pain is still attached to that event. We must seek healing for our wounds and memories. It doesn't just mean that our hearts need to be healed, but our minds, our pain is connected to our memories.
Blessing the person can be especially helpful in the process of healing. If you pray for that person and that person isn't going to change, there is definitely one person who is changing and that is you.
For us as a church, as a family, it is important to help each other so that the other does not remain stuck in his or her pain. That's what church is all about. If you see someone has open wounds, is carrying an ache, is blaming someone, themselves or God, and is living in this prison and needs help releasing their helium balloon, help them and don't look away.Author: Melanie Kundt