Ecuadorean Preacher Fined $3,000, Banned From Politics for Calling Homosexuality ‘Immoral’

An evangelical preacher in Ecuador who ran for president earlier this year has been sentenced after he was found guilty of violating the country’s electoral code by speaking against homosexual behavior.

Nelson Zavala has been fined for more than $3,000 and banned from running for office or being involved with any political party for one year because of his speech, which reportedly occurred in February.

Zavala is being penalized for comments that he made while on the campaign trial in regard to the nation’s legalization of homosexual “marriage,” which he opposed. He had allegedly stated that he believes homosexual behavior is “immoral” and that it is a “severe deviation of conduct.” Zavala had also remarked on several occasions that homosexuals were sinners.zavala_l

Following his statements, a number of homosexual groups complained to the electoral court, and Zavala was required to appear for a hearing.

In analyzing the matter, Judge Patricia Baca Mancheno ruled that Zavala’s speech violated the country’s electoral code, which “forbids candidates of publicly expressing any thoughts that discriminate or affect other people’s dignity or utilize symbols, expressions or allusions of a religious nature.” She then handed down the sentence, barring the preacher from participating in politics for an entire year.

Homosexuals in Ecuador cheered Zavala’s punishment, declaring that the sentencing was a “milestone” for their cause.

affiliate_link

However, the former political candidate decried Mancheno’s ruling, which he said was contrary to the law of God.

“On what they judge me, they will be judged. They don’t have interference in heaven,” he said boldly. “One day God will judge everything, and be prepared to explain to God why you called evil good, and good evil.”

He plans to appeal the sentence.

zavala18Zavala’s sentence comes just weeks after the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a guilty verdict against a pro-family activist  in the nation, who had distributed flyers over a decade ago to express his concerns about a homosexual pride parade in his city, as well as homosexuality being taught in schools. As previously reported, William Whatcott was convicted of a hate crime for expressing sentiments that targeted a certain people group.

“The Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination,” stated one flyer that was found to be in violation, citing 1 Corinthians 6:9. “Scripture records that Sodom and Gomorrah was given over completely to homosexual perversion and as a result destroyed by God’s wrath.”

Whatcott was also convicted of hate speech for using the word “sodomites” and speaking against “two men sodomizing each other,” among other phrases.

Related articles

(Source from Christian New Network at http://www.christiannews.net)

Don’t Just Manage Your Time, Steward It: 5 Keys

palms-clockThe wise stewardship of our time is a very spiritual matter. The Lord has graciously given us a predetermined amount of time, and we are responsible to utilize it with wisdom.

As Oswald Sanders points out in his classic work Spiritual Leadership, each of us has the same amount of time each day as the president of the United States. How can we maximize the time that has been given? How can we rid ourselves of some of the wasted time?

While this list is not inerrant or exhaustive, here are five practices I have learned thus far on stewarding time.

1. Plan ahead.

Instead of rolling into your day with no plan, know the most important projects, conversations, decisions and actions that need to happen as you begin your day. Otherwise you can easily wander into the day, do some less-value-adding work, and kind of just exist.

For me, I look at each upcoming day the night before the new day begins. I make a list, sometimes mental, sometimes on paper, of the most important things that must happen the next day. Doing so helps me begin my day with a plan. Not doing so would put me in a reactive posture. I could still be busy, but I would quite possibly be busy doing the wrong things.

2. Attack the day.

There is a difference in beginning the day with an offensive posture and beginning the day with a defensive posture.

With a defensive posture, you will likely invest more time on the less important, and less time on the most important. If you don’t attack the day with a commitment to throw your best energy into the most important, the inbox or voicemail can grab your best energy. You will likely spend more time than you need to on less important items, issues, etc.

With an attack mentality, the items in the inbox and the voicemail still get your attention, but they get the appropriate attention.

3. Redeem dead times.

Having a plan for the day with an attack mentality inevitably leads to a desire to redeem dead times. Dead times are often the spaces between events that can either be squandered or utilized. Drive times and wait times are most common:

Drive times: Instead of constantly clicking “scan” on the radio button, use your drive time for learning or connecting. Zig Ziglar coined the phrase “automobile university” to describe how much learning can be accomplished while driving. Likewise, the drive time is great to knock out several phone calls.

Wait times: I will use Ben and Scott to illustrate. They are on the same flight from Atlanta to Miami.

Since the flight is roughly 90 minutes and there is probably only 40 minutes where you cannot use your laptop, Ben decides to thumb through the Sky magazine in front of him. After all, he does not want to pay $5.99 to be on the Internet for 40 minutes.

Scott, however, comes to the airport with a plan. After checking in, he begins reading the book he has been studying. Once seated, he continues reading until the passengers are cleared to use their computers. Over the next 40 minutes, he types up several emails in a Word doc so he can simply copy and paste them later. When the time comes to shut the computer down, Scott trades his computer for the book and continues reading.

A very different use of 90 minutes.

Be wise about the above. When you are on a date with your wife, don’t view the time between the appetizer and the main course as a “wait time to be redeemed.” Wait times are big chunks of time that would otherwise be squandered. When you are with people, be present. Don’t put projects above people.

4. Create space for the big projects.

I find that major projects, plans, messages, leadership lessons, etc. need large chunks of time to prepare effectively. Four hours of preparation in one chunk is massively more fruitful than eight 30-minute blocks of time.

For this reason, I keep three to four big items on my desktop and block off several big chunks of time a week. It is much more effective to use the 30-minute blocks of time for emails and quick meetings.

5. Close the day: zero out your inbox.

As the day ends, I find it very helpful to answer my emails and plan for the next day. If there is an email that will require further follow-up, I move it to a follow-up folder. It is a small move, but it gives me the sense that I am beginning the new day with a fresh perspective.

 

(Article taken from Church Leaders (http://www.churchleaders.com) written by Dr. Eric Geiger, executive pastor of Christ Fellowship Miami.)

 

THE BIBLE

From Executive Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes The Bible — an epic 10-part miniseries retelling stories from the Scriptures for a whole new generation. Breathtaking in scope and scale, The Bible features powerful performances, exotic locales and dazzling visual effects that breathe spectacular life into the dramatic tales of faith and courage from Genesis through Revelation. This historic television event is sure to entertain and inspire the whole family.

The Bible is an epic five-week, 10 hour television miniseries on the History Channel from Emmy Award winning husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

The Bible Mini-Series Debuted on the 3rd March 2013 on The History Channel

The highly anticipated mini-series, The Bible, debuted on the History Channel in what is sure to be one of the networks highest rated shows in years. What started out as the subject of a casual conversation over tea four years ago, has turned into a 20 million dollar special effects blocthe-biblekbuster that producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, Shark Tank) says rivals big budget Hollywood films.

“No one had tried to tie it all together and use modern computer graphics to bring images like Moses parting the Red Sea to life on screen,” said Burnett.

What sets The Bible apart from similar attempts is instead of looking at the bible as a whole giving viewers an overview of the book, Burnett chose to focus on specific stories in the bible, delving deep into each characters story, emotionally engaging the audience. After slowly depicting the story of creation, The Bible detailed the lives of two of the bible’s better known subjects, Abraham and Moses, giving viewers a never before seen glimpse into their lives.

Burnett shot the majority of The Bible in the deserts of Morocco in 2012 to give the film an “authentic look and feel.”

For two hours each Sunday night millions of viewers will see the Bible come to life in a way never before seen – with two episodes airing each week. The final episode of the miniseries will air on Easter Sunday and will feature the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Biblical Accuracy & The BibleIC1562420_l

The Bible miniseries is not a documentary, it is a scripted, acted docu-drama filmed on location in the Middle East and Morocco. Inspired by re-watching the classic Ten Commandments film, the Mark Burnett and Roma Downey set out to show the scarlet thread of redemption found in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, using the latest special effects and quality film-making techniques.

To help insure the accuracy of the miniseries many Christian scholars served as advisors and hundreds of Christian leaders have given their endorsement for the miniseries – click here to see endorsements.

According to an interview with Ms. Downey the miniseries, “…is being made with full hearts. We’ve had scholars and theologians help. We’re not pretending to be biblical experts. We brought experts in once the scripts were created to take a look at the scripts to make sure we were accurate and true to the Bible, but obviously we’re making a movie, and so we breathed creative expansion into that.”

Endorsements

rw“I’ve probably seen most, if not all, of the films about the Bible produced in the past 50 years. This one stands alone, in a class by itself, as the best I’ve ever seen. Brilliantly produced with stunning cinematography, a Hans Zimmer score and academy-worthy acting, it stands head-and-shoulder above the rest. Too many ‘Bible’ films end up feeling like documentaries, with stilted dialog, second-class sets, and narration that feels like a lecture. In contrast, this series, draws you into the story from the start. The key to its effectiveness is that it lets the Bible speak for itself, without commentary, excuse or qualification, which makes it unique. This is living history at its best!”
– Dr. Rick Warren, Author, What On Earth Am I Here For?, The Purpose Driven Life

tj“Unlike any other film or miniseries I’ve ever encountered, The Bible brings the Word of God to life in the full richness of its scope, diversity, power, and magnificence. History and mystery collide as Mark Burnett and Roma Downey infuse every scene with their divinely inspired vision for sharing the poetic beauty and timeless wisdom of Scripture. This series helps us all to experience the flesh-and-blood stories of the Bible in a new light and draws us to the Divine Author who continues writing His eternal masterpiece. You will be enthralled, encouraged, and inspired by The Bible – seeing really is believing!”
– Bishop T.D. Jakes, author, pastor, The Potter’s House

lp“I can’t think of anyone better than producer Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey to bring to television The Bible. The Holy Bible is the greatest book ever written, for in its pages God Himself speaks to mankind. I’m thrilled that this coming Spring 2013 millions of people, many for the first-time, will discover through this 10-hour docudrama the history, power, inspiration and life changing message of the Bible. The Bible alone truly answers the greatest questions of life. I’ve seen video clips of Mark and Roma’s straightforward interpretation of some of these greatest stories in history as told in The Bible and the production is absolutely captivating, especially the telling of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This will easily do for the History Channel what Roots did for ABC-TV back in 1977.”
– Luis Palau, president of Luis Palau Ministries

 

(Content taken from The Bible at http://www.bibleseries.tv/ and Outreach at http://www.outreach.com/campaigns/the-bible-resources.aspx)

6 REASONS WHY YOUTH LEAVE THE CHURCH

EMPTY

Nearly three out of every five young Christians disconnect from their churches after the age of 15, but why? A new research study released by the Barna Group points to six different reasons as to why young people aren’t staying in their pews.

The results of this study come from the interviews of teenagers, young adults, youth pastors, senior pastors and parents that were taken over the course of five years.

First, the study says, churches appear to be overprotective. Nearly one-fourth of the 18- to 29-year-olds interviewed said “Christians demonize everything outside of the church” most of the time. Twenty-two percent also said the church ignores real-world problems and 18 percent said that their church was too concerned about the negative impact of movies, music and video games.

Many young adults also feel that their experience of Christianity was shallow. One-third of survey participants felt that “church is boring.” Twenty percent of those who attended as a teenager said that God appeared to be missing from their experience of church.

The study also found many young adults do not like the way churches appear to be against science. Over one-third of young adults said that “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” and one-fourth of them said that “Christianity is anti-science.”

Some also feel that churches are too simple or too judgmental when it comes to issues of sexuality. Seventeen percent of young Christians say they’ve “made mistakes and feel judged in church because of them.” Two out of five young adult Catholics said that the church’s teachings on birth control and sex are “out of date.”

The fifth reason the study gives for such an exodus from churches is many young adults struggle with the exclusivity of Christianity. Twenty-nine percent of young Christians said “churches are afraid of the beliefs of other faiths” and feel they have to choose between their friends and their faith.

The last reason the study gives for young people leaving the church is they feel it is “unfriendly to those who doubt.” Over one-third of young adults said they feel like they can’t ask life’s most pressing questions in church and 23 percent said they had “significant intellectual doubts” about their faith.

David Kinnaman, Barna Group president and author of the book on these findings, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Church, said part of the problem may be that many churches are geared toward “traditional” young adults.

“But most young adults no longer follow the typical path of leaving home, getting and education, finding a job, getting married and having kids – all before the age of 30,” he said. “These life events are being delayed, reordered, and sometimes pushed completely off the radar among today’s young adults.”

The Barna Update that highlights this study also says that today’s young adults are heavily influenced by the major social, spiritual and technological changes that have occurred in the last quarter century.

(Article taken from Christian Today Australia  :  http://au.christiantoday.com/article/new-research-6-reasons-why-youth-leave-the-church/12112.htm)

THE TRUTH ABOUT SPEAKING IN TONGUE

tongue

Manifestation of our Gift, the Holy Spirit, to be clothed with Power from On High.

The Greek word is Glosselaleo; the direct translation literally meaning, “language-speaking”. Tongue is another word for language. So speaking in tongues means speaking in a language that you don’t know what it means.

Acts 1:8 “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

We have come a long way holding fast to our faith and knowing deep within us that when we speak in tongues we are not purposefully forming a language to dramatize our believes, as many have claimed.  The video clip below shows how Science proves what the Christians have claimed all along.

Why Speak in Tongue?

Speaking in tongues is biblical and a promise from God.

Mark 16:17: “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;”

Acts 1:4-5: “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Speaking in tongues is the external, tangible evidence in the senses realm, that the internal, intangible gift of Holy Spirit is inside you.

Tongues came from God.

Luke 24:49: “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Acts 2:1-4: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”

Benefits of Speaking in Tongue.

1.    Many times we know we need to pray for someone or something but do not know what to pray.  When we speak in tongues, the Holy Spirit who knows all thing help us to pray.   Romans 8:26: “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;”

2.    Tongues takes over what words cannot express in our attitude towards God in worship.  1 Corinthians 14:15:  “What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.”

3.  We can thank God and bless Him in the spirit even when times are difficult for us. 1 Corinthians 14:16-17: “Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying?”

4.    When we speak in tongues, our spirit, which is always God-conscious, prays instead of our mind which is always easily distracted. 1 Corinthians 14:14: “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.”

5.    We edify ourselves.  1 Corinthians 14:4: “One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.”

6.    We build ourselves up in faith.  Jude 20: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,”

7.    The church may be edify if our tongues are interpreted.  1 Corinthians 14:5: “Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.”

8.    Tongues is a sign to the unbelievers.  1 Corinthians 14:22: “So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe.”

9.    Tongues is a sign of power received from God. Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Is Speaking in Tongue a Possession?

NO, since in the bible we were told we have control over when and where we choose to speak in tongues.   1 Corinthians 14:15:  “What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.”

How often Should we Speak in Tongue?

As often as possible.  Apostle Paul instructed the Corinthian church regarding speaking in tongue.  He himself spoke in tongues very often, so much so he is very confident that none in the Corinthian church have spoken in tongues more than him.  Some bible version even says he spoke in tongues more than all of them added together”.  1 Corinthians 14:18:  “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all;”

Is Speaking in Tongue the evidence of the Holy Spirit?

Acts 19:6: “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.”

Acts 10:44-47 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?””

Acts 8:17:  “Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.”

Yes according to the above verses.  It often seems that whenever the Holy Spirit fell on the new believers, they will end up speaking in tongues.  However, there are also many occasions recorded in bible that it did not happen the same way.

Acts 2:41:  So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

Acts 4:4:  “But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.”

Acts 8:38-39: “And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.”

So the claim that if a believer do not speak in tongues, then he/she may not have received the Holy Spirit is wrong and not biblical.  By faith we know the moment we believe we received the Holy Spirit.  We must understand that speaking in tongues will not get us saved, only believing in Jesus Christ, who saves us from our sins.

Why is There an Absent of Evidence?

1.    By Choice 1 Corinthians 14:19: “however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.”  We make the choice when or where we speak in tongues, or not at all.  Speaking in tongues is not a public demonstration of spiritual levels but an inward expression of our intimacy with God.

2.    Self Conscious.  When we are too conscious of ourselves we often become tongue-tied.  We are worried what others may think of us or what if we messed up. Matthew 16:24-25:  “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Self-consciousness is not God-consciousness.  God doesn’t want us focused on ourselves, He wants us to be focused on Him! It’s when we die to our flesh, that the life we’re living becomes the life He lives through us

3.    Lack of faith.  The main reason why so many Christians struggle with a lack of faith is because we follow our perceptions of what is true rather than what we know to be true by faith.  We are simply unwilling to do something we have never done before because we are afraid of the unknown, at least our own unknown.  2 Corinthians 5:7: “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”  Hebrews 11:6: ” And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  If we are able to see the truth; understand its importance and know what needs to be done but still we are stagnated, then we are living in fear.  Fear is living in a constant state of faithlessness.

Different Type of Tongues in the Bible

1.    An unknown tongue unto God. 1 Corinthians 14:2: “For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.”  This type of tongues edify oneself and build that person up in spiritual walk with the Lord.

2.    A known tongue that is a sign to unbelievers.  1 Corinthians 14:22: “So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe.”  Acts 2:6: ” And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.”  This is usually a tongue recognizable to the unbelievers, a foreign earth language.

3.    A tongue that is understood through interpretation and edifies the church. 1 Corinthians 14:5: “Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.”  This is the type of tongues God gave to an individual for the church so that when another interpret it it give edification to the church.  That also means that when God gave the utterance for this type of tongues He will also give the interpretation through another or the same person.

How to Start Speaking in Tongue?

1.    You must be born again. Romans 10:9-10: “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

2.    You must have a desire for it and pray.  Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”  John 14:13: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

3.    You are in control.  1 Corinthians 14:15:  “What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.”

4.    Remember you cannot do it wrong.  Well, there is one way to fail: When it comes to speaking in tongues, there is only one way to fail… and that is not to speak.

5.    Do not wait for a sign or right feelings, it may never come.

6.    When you start to speak, it is like you switched on the switch and automatically electricity will flow.  Nothing will flow as long as you do not switch on the switch.

7.    Practice and do it as often as we can.

HOW TO FORGIVE EVEN WHEN IT IS DIFFICULT?

human-brain-470x282We have probably heard the teachings on topic of Forgiveness numerous times. So we are not ignorant regarding the importance of forgiving another and some of us have been living a lifestyle of forgiveness as a Christian. We are probably familiar with the numerous verses in the Bible that talks about forgiveness. Verses like

Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Mark 11:25 – Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.

Forgiveness set us free. It is also an act of obedience, because the Bible tells us to forgive. Many even prayed to God for help to forgive others who have sinned against them. Whatever is our conviction about forgiveness, we must understand that forgiveness is not a sickness or a condition. Forgiveness is a choice. It is a choice that we make with our free will, a gift from God. Some believers have to keep making the same choice over and over again over the same person and same incident. A sign that unforgiveness is still residing in us.

We have all heard the advice to “give it time” to heal and we will be able to forgive. However, as much as there is a chance that we may find it easier to forgive as time goes passed, there is also an equal chance that the unforgiveness builds up inside us and eventually turned into bitterness. So the hypothesis of “Time is the best medicine” does not apply to every situation.

Let us then try to explore what unforgiveness does to us and how, from a practical standpoint, we can start to forgive even when it is too hard.

THE EFFECT OF UNFORIVENESS

1.     Medical study showed that Unforgiveness causes our body to produce a chemical Cortisol. Cortisol is also known as a fuel for stress. Stress lower our immunity system and medical research suggests that up to 90 percent of all illness and disease is stress-related.

2.     Over a period of time, Cortisol will cause our brain to shrink causing severe headaches and many neurological problems including strokes and ALS. A shrunk brain will become slower affecting our ability to reason and memory.

3.     Unforgiveness is a selfish choice. An unforgiving person will have difficulty showing kindness and genuine care. They are incapable of giving unconditional love therefore they often have problem maintaining healthy relationship. Their insecurities often make them very possessive and often need the security of sex to feel safe in a relationship. If they have any relationship at all it is usually built upon hypocrisy.

4.     Unforgiveness is of the flesh. It is a self-centered
attitude that makes us feel that others do not care about us and are avoiding us. Therefore we often feel lonely, being sidelined or abandoned. This often led to unreasonable demands in relationship causing stress in friendship.

5.     An unforgiving person slips into depression and anxiety constantly.

6.     Unforgiveness and stress cause skin problems making us age faster and develop sicknesses easier.

HOW TO FORGIVE

There are 2 keys that could help us to forgive someone, even when it is hard.

Key 1 : Dying to self
Neuropsychological research tells us that unforgiveness involve 3 parts.

  1.   An expanded sense of self.
  2.   Self preservation – Sensitive to the behavior of others.
  3.   Memory of the event in order to link that injury to the offending person.

The sense of self is located in the area of the Limbic system that deals with our emotions. That is why unforgiveness always involve strong emotions. The first key in forgiveness is dealing with or taking away the “self” part reducing the emotional attachment to the event, making it an experience and memory only. After that, even when we remembered the event, it will not arouse the emotions that were involved, which is an accurate assessment of forgiveness.

Therefore, if we want to forgive someone, take ourselves out of the picture. Sometimes whatever happened was not personal. It is not always about us. We call this attitude “dying to self”.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Key 2 : Empathy
Neuroscientists now know the part of our brain that deal with forgiveness. This part is situated near to another part of the brain that deals with Empathy. Studies shown that when the Empathy part of the brain is active, it affects the surrounding portions of the brain, including the part that deals with forgiveness.

Empathy is the “identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives.” Sympathy has a connotation of intellectual understanding and pity while empathy implies deeply personal identification on an emotional level. Compassion is the action side of empathy. We feel empathy and show compassion.

Hebrews 2:17-18 : Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

So the 2 keys of forgiveness are dying to self and empathy. It is amazing that the Word of God although written at least 2000 years ago talks about this 2 keys repeatedly. It further proves the greatest of God and His unsearchable wisdom and power.


STEPS TO FORGIVENESS

There are 5 steps to forgiveness.

Step 1: ACCEPT
James 4:6 – But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

First we have to accept the fact that we have been hurt. It could be our closest friend or someone we looked up to, it could be anyone. Then we also have to accept the fact that we have tried but are still unable to forgive. We have to stop lying to ourselves that everything is okay. Finally we must understand that we need to deal with that unforgiveness.

Step 2: KNOWING
John 8:32 – and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

Know that Forgiveness is far greater than the need to be right. Unforgiveness will kill us both physically and spiritually. Our unforgiveness will hurt people around us especially those we care and love most.

Step 3: STOP RE-TELLING
Proverbs 10:19 – When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.

The more we tell the harder to forgive due to PRIDE. When we tell we are reliving the incident again and again, the hurts will get deeper and deeper. It pollutes the thoughts of those we told creating hindrances to their Christian walk. If you have to tell, change the way the story is told to promote reconciliation.

Step 4 : GET OUT QUICK
Isaiah 43:18-19
“Do not call to mind the former things, r ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new …. I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

ACCEPT that there were legitimate reason(s) that drove the other person behaviour. Use the 2 keys of forgiveness mentioned above, dying to self and empathy. We must also ACCEPT that there were many reasons why we behaved that way. It matters how we think and act from this moment onwards. The past is over. It cannot be changed. Only the future can. We determine our future.

Step 5 : ACTS OF LOVE
Romans 12:18 – If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men

Actions that follow the decision to forgive helps to heal and rebuild what has been damaged. It helps in our forgiveness process and gives us the drive to move forward. In performing the acts of love remember always not to procrastinate be the first one who initiate communication. If you are the transgressor, apologize and ask forgiveness and for guidance in making amends. Yes making amends, it really helps.

If an apology was offered be ready to accept the apology, and offer forgiveness.
If nothing seemed to be happening in a meeting apologize using “If I have sin against you ……”.

Repeat step 1 to 5 if the result is not ideally what you hope to achieve.

In conclusion, forgiveness is beneficial to us. Unforgiveness can cause serious health issues to us affect our immune system, intelligence and the ability to relate to one another. There 2 main keys in a forgiveness process. First involve the removing of self in the whole matter which actually mean dying to self and the other is empathy, putting ourselves into the offender’s shoe. Forgiveness is a process. The choice of forgiving someone is only the beginning. Constant acts of love help us to put things in prospective and help us to heal and move forward together. Finally, before we decide to do anything, the bible says in Philippines 4:6 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Always pray before we decide to do anything and the grace of God will accompany us.