4.5 Spiritual Hearing Aids for Everyday Living, Part Two (forgiveness)

In this series of posts, we are considering the “hearing aids” in prayer we have received from God. from God. We want to hear Him and understand what He is speaking, especially in our times of prayer. But, so often we just don’t get it without ears opened to God’s voice. So, to answer the cry of our hearts, God helps us by giving us spiritual hearing aids.

Today, we are considering the third of five hearing aids that interact specifically with our earthly sojourn as followers of Christ under the heading Spiritual Hearing Aids for Everyday Living

  1. Faith
  2. Love for Christ alone
  3. Freedom in forgiveness
  4. Reasons to be thankful
  5. Readiness to obey

The First Spiritual Hearing Aid for Everyday Living is FAITH ― faith that trusts and anticipates good from God and belief in God that moves us to give up keeping our distance and move as close as possible to Him.

The Second Spiritual Hearing Aid for Everyday Living is LOVE FOR CHRIST ALONE. Love for Christ gives us a singular focus that tunes out distracting background noises.

The Third Spiritual Hearing Aid for Everyday Living is FORGIVENESS.

Forgiveness in prayer presents a heart to God like his own and invites him to enter, heal, restore, and speak.

The freedom found in forgiveness removes emotional blocks to hearing God. Unlike bitterness and resentment which harden the heart, forgiveness arises out of a heart softened with humility and grace.

One of the things that interferes with my new hearing aids working properly is good old ear wax. Even without a hearing aid, ear wax buildup can diminish one’s ability to hear, and it might be time to get out the your favorite remedy or visit your doctor for a good cleaning out.

My hearing aids have an ear plug that serves as a speaker in my ear. It is connected to the receiver which sits just above and a bit behind my ear. The receiver picking up the sounds around me has a processor which creates an enhanced soundwave. That soundwave will meet the hearing loss needs I have, unless it can’t get through to my inner ear.

Ear wax is one of those things that can hinder or stop me hearing well. The rubber shield over that speaker in my ear must be cleaned regularly and replaced if necessary to keep the ear canal wide open to what I’m hearing.

Like earwax, an unforgiving spirit toward anyone, including myself or even God, is a great hindrance to hearing the voice of our Savior in prayer.

We need a remedy, and the remedy is the process of forgiving that follows the example of Christ.

Jesus said some thought-provoking things regarding forgiveness and prayer. And notice, he taught praying in the context of forgiveness, and forgiveness in the context of praying! What he stressed concerning fellowship in prayer with God, our Father, teaches us that the prayer connection we have with God is ALWAYS a reflection of the disposition of our heart to forgive or not.

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:9-15 ESV

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Mark 11:22-25 ESV

After Julia was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given but two years to live in 2015, we made the choice to begin pulling up stakes and moving from Oregon to New York. That process involved dissolving property ownership and other complicated relational issues. It was easy to take offense at various points, but it was only AFTER we took a forgiving attitude to all parties concerned and walked out forgiveness as best we could that the Scriptures, counsel from friends, and the voice of the Spirit could straighten our path and lead us in making our move. We were able to begin letting go of our fears, letting go of our desperate desire for fair dealing, and wait quietly before the Lord for his leading. When the emotional wounds are healed and the heart is at peace, the voice of the Lord is much easier to hear.

In the context of prayer, James encourages us…

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16 ESV

We pray that today you will be able to forgive as Christ forgave so that you won’t miss anything he’s speaking into your heart. Forgiveness is a dynamic way of life that takes us ever closer to bearing the image of Christ with love and transparency to all those He brings into our circle. It is not a 7-steps-and-we’re-done kind of deal. Sometimes it can take a lot of work to get the wax out! But it’s worth it.


What is forgiveness?

Having received mercy in Christ, forgiveness is a believer’s deliberate choice to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in showing mercy to the one who has been hurtful. We need a remedy, and the remedy is the process of forgiving that follows the example of Christ.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:12-16 ESV

Forgiveness has both a judicial and a familial or relational aspect.

We all understand that someone can be forgiven by another, but not feel forgiven.

And we probably have all experienced the fact that until forgiveness is felt emotionally and experientially between two wounded parties, communication cannot substantially improve and attempts to walk together are foolhardy.

God judicially forgives us of moral debt from sin deserving eternal separation from his holy presence because of Christ and what he did to atone for our sin. But, even after having confessed Christ as Lord, we may still bear a burden of shame and feel unforgiveable. The mark of sin can be so deep on our conscience and the scars we bear from life’s relationships so complicated that we struggle to approach God in complete freedom.

It is the person who grasps the fact deep in his soul he is TOTALLY forgiven and begins to feel the Lord’s unconditional acceptance who in prayer is content, open to what God has to say, and resting in his grace to do what he asks. This is the beauty of familial or relational forgiveness. It is the very thing the early disciples experienced when Jesus called them to come and be with him, to leave their former life behind and follow him.

The forgiveness we feel from God, and the forgiveness we freely share with others is a huge help to hearing God, to drawing close to him and being assured that we are heard. “Accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6 KJV), HE draws us close to heal and restore. It HIS love that conquers shame!

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 1:5-10, cf. Psalm 51:7-17
The Seven-fold Pattern of God’s forgiveness in Christ

To Forgive as God in Christ forgives…

  1. MAKE LOVE YOUR GOAL: God’s forgiveness is empowered by his eternal commitment to love us
  2. COUNT THE COST: God hurts deeply over our sin against him and understands completely it’s deadly impact on our relationship.
  3. CHOOSE WITH CHRIST: God chose to bear the penalty of our sin against him in a real sacrifice of himself in space and time – while we were still separated from him by our sin against him.
  4. WAIT FOR REPENTANCE: God waits for our repentance, having first declared his willingness to forgive by bearing the consequences of our sin.
  5. GRANT FORGIVENESS: God fully accepts true repentance and helps the repentant to bring forth good fruit in keeping with his or her repentance.
  6. REBUILD TRUST: God works to rebuild a trusting relationship with himself over time based on eternal commitments.
  7. RESTORE FELLOWSHIP: God brings us to himself to live with him forever, fully restored in the beauty of holiness and the exquisite joy of unblemished, unhindered fellowship in the company of the beloved.

For more help on understanding and walking in forgiveness, please see the resources listed below.

Resources on Forgiveness:

REMEDIES FOR EAR WAX


POSTS IN THIS 2021 SUMMER SESSION OF THE HUDSON VALLEY SCHOOL OF PRAYER:

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