Ephesians 4:32 (HCSB) And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
I realize that it has almost a month since I have posted a blog. I started with a discussion on Rejection in my last offering and I want to conclude today with how we are to deal with rejection. First let me summarize part one of this principle of Acceptance vs. Rejection. I believe from a spiritual standpoint that most depression is caused by rejection. That rejection can be either real or perceived. Either way, the rejection always hurts the one that feels it. Rejection begins a spiraling fall toward depression. There are several steps on this staircase but the bottom is always depression. I hope that you will read the remainder of that blog from two weeks ago to fill in the steps of the process.
Let me ask you a couple of questions. What do our doctors do when we begin to talk about depression? Most doctors, if not all of them, will prescribe some form of medication to help our moods. There are many different medications that have the specific job of helping with depression. There are even new medications to help some of the older medications to work more effectively. http://www.abilify.com is a website that even gives the names of the medications Abilify works with. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article3434486.ece and http://www.helpguide.org/mental/medications_depression.htm are two articles that indicate studies that antidepressants are not always effective to treat depression. Now again, I am neither a doctor nor a clinical psychologist. I am a pastoral counselor. I want to help people experience relief from their depression from a biblical standpoint. If you are on any medication, please do not quit it without talking to your doctor first. I thank God for the medication that is out there. I want you to know that I believe that medication is a gift from God. But I want to emphasize that it is only a tool to help mask the hurt or the symptoms of the depression. It is not a cure.
Since the medication that is prescribed is not a cure, I want to offer a solution to the hurt that can lead to depression. Forgiveness. Now I know that might sound like a simple conclusion on the surface, but do we truly understand the biblical view of forgiveness. When we understand that, we will be well on our way to experiencing freedom from that rejection.
Forgiveness needs to be understood.
1. It is not for-getting.
2. You don’t have to feel good about the offender.
3. You should not wait till you feel like forgiving.
4. Two Parts of Forgiveness:
“Whatever your situation, whatever has happened in your past, remember that you are the loser if you do not deal with an unforgiving spirit. And the people around you suffer, too. You have within you the power to forgive, to be healed, and to be set free to live your life to the fullest.” Charles Stanley
God’s Example of Forgiveness
- God’s love has no limits.
- God’s love is patient.
- God is eager to express His love.
- God’s love is focused on the sinner, not the sin.
- God receives the sinner back into fellowship joyfully.
What happens when we don’t forgive
- We get hurt.
- We become confused.
- We look for detours.
- We dig a hole.
- We deny it.
- We become defeated.
- We become discouraged or depressed.
Three Ways to Know We have Forgiven
- Our negative feelings will disappear.
- We will find it much easier to accept the people who have hurt us w/o feeling the need to change them.
- Our concern about the needs of the other individuals will outweigh our concerns about what they did to us.
“Forgiveness is a process that can be painful and at times seem unending. Whatever our pain, whatever our situation, we cannot afford to hold on to an unforgiving spirit another day. We must get involved w/ the process of forgiving others and find out what it means to be really free. If we will persevere and keep our eyes on the One who forgave us, it will be a liberating force like nothing else we have ever experienced.” (Charles Stanley, Gift of Forgiveness, pg. 133)
To summarize the above, in order to truly forgive others, we have to accept the pain that has been caused by the rejection or the offense. Then we have to decide what to do with that pain. We can either hold on to it or we can let it go. If we forgive, we let it go. We do not hold the other person captive because of that offense. We learn to see the person through the eyes of God, whom separates the sinner from his sin with His perfect love. Only through the gift of God’s forgiveness can we forgive others.
I believe that once we learn to forgive others and rely on God’s acceptance, we have a totally different outlook on life. We are able to see beyond the clouds of our rejection and see the clearing that God’s light and love provides.
One final thought on this subject I would like to offer you. Many people who are on medication have no outlet for the emotions. They are relying on the medication to do a miracle, but they can’t relate their feelings to anyone. That is where counseling comes into play. Our modern mental health philosophy in many circles is just to medicate. We also need to be able to learn to express ourselves in productive ways. This is where my profession of a pastoral counselor comes into play. I am not advertising me per se…well maybe I am, but I am encouraging you to find someone you can talk to that will help you have a biblical perspective of your struggles.
Matthew 6:14-15 (HCSB) 14 “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 15 But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.