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The Power of Forgiveness

The Power of Forgiveness

"Grace allows you to face your sin, to own it and not shift blame. Grace forces you to feel the pain of your regrets, but never asks you to pay for them, because the price has already been paid by Jesus." - Paul David Tripp

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks praying and preparing for this week’s blog—to be faithful to the Lord’s direction and to obediently allow the words on this page to reflect the redemption story He has written over my life. The next four words up to bat: Saved by Grace, Freedom, Redeemed, and Fearless

The things I have to say about these words are so deep and personal, so profound and overwhelmingly constant, I’m not even sure how to make this a reasonable length. It’s an honor to share the Truths that lifted me out of the pits of hell in a season of self-destructing addiction and hopeless bondage and how the Lord has turned it into a beautiful redemptive story.

Scripture says in Hebrews 3:7, 12-13—“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hears as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness…Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.’” We are warned that in times of testing and dispute, it is easy for our hearts to give in to sin’s deceit. We are more susceptible to worldly fulfillment and self-seeking desires than the promises from Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” 

Thank God we have a hope outside of ourselves. Our own human strength is not enough to rescue us from the messes we’re capable of conjuring up. God meets us where we are—His love draws near and He pursues us even when we wander. He empowers us when we are weak and restores us when we are unfaithful. When we deny Him, He presses in and does not deny us. 

I can testify to His graciousness because I have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and He has changed my life (and my family’s life) forever! He’s given us a story, a story of His mighty mercies and fierce love, a story to share, a real story, a story about finding beauty in the ashes, beauty in the broken way. I was a broken shell of a person for so many years. Wounded and hurting. Lost, scared and spiritually destitute. I know what it feels like to almost completely destroy your own life from addictive behaviors, bondage, strongholds, living in chains and filling your life with things that are purely destructive and counterfeit. I had made a mess of my life, let me tell you! BUT…..learning first hand that the Lord IS actually bigger than the mess I’ve created and that He can and WILL redeem and heal THE most disgusting, despairing and devastating of situations if you ask Him to is a heart-stunning, life-altering occurrence. I know first hand just what it means to be set free from something I never thought possible AND miraculously experience His massive redemptive capabilities in my life and family too! I stand here today begging you to believe Him for the impossible.

He comes back for you over and over (sometimes through pain, grief or suffering) to destroy all other idols you worship—to show you that He will alone supply your every need. When you are a prodigal son returning home, as I was, your perspective on everything shifts. Your heart is softened and willing to receive the graciousness of the Lord’s promises. My heart rejoices—I once was lost but now I'm found! Through His limitless and unrelenting love for me, He has taken the blinders off my hurting heart, not only to the grievances of my sin, but more so to the power and weight of what God has done for me. 

“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.” - Matthew 18:11-14

I desperately need my Savior, Helper and Healer! Despite my mess, He came for me and for you, as a propitiation to deliver us from sin, and to destroy the enemy, so that we might have hope. How could someone trade a perfect life for one like mine?! He knows the depths of my heart, my sin, my failures and still chose to stand in my place at Calvary?

Fully grasping “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” for me is shocking (Ephesians 3:18). I couldn’t grasp it before simply because my wounds were blocking an understanding of how this type of love could even be real or possible. Our feet follow our faith every time. We will act out of our belief system of who we think God is and, if it is flawed, then eventually it’s going to show up in how we live and how we ultimately search for love and joy. 

When you suddenly experience Him as the lover of your soul, the healer of all your wounds, your Rescuer, the one who never leaves you or forsakes you in your weaknesses, it changes and transforms your heart and beliefs to their very core. It clicks. This IS exactly what He is there for! He came for situations just like mine, just like yours. Wow, I am this wicked that He went to the cross for me AND I am this loved that he went to the cross for me!  

Jesus came here to save us and went readily unloved so that we would know constant love. He deserved to be loved, but was rejected, so that me who deserves to be rejected would be eternally loved. He endured the separation so that nothing could ever separate us from the Father's love. He suffered in every way so that He could be a Savior to us in our suffering.” - Paul David Tripp. 

Note: Christianity is not a behavior modification program. Christ did not come to make bad people good. He came to bring dead people to life, to bring hope to the hopeless, to bring sight to the blight and to bring freedom for the captives. He came to meet us right where we are, to deal with and heal the infected condition of our hearts and to show us love and compassion when we deserve it the least and to lead us into life abundant, whole, healed and free ways of living! Jesus cares far more about what’s going on in your heart than just about fixing your behavior. If you let Him heal your broken and hurting heart, your behavior will take care of itself. We don’t need behavior modifications; we need heart transformations. Healing comes from the inside out. Not from the outside in. (works/deeds/actions/behaviors don’t lead to healed and whole hearts) The Lord must transform your heart FIRST! And then, from a healed and whole heart, righteous choices will flow. Grace not perfection, for Christ “redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Galatians 3:13).

Going back to Hebrews 3:13, the author challenged us to exhort, or encourage, one another daily, so that we are not deceived by sin. How easy is it for us to look at others as “too far gone” when they are staring testing or difficult circumstances straight in the face? How often do we notice the log in someone else’s eye before we pay attention to the one in our own? Faithfulness is communal—we are challenged to plead with one another so that no one would be hardened by sin’s deception.

“We tend to be hyper aware of the weaknesses of those living near us while we appear to be functionally blind to our own. For this reason we begin to forget that we are more like them than unlike them, that there are few things that we can see in the lives of others that are not present in our own lives in some way. Blindness to your own sin is a denial of the presence of a personal spiritual need. Such denial always leads to devaluing of and a resistance to God’s grace. Denying your need for grace and underestimating the power of what grace can do never, ever leads to anything good. We’re all very good at looking at our sin and naming it less that sin, and we all tend to degrade the glory of what grace has done, is doing and will do. People who deny sin tend to not progressively conquer it, and people who devalue grace then not to run to it for help.” - Paul David Tripp. 

“Hurt people hurt people, but helped people help people. Broken people shatter people, but whole people restore people. Damaged people break people, but rebuilt people build people. Shattered people damage people, but loved people love people. Wounded people wound people, but healed people bind up wounds. Bound people bind people, but freed people lead others to freedom!” - Christine Caine

The Lord’s tender mercies and unfailing compassions are what cause the scales to fall and enlighten the eyes of our hearts! It’s God’s kindness that leads to repentance. It’s love, grace and mercy that brings breakthrough to people. 

Coming through a heart-healed season, you begin to see the scriptures anew. Things I’ve read a thousand times are now leaping off the page in a clear and unhindered view. For example, the love and heart of Jesus in stories like John 8 where He gets in the dirt with the adulterous woman, down on His knees to meet her where she is, to protect her and defend her from being stoned to death because of her atrocious sin, to love her in the middle of the mess. Jesus gently lifts her head and says, “now go and sin no more” (John 8:11). He too has pulled my heart out of the grave, so I resonate with how this woman in John 8 must have felt. He rescued me and “redeemed my life from the pit and crowned me with love and compassion”  at the moment when I warranted it the least (Psalm 103:4). 

Having experienced this level of powerful love and undeserved forgiveness of grievous sins, sets your heart on fire to chase after the Lord all the days of your life and to deeply love others who are still blinded, broken, lost and deceived. I have been there and have tremendous grace and mercy for that spot! 

Those who have been forgiven much love much! But those who have been forgiven little love little. - Luke 7:47 

In Matthew 5, Jesus says to “bless those who curse you,” forgive, love and pray for those – to show the same grace you have been shown. I once was * fill in the blank according to your story * but because of God’s great love, there isn’t anything you could put in that blank that doesn’t end with this through Christ Jesus: recreated, transformed, redeemed, healed, freed, delivered, forgiven, unconditionally loved, fully known, and made whole. I've been forgiven much, why would I withhold that from another?

Unforgiveness holds you back from your purposes more than you might ever realize. Forgive as Christ forgave you, so that you can walk freely into the fullness of what He has for you! Stop justifying that bitterness, resentment, pride, self-righteousness, judgment, addiction, greed, or envy. Stop buying in to the lie that you are due forgiveness and grace, but others are not! Let it go! There is an antidote waiting for you on the other side to help and to heal those hurting places.   

The parable in Luke 7 shows that “the woman’s deep love did not flow from deep sin. It flowed from deep forgiveness. The level of intimacy her repentance required plummeted her to a depth of love. The proud and the depraved alike must kneel at the same feet for mercy. For those willing, God turns sin’s empty cistern into a deep wellspring overflowing with love” (Beth Moore).

I pray we are all Luke 7:47 women! A woman like this can make what Jesus did for her greater than what was done to her! He came to defeat what defeats us. I pray you don’t get stuck in the one offense or one failure and allow it to define every other moment of your entire life. Forgive, surrender, humble yourself, seek out wise counsel in His Word and in your Godly community and healing will come! The more anger you hold towards the past, the less you are able to love in the present. 

“God’s mercy does not make sin tolerable; it makes sin forgivable.” (Beth Moore)

“The blood of Jesus doesn’t give you amnesia, but it does give you a life beyond your past! What Jesus did for you is greater than anything that was done to you or spoken over you…greater than your past, your choices, your failures.” – Christine Caine

 “I think we misunderstand both true freedom and debilitating bondage. Freedom that fills and satisfies your heart is never found in setting yourself up as your own authority. True freedom is not found in doing whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it. True freedom is never found in writing your own moral code. True freedom is not the result of getting your own way. Since God created this entire world, thus means that as His creatures, we were created to live in willing submission to His will for us. Hence, freedom is not found in spinning free of His authority. Self-rule never leads anywhere good. When you attempt to do these things, you never enjoy freedom; you only end up in another form of bondage.” - Paul David Tripp

John 10:10 says - - “The thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy; but I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly!” The enemy doesn’t come to break your bones; he comes to break your spirit. He is “the destroyer” – it’s who he is, it’s his nature – John 8:44 says, “he was a murder from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is NO truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” He has come to destroy all things in your life, break your heart/spirit, ruin your family, destroy your relationships, plant fear, doubt, worry, anxiety and exploit your every weaknesses to the nth degree! (unfortunately I know this fact first hand) The enemy knows his time on the earth is short (as it says in Revelation 12:12) and he will be working effortlessly here to get his work done until Jesus returns– ask yourself, are you being used by the enemy to accomplish his purposes? If you are, as I was, know we have a God who is waiting for you to cry out to Him for help! I urge you to go read Psalm 18 and pray this over yourself and your situation! David, the Psalmist, knows first hand about strongholds, hopelessness and living in “emotional captivity”! We have HOPE in Christ Jesus to break those “chains” of bondage and put on the Armor of God to battle against the enemies tactics (Ephesians 6)! So suit up, sister!

When we are clothed with strength and dignity and are abundantly filled by the Holy Spirit, we can’t help but laugh in the face of our anxieties, worries or doubts (Proverbs 31:25). We are promised that hope will fill your tomorrow, so go on and laugh with joy of what’s to come “for God did not give us a spirit of fear but one of power and love and sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Stand tall with confidence that the Lord will carry you throughout your redemption story.

The Lord cries out, “BEHOLD, I am doing a NEW thing! NOW it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” - Isaiah 43:19

So much of us don’t perceive it. The Lord is saying – no matter what has happened, no matter who you are or what you’ve done, when you call upon His name for help, He will not only “wash you white as snow,” but heal you, transform you, make you a new creation through Christ Jesus! HE IS BIGGER THAN IT ALL! He is doing a “NEW thing” and it is going to ECLIPSE the “old thing”! Your greatest days are ahead of you (not behind) when you are walking with the Lord!  You don’t have to keep looking back! Don’t hang around those people who build monuments to the past and dwell on it. You make what Jesus did for you greater than anything that was done to you, said about you, etc. It will transform your life and you will begin to walk in complete freedom, operate in total wholeness and healing, and change the course of your life forever. The truth of God’s Word says that your destiny is greater than your history!

So, who are you listening to? The Father of Truth or the father of lies? You’ll know who you’re listening to and believing when you look at the fruit of your life? Is the fruit of your life one of fear, anger, anxiety, unforgiveness, unrest or is it one of joy, peace, love, hope, forgiveness and grace?

Some of us have allowed one moment or one season to define us and outline the rest our lives. The enemy has already robbed that season of your past. Time to dig in to what God’s Word says about life’s most difficult circumstances – how to have hope, how to love others, how to forgive, how to live in Godly community, and how to walk in the fullness of His grace!

What was meant for evil, God meant for good! – Genesis 50:20

“What was intended to tear you apart, God intends it to set you apart.” – Ann Voskamp

“God allows what He hates, to accomplish what He loves!”  - Joni Eareckson

Jesus, come in and do what only YOU can do!


“For it is BY GRACE you have been SAVED, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“So that being justified BY His GRACE we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7

We have FREEDOM through Christ Jesus

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the FORGIVENESS of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set FREE from sin.” Acts 13:38-39

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; His grace abounds as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him!” Psalm 103:10-13, 16-17

“Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM!” 2 Corinthians 3:17

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are FORGIVEN, whose sins are covered!” Psalm 32:1

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, FORGIVING each other, just as in Christ God FORGAVE you" Ephesians 4:32

 "In him we have redemption through his blood, the FORGIVENESS of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace" Ephesians 1:7

 “Those who have been FORGIVEN much, love much. But those who have been forgiven little, love little.” Luke 7:47

“Bear with each other and FORGIVE one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. FORGIVE as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

“For freedom Christ has set us FREE; strong firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

"The Lord our God is merciful and FORGIVING, even though we have rebelled against Him." Daniel 9:9 

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim FRREEDOM to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set FREE those who are oppressed.” Luke 4:18

 “And you, who were dead in your trespasses, God made alive together with Him, having FORGIVEN us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them.” Colossians 2:13-15

“He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-4

 We have been REDEEMED –

“Do not be afraid, for I have REDEEMED you, I have called you by name, your are mine. You are precious in my eyes because you are honored and I love you. The mountains may depart and the hills may be removed, but my love for you will never depart and my covenant of peace with you will never be removed.” Isaiah 43:1, 4 & 54:10

“Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full REDEMPTION.” Psalm 130:7

“Praise the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all my sins and heals all my disease, He REDEEMED my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion!” Psalm 103:4

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were REDEEMED from the empty way of life, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19

“Though we were slaves, our God did not forsake us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has given us a wall of protection.” Ezra 9:9

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the REDEEMED of the Lord tell their story!" Psalm 107:1-2

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“Therefore lift your dropping hands and strengthen your weak knees, for He makes straight the paths of your feet, so that what was lame may not be put out of joint, but rather BE HEALED!” Hebrews 12:12-13

“But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be WHOLE. He was whipped so we could be HEALED. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray. We have left God’ paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6 


“She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs WITHOUT FEAR at the future.” Proverbs 31:25

“The LORD is on my side; I will NOT FEAR!” Psalm 118:6

“For He did NOT given us a spirit of FEAR; but of power, of love and of sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“Lord Jesus, You have NOT given me a spirit of FEAR, but of power, love, and a strong mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 

“God is our refuge and strength. An ever present help in trouble; therefore I will NOT FEAR!” Psalm 46:1

“I am strong and of good courage, I do NOT FEAR nor am I afraid, for You, O Lord, are the one who goes with me. You will not leave me nor forsake me.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” Psalm 34:4-7

NEW Identity through Jesus, through His redemption, His freedom, His grace, His forgiveness:

“But YOU are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into marvelous light! Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10

 We are no longer orphans, but daughters – brethren of Christ -“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba Father”. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:12-17 

“The law of the Lord is perfect, REVIVING the soul. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving JOY to the heart. The commands of the Lord are RADIANT, giving light to the eyes. The rules of the Lord are true and altogether righteous. They are more precious than GOLD; they are sweeter than honey and drippings of the HONEYCOMB.” Psalm 19:7-10

John 8:36 has been a beautiful testament to the freedom I have received from living deep within the depravity from my addictions and strongholds. "Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!" I once was lost and broken, but now I'm found, whole, and set free! Praise God we don’t reap what we have sowed; we reap what Jesus has sown!

But these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have LIFE in HIS name” (John 20:31). Real abundant life-- Do you have this? Are you looking for it? Where are you looking for it? I am praying you go and find it only ever at the foot of the cross! Come as you are-- He’s waiting there to give these things to you freely: freedom, abundance, security, rest, peace, love, intimacy, lasting, value, worth, real relationships, radiance and satisfaction! God’s deepest desire is to give you a grand story of redemption-- life beyond your past and healing from your broken and wounded heart! He is bigger than it all!

Bring your sorrows and trade them for JOY – and from the ashes, a NEW life is born!

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are FORGIVEN, whose sins are covered!” Psalm 32:1

“But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be WHOLE. He was whipped so we could be HEALED. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray. We have left God’ paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6

“Theology that isn’t zealous to promote forgiving and transforming grace, the kind of grace that changes your life, is simply bad theology.” – Paul David Tripp

Praying you choose His ways and know that “nothing but the blood of Jesus” is able to set you free or make you whole again,

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