Tag Archives: Resolutions

Starting Over Requires Forgiveness

Kids seem to have no problem forgiving others when they say “I’m sorry.”  They apologize, and then the kid forgives them, and then they go on as though nothing happened.

But as the kids get older, they learn to hold grudges.  When they become teenagers, it seems that some of them get to the point where nothing that a person could say or do would get them to forgive him.  And then these people become adults, and they still do the same thing, holding grudges and refusing to forgive, even if that person truly has changed.

Then you end up with strained or ruined relationships, hurt and anger, high blood pressure, ulcers, confusion, sadness… Well, let’s just say that it’s not good.  It would be so nice if we could just hit the “reset” switch on all our relationships.  It is possible to start fresh in those relationships, but it takes forgiveness.

The same thing is true in our relationship with God.  If we want to start over, be completely free from guilt and sin, then forgiveness is necessary.

A new start, spiritually, requires forgiveness on three levels.

You must accept God’s forgiveness on his terms.

So many people today are promising people God’s forgiveness without going to God’s word to show how to get it.  Have you ever heard “pray and ask Jesus to come into your heart”?  That’s nowhere in the Bible!

God said that forgiveness comes by hearing the gospel (Acts 2:22-24), believing it (Mark 16:16), repenting of your sins (Acts 2:38), Confessing Christ (Acts 8:37), and being baptized so your sins can be washed away (Acts 2:38).  When you do all of these things–and not before–then you are promised God’s forgiveness.

What about those people who have done all those things, but have messed up again? How do THEY get God’s forgiveness so they can start over?  Those people are told to repent (change) and pray to God (Acts 8:22).  Those people are told to confess their sins to God, and He will forgive all of their sins (I John 1:9).

How does God forgive?

I worked with a man once who couldn’t bring himself to study the Bible because he was convinced: “God could never forgive me for what I’ve done.”  This is actually a common belief some people have, but it’s not true.  After all, God forgave Peter of denying that he even knew who Jesus was.  God forgave Paul of murdering Christians.  God forgave king Manasseh of killing his children by burning them alive in worshiping a giant statue; murdering God’s prophets; causing the people to forsake God.

God will forgive anyone for anything if they come to Him on His terms.  Not only will God forgive, He will NEVER bring it up against you again.  Hebrews 8:12, 10:17 – their sins and iniquities I will remember no more.  When God forgives, it is complete forgiveness.  When God forgives, you can know without a doubt that He basically forgets it and doesn’t take it into account against you…ever.

You must forgive others.

If you truly want a fresh start, you can’t hold grudges against other people.  How many times have you been so upset with someone that you get angry every time you see that person or hear that person’s name?  A lot of times the person may not even realize he’s done something to upset you.

Some people like to bury the hatchet (meaning they stop fighting and trying to destroy one another), but they leave the handle sticking out.  They’re willing to say, “we’ll just not bring this up again right now and try to move on,” but the problem is never resolved.  Instead of forgiving, they are just trying to ignore it.

It seems that far too many people in this world have a hard time of letting go of things that upset them.  Not that I watch them, but it seems that one of the main themes that run through Hallmark movies is the need to forgive others so you can be happy.

Peter was told by Jesus Christ that even if someone sins against you seven times in a day, and then seven times he comes and apologizes, you are to forgive him.

This is not an option, it is a command.

Jesus didn’t say, “forgive him after you’ve yelled at him and shown him that he’s scum.”  He said just forgive him.  Not only that, but Jesus also said there is no limit to the times we are to forgive people.  He said “seventy times seven times.”   This means that we are to continue to forgive people, regardless of how many times they may sin against us.

Even if it is the same sin, we are to continue to forgive.  Have you ever committed the same sin more than once?  Do you think God will forgive you, even if you mess up and commit that same sin again?

Forgiveness applies in every aspect of life, from marriage to work to driving down the interstate.

Jesus, in Matthew 18:34-35, said that if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us.  If you care AT ALL about going to heaven, you have to learn to forgive other people.

You must learn to forgive yourself.

If a person is convinced that he is worthless and that he will never change, will he ever change?  If a person goes into dieting with the idea that he will fail, is he going to lose any weight?  If a person is convinced that nothing he does is going to make a difference, will he really try?  The answer to all of these questions is an obvious NO!

We all have to learn to stop beating ourselves up over the past and move on from it.  We should (like Paul) learn from our past mistakes, and say now I know what NOT to do.

If we want to make a new start, we have to say “the past has passed.”  If we want to make a new start, we have to forgive ourselves for messing things up and start over.  Instead of moping about how much of a failure we are, we need to say, “I am forgiven, and I’m ready to get back up and try again!”

Forgiveness is Key!

Remember that God’s commands are always in our best interest.  God gave every command for a reason.  When you forgive people, your stress level goes down.  When you forgive people, you will be happier.  When you forgive people, you show an appreciation for God’s forgiveness.  When you forgive people, you encourage others to do the same thing.

Therefore, when you forgive people, your life improves, and so do the lives of the people around you.  Why would you NOT want to forgive others?

We each want a new start.  We each want forgiveness.  Shouldn’t we be willing to give that same chance to others?

-Bradley S. Cobb

Starting Over Requires Change

Billy Milner is sent to prison for drugs, and spends the next 12 years behind bars before he is finally released.

He doesn’t want to go back.  His goal is to start over and make a new life for himself.  His goal is to avoid getting in the same mess.  But just as important to him is this: He doesn’t want to be known as the drug-addict jailbird.

Now, put yourself in his shoes.  Do you want people holding the past against you? Do you want the chance to prove yourself without the past being brought up?  Do you want to have a new start?

It’s usually about this time every year that people make up their minds to start over.  It doesn’t matter that they have failed in the past, the new year brings a sense of freshness, a sense of newness, a sense of possibilities.

Some have estimated that over 50% of the adults in the United States will make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight in 2015.  It doesn’t matter that most of them (including me) made the same resolution last year, this is a new year, a new chance.

Some make resolutions to be more healthy.  Others make resolutions to study their Bible more.  Still others decide that this is the year they are going to get their bills paid off.  Whatever it happens to be, the new year makes people feel that they truly have a chance to make things better.

Is your life the way you want it to be?  Are you happy with where you are, spiritually speaking?  Are you happy with the person you’ve become?  Are there parts of your past you wish you could just leave behind and have them disappear?

Well, here’s the good news: today you can really make it all go away and have a brand new start!

Starting over requires a change.

No one is going to lose weight if they don’t make a change in their lifestyle, like eating better, eating less, and being more active.  In the same way, no one is going to have a better life if they don’t start making some changes.  If someone wants to make this the year they get out of debt, they have to make some financial changes (less frivolous spending, less eating out, more saving, perhaps making a budget).

Have you felt like a disappointment to yourself and to God?  You want things to be better?  Then it is time for you to make some changes in your life.

First, you’ve got to make up your mind to change.  A man once complained that he was always broke because he spent so much on cigarettes.  When his buddy said, “why don’t you quit?” the man replied “I don’t think I can.”  He needed to change, but he never took the first step of making his mind up to change.

The Bible describes this concept as “repenting.”   Repenting means that you change your mind to stop doing those things you used to do, and start doing the things God wants you to do.  It’s not always easy, but it can be done.

Do you ever wonder why it is that so many people constantly make the same resolution to lose weight, year after year?  It’s because the change that’s required to lose the weight is not easy to accomplish.  It requires willpower.  It requires looking at the long-term goal instead of the immediate satisfaction.

In the same way, changing our lives so we can have peace with God is not easy, but it can be done.

We are creatures of habit, we get to doing things in a certain way and we don’t like change.  But we must change if we want to have peace with God.  We should get rid of the bad and replace it with the good.

Negative habits that should be left behind could include:

  • Leaving friends behind.
  • Giving up hobbies (drinking, going to parties, reading things they shouldn’t be reading, etc…).
  • Bad attitudes
  • and many others.

Positive changes that ought to take place include:

  • Being more outgoing in spreading the gospel.
  • Setting aside time each day to read God’s word and pray.  Most people spend hours a day in front of a screen, so can you really say you don’t have time to read the Bible?

If you are not a Christian, the change you must make to find peace with God is to become a Christian.  You will notice a consistent theme throughout the Bible: the command to repent (change).  Repentance, when put together with baptism, will take away all of your sins (Acts 2:38).

-Bradley S. Cobb