Forgiveness Trumps Conventional Wisdom

January 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Bruce Hebel –

Brad and Molly came to us in crisis. Three weeks earlier Molly had discovered Brad’s pornography addiction and his multiple affairs, including Molly’s best friend, Brad’s best friend’s wife and prostitutes. She was shocked.

A couple of days after the initial confrontation, Brad picked up his Bible. As he began to read, something inside him broke. For two hours he tearfully read the Bible and for the first time, understood the grace of God and the forgiveness provided for him through the blood of the cross. He was dramatically transformed. Heart cleansed. Desires changed.

Molly recognized the change but couldn’t get over the offense. “I thought we had a great marriage. I swore I would not be like my mom, but now I have become my mom because he has become my dad.” She went on to explain how her father would leave her in the car as an alibi while he had affairs with women.

Conventional wisdom wouldn’t give this couple good survival odds, but conventional wisdom doesn’t understand the power of forgiveness. I looked at Brad and asked who hurt him as a child. He described the horrific sexual abuse his sister committed against him from the time he was five years old until he was age eleven. We gently told him, “You must forgive your sister.”

As Brad began to forgive the numerous wounds from his sister, Molly began to weep uncontrollably. Toni knelt beside her and cradled Molly in her arms. After Brad finished forgiving the wounds from his sister, he forgave himself.  I asked him  “How is your heart?” He told us he would never have believed his heart could be any better than the day he trusted the Lord, but in fact it was better now than ever. He was unmistakably free.

Then Toni looked at Molly and said, “You won’t be free, totally free, until you also walk through forgiveness.” After forgiving Brad and her father, the change in her countenance was remarkable and as they stood up to leave, Molly embraced Brad for the first time in three weeks. In fact, on the way home, she unbuckled her seat belt and slid over and snuggled next to him. He almost wrecked the truck! When we saw them a month later she told us their marriage has never been this good. Forgiveness trumped conventional wisdom.

AUTHOR QUOTE: Jesus never let the offence determine whether or not He would forgive someone!

“He himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2 NASB).

Today’s devotional is by Bruce Hebel, President of Regenerating Life Ministries (forgiving forward.com) and Adjunct Professor at Carver Bible College. Bruce is the author of the seminar and soon to be published book “Forgiving Forward: Unleashing the Forgiveness Revolution” He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and, along with his wife Toni, has served in pastoral ministry for over 35 years.

Resolving to Forgive

December 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Bruce Hebel –

Every year at this time people all over the world are taking life assessments and looking for ways to improve themselves in the coming year. We call this “making a New Year’s resolution.” A New Year’s resolution is a commitment an individual makes to a lifestyle change for the better. It often involves breaking a bad habit or starting a good one. Every Top 10 List of resolutions includes losing weight. Pay attention over the next few days to the morning shows and magazines at the checkout. Everywhere you look you will see people claiming to have a surefire way to help you lose weight and keep it off. It just makes sense. After Thanksgiving, the Christmas parties, cookie exchanges and all those Christmas goodies at Grandma’s, most of us have mid-sections that bear more resemblance to a barrel than a six-pack.

Let me suggest that there’s different type of weight we need to lose which doesn’t show up in larger belt sizes or groaning scales. I’m talking about the weight of old wounds we have not forgiven. Unforgiveness weighs us down and wears us out. This type of heaviness is much more harmful to us than the kind we get from that second helping of Blue Bell ice cream. Unforgiveness, according to Matthew 18, leads to the heavy burden of torment. Forgiveness takes the weight off.

Recently I helped a lady walk through the protocols of forgiveness toward her ex-husband who had cheated on her and abandoned her many years before. After she chose to forgive and sealed her forgiveness by praying a blessing over him, she said to me “I feel like I can exhale for the first time in years. My heart is so much lighter. I can feel it relaxing.” We have helped hundreds of people make the choice to forgive wounds, which in some cases, were almost unbearable. Every time someone has made a commitment to forgive, they have proclaimed that their heart is lighter and they can breathe again.

So let me recommend a New Year’s resolution for you. Ask God if there is someone you need to forgive and for what. Then choose to forgive them. When you do, you will experience the quickest weight-loss of your life.

AUTHOR QUOTE: God expects forgiven people to forgive others!

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25 NIV).

Today’s devotional is by Bruce Hebel, President of Regenerating Life Ministries (forgiving forward.com) and Adjunct Professor at Carver Bible College. Bruce is the author of the seminar and soon to be published book Forgiving Forward: Unleashing the Forgiveness Revolution. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and, along with his wife Toni, has served in church ministry for over 35 years.

A Marriage Saved Through Forgiveness

November 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Bruce Hebel –

Through an “out of the blue” circumstance, I was informed, just a few hours before I was scheduled to speak at a ministry center in North Atlanta, that the ministry leader and her husband were scheduled to finalize their divorce the very next day.  I did not view it as coincidental that I had received that information prior to speaking. After I finished my talk, I asked the receptionist if I could speak with her. She happened to be in the office and came out to meet with me. (It was interesting to hear later that this was her day off and she is rarely in the office on her day off.) It was a nice day, so we took a walk outside and sat on a short wall under the trees in the parking lot. I told her what I had heard and asked the question, “How can I help?”

We chatted for quite some time as she poured out her heart about the pain she was experiencing. As we talked, her husband happened to call. I heard her tell him, “I’m sitting here in the parking lot talking to Pastor Bruce trying to decide whether or not I’m going to divorce you tomorrow. Do you want to talk to him?” I’m thinking quietly, “God you are really good at this. Only you could set this up!”

As I began walking my friend through the protocols of forgiveness, her husband drove up with their son. She left with the boy while her husband and I began to talk. In the course of the conversation he was able to forgive several deep wounds from his past. The transformation in his eyes and in his countenance was remarkable. I was then able to help him see himself the way God sees him and to coach him on how to love his wife even if she chose to go through with the divorce. By this time the wife returned and the husband left for church. To make a long story short, when we finished our conversation, she forgave him, he forgave himself and she made a commitment not to divorce. She was free. They were reconciled. A marriage was saved.

There are situations like my friends’ around us every day. A large majority of these hurting people need help learning how to forgive. We can help them. Will you?

AUTHOR QUOTE: “God has given us the privilege of setting people free by helping them forgive!”

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Galatians 6:1 NASB).

Today’s devotional is by Bruce Hebel, President of Regenerating Life Ministries (forgiving forward.com) and Adjunct Professor at Carver Bible College. Bruce is the author of the seminar and soon to be published book Forgiving Forward: Unleashing the Forgiveness Revolution. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and, along with his wife Toni, has served in church ministry for over 35 years.

Warning—Forgiving Can Lead to Excessive Giggling!

October 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Bruce Hebel –

Recently my wife, Toni, and I were at a church in California helping people walk through heaven’s protocols of forgiveness. Jan, a hospitality leader at the church, was assisting us by finding places where we could minister to the people we were helping. After we finished ministering, Jan told us that she too needed help forgiving. Since it was so late and given the fact that she had people waiting for her to give them a ride home, she wouldn’t be able to meet with us. I suggested to her that she drop her passengers off where they needed to go and then meet us in the breakfast area of our hotel. She agreed.

We had barely arrived at our hotel when Jan called to tell us that she was in the lobby. When we met her we found that she had brought her husband and her daughter Lisa with her, along with her daughter’s best friend. You see, the wound that Jan was struggling with also involved her daughter. Lisa had recently revealed that a family member had molested her for four years when she was a child. Both mother and daughter were clearly in torment. We decided it was best to work with them one-on-one, so Toni took the daughter and her friend into another area of the hotel while I stayed with Jan and her husband. We individually worked these wounded ladies through Heaven’s protocols of forgiving the deep wounds that were caused by that horrific experience. As Jan finished forgiving the offender and also forgiving herself, it was remarkable to see the peace and joy that began to shine from her countenance. Her smile was radiant. Her once sad eyes were now full of joy.

Later, when Lisa returned to where we were sitting, I asked her, “How are you doing? How is your heart?”  She just giggled. The more I inquired, the more she giggled. She could not answer me for giggling. When we first met her, she was withdrawn and depressed. Now, after walking through Heaven’s protocols of forgiveness, she was so full of joy she couldn’t talk.

That’s the way it is when we forgive. Forgiveness always brings joy to the one who grants it. Always! And sometimes it even leads to excessive giggling.

AUTHOR QUOTE: God unleashes His blessings on us when we choose to forgive!

“I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete” (John 15:11 NET).

Today’s devotional is by Bruce Hebel, Forgiving Forward Seminar Speaker, President of ReGenerating Life Ministries, and Adjunct Professor at Carver Bible College. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and has served in ministry for over 35 years.

What Our Unforgiveness Says To God

October 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Bruce Hebel –

Are you aware that whether or not we forgive others is a real big deal to God? It is. If you take the time to study scripture, you’ll be hard pressed to find any subject that is more important to Father God than forgiveness. Think about it. In the Lord’s Prayer, forgiveness is the only part of the prayer that has a condition attached to it; forgive us as we forgive others. In addition, forgiveness is the only issue in the prayer that Jesus gives immediate commentary on. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus connected the Father’s forgiveness of us with our forgiveness of others. He repeats the connection in Mark 11:25-26.

Have you ever asked yourself why our forgiveness of others is so important to God? Believe me, He really does take it seriously when we don’t forgive. Why? The answer is found at the center of the redemption story. It basically goes like this: God created man for the purpose of enjoying Him forever. Man sinned against God, which required judgment and created a debt owed to God. Man could not pay the price required. Jesus, God’s son, came to earth for the purpose of paying man’s sin debt. When Jesus died on the cross He proclaimed, “It is finished!” thus declaring that, through the shedding of His own blood, He had paid for the sin debt of everyone in the entire world. Three days later, by raising His Son from the dead, the Father declared, “I agree. It is finished. I accept my Son’s blood as payment for the sins of the world.”

When we say, “I know God forgives them, but I can’t,” we are telling God the Father that, although we recognize that He values the blood of His Son enough to pay for the sins of the world, which includes the sins against us, we need something more than that. The blood of Jesus is enough to satisfy God but is not valuable enough to satisfy me.

Can you imagine looking at Father God and saying, “Your Son’s crowning achievement is not good enough. Jesus really didn’t finish His work because the sin against me requires a higher payment then He paid?” Really? Is there any father who would not be angered by that?

Now do you understand why unforgiveness is such a big deal to God?

AUTHOR QUOTE: The blood of Jesus covers all sins, including the ones committed against me!

“For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NET).

Today’s devotional is by Bruce Hebel, Forgiving Forward Seminar Speaker, President of ReGenerating Life Ministries, and Adjunct Professor at Carver Bible College. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and has served in ministry for over 35 years.

Next Page »