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Repentance—to what extent is it important? Every Christian knows what repentance is and has had the opportunity to repent on more than one occasion. We know in our lives we have sinned and in that sin we have disappointed the Lord.

We have hurt the heart of God. We have failed in our pursuit of the high calling of Christ; yet through the power of forgiveness, we have been able to be restored to fellowship with the Lord. This is the power of repentance!

No matter how much we have disappointed the Lord, no matter how big our failure was, no matter how stuck on stupid we got, when you came to the Lord and asked Him to forgive you, He did! But not only did He forgive you—He also released you.

What I mean by "released" is the Lord started dealing with you, treating you, and working with you like you had never sinned. In essence, He rewinds the tape of our life and allows our relationship to be just as it was prior to our sinning.

Understanding this, let's put ourselves on the receiving end of being hurt, disappointed, and sinned against. We have all had someone in our lives hurt us in this way.

If, according to the Word of God, we are joined to our Lord and in being joined to our Lord we are one Spirit with our Lord (remembering He did not become part of our spirit, we became part of His), then we must operate as He operates.

Have you ever committed the same sin more than once? Of course, we all have. Yet the Lord continually operates in love toward us and never allows our failures to affect our relationship with Him.

According to Proverbs 18:19, when you have an offense in your heart you become like a fortified city. You're the prisoner behind the bars of that city. The Word of God tells us in 1 John 4:17, that "as He is, so are we in this world."

Jesus does not carry offenses around. He loves, forgives and releases. Even when we, through pride or stubbornness, refuse to repent, the Lord waits in love for us to come and be reconciled. This is the spirit that has been born into us.

There is a gentleman in my church who was very hurt in a business transaction with another Christian. This other Christian, through deceit, left him holding the bag to a lot of debt that eventually caused him to have to file bankruptcy and lose his business.

This man tells a story of hatred, hurt, betrayal and offense that caused him to lose everything—even his family—for a period of time. He tells about how he would lay in bed at night and plot how to kill this man.

He had been in the Korean War and knew about high-powered rifles and had literally started planning how he could kill this man without getting caught. He said he could feel the hatred in him burn in his stomach. It was so bad that if he drank a cup of coffee, it would burn like acid.

One night, there was a special speaker at the church he had attended and for some reason, he felt compelled to go back and attend this service.

During this service, he made a decision to forgive this man for what he had done and when he went forward during the invitation, he stated that he literally could feel the weight lift off of him. With tears in his eyes, he told me, "I was free!"

A short time later, he called the man who had hurt him so badly and asked him to forgive him. He told him they had been friends for so long and that he would like that friendship to be restored. They arranged to get together and have a cup of coffee and now a couple of decades later, they are still friends.

The amazing thing about this story is all the time he was going through all of this torment, the other man knew nothing about it. This offense he carried had only hurt him and his family—a continual self-inflicted wound.

You may have been hurt deeply like this friend of mine. The wounds you carry may be as real as they get, but if you carry the hurt, it is hurting you and you are missing the joy of the Lord.

Jesus wants you free and if you will forgive and release just the same way Jesus forgives and releases us, you will experience the extraordinary power of God that will set you free.

Copyright © Fellowship of Hope
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

David Shipman
Web site: Covenant of Peace International
Pastor David Shipman is one of the founding pastors of Fellowship of Hope and presently serves as the Senior Pastor. He employs a very aggressive and responsive attitude toward the Word of God. Believing whole heartedly Jesus’ Words found in Mark 9:23, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

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