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God's Not Mad at You
“Forgive? How in the world do I do that?”

“Forgive? How in the world do I do that?”

AUGUST 28, 2020

/ Programs / Key Life / “Forgive? How in the world do I do that?”

Steve Brown:
Forgive? How in the world do I do that? We’ll tell you on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. Life’s hard for everyone. So grace is for all of us. But there is a lot of confusion about how grace applies to real life. So here’s seminary professor and author, Steve Brown and Pete Alwinson to answer your questions.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. Hi Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey man. How you doing?

Steve Brown:
I’m doing really good.

Pete Alwinson:
Good, good. You seem like it.

Steve Brown:
I am man. You know? I think I was telling you earlier, but we have a granddaughter who got this virus thing, this COVID-19.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And she’s fine.

Pete Alwinson:
She’s fine.

Steve Brown:
Well it’s been like a mild cold, you know, she’s young, she’s a beginning college student and they’ve quarantined her in her room, in the house. And they’re cooking a lot of flounder and pancakes. Cause that’s all they can slide under the door. But her father’s a physician and he feels that they may all end up being quarantined, but that he’s not really worried because, boy, you talk about a lot of prayer though. That’s a concern,

Pete Alwinson:
I can imagine. Yeah.

Steve Brown:
these are crazy times.

Pete Alwinson:
I know. I know. Well, that’s good.

Steve Brown:
How about Forge? Are you finding that more people are coming or less.

Pete Alwinson:
They’re starting to come back, we’ve opened two of our three sites and so we’re seeing more people come out. I think we need to come back.

Steve Brown:
I do too. Um, I think businesses, I mean, we can, we can do this forever

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And we’ll kill off a lot of important things and we gotta be careful.

Pete Alwinson:
Our government just needs to listen to both of us. Don’t they?

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
Well.

Steve Brown:
If they give us the power, we could fix this.

Pete Alwinson:
[Laughing]

Steve Brown:
That’s Pete Alwinson, listen, go to ForgeBibleStudy.com. And if you’re one of the two or three people in America who haven’t read Like Father, Like Son, get that book. You can get it at Key Life, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, wherever really good books are sold. It’s a life change changing book. And Pete comes in as you know, on Fridays and we answer questions and we’ve been doing that for years and we honestly mean it, when we say we take you seriously, when you ask questions. You can send your question to

Key Life Network, P.O. Box 85000…I’ve only been doing this for 18,000 years, and I can’t get the address right. It’s

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida, 32794

If you live in Canada, it’s

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Or you can e-mail us at Steve@keylife.org. And just a reminder, if you can help us financially, please do. If you can’t or you’re not called to, we understand, but I promise if you help us, we’ll be as faithful with your gift, as you were in giving it. Pete, why don’t you lead us in prayer and we’ll get to some of these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
All right. We got, we got a lot to talk about when it comes to forgiveness, so

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
I’ll pray quick. Father, thank you that as we come into your presence right now, at the end of the week, we come as your people who remember that you are and have always been in charge. Thank you that you’re gracious and merciful. And that you saw fit to find a way to reconcile us to yourself. And so we’re thankful for the forgiveness that we have of our sins past, present, and future, in Jesus and in his word. Lord right now, we just pause, cause we don’t thank you enough for that. Thank you that you don’t hold all that against us and help us to understand more about forgiveness every day of our life, as tough as it is. And so we come to you and we honor you, and we pray that your gospel would be preached this weekend. That are our pastors and priests and teachers and leaders and worship directors, Sunday school teachers would just bring us Jesus and that as we focus upon him and the truth of the gospel, we would be set free and freer and freer, every week. And so we honor you now. Give you this time of Q & A. I thank you for Steve and Jeremy, our production team, all those that do things behind the scenes that nobody ever sees. And we pray that you would bless your name through Key Life. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Steve Brown:
Amen. Uh, let’s go to our phone lines.

Caller 1:
Um, my question is, uh, about forgiveness. Um, how do you forgive someone who feels they’ve done nothing wrong to be forgiven for? Um, it’s troubling my heart and I need some comfort in that. Thank you. Have a blessed day. Bye.

Steve Brown:
Me too. Good question. I think, and I was telling you earlier, you don’t have any wiggle room.

You have to forgive the fact that they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. And then you gotta forgive the original thing they did wrong that they don’t even know about or will not admit. And I, and I want to say, well, just forgive them. That’s it, it doesn’t work that way. Does it?

Pete Alwinson:
No. No good observation, Dr. Brown. That’s why you’re the doctor. No, that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s really, really true. And that’s what makes us so much more difficult than you can imagine. Cause there’s two aspects of that.

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
I think, I think, um, How do we forgive? I think first of all, the Bible does command us to forgive, right?

Steve Brown:
Oh, we don’t have any options.

Pete Alwinson:
We don’t have any options. In the body of Christ, we have to forgive. And I think we have to forgive, whether someone comes and asks for forgiveness or not. Now I know there’s debate about that, so some of our theologian friends that we know. Uh, you used to say one who’s with the Lord now, he’s got this straightened out now, I think. But, uh, uh, but, but he said you don’t have to forgive unless they ask for forgiveness.

Steve Brown:
That’s not true.

Pete Alwinson:
I don’t believe it.

Steve Brown:
That’s just not true.

Pete Alwinson:
Right.

Steve Brown:
You know, there’s no provision, or prerequisite for forgiveness.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
You’re just to forget, how do you forgive?

Pete Alwinson:
Well, I think so. So I think it’s a process and I think, um, I think we misunderstand scripture when, when we think of it as a point in time, one time activity type of thing.

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
Because pain doesn’t work that way.

Steve Brown:
No.

Pete Alwinson:
And offense doesn’t work that way. So for me, when I have to forgive. It’s like, I’ve got to first process the pain with the Lord. Usually that’s in journal or, you know, talking to him or with a friend, talking to you. I’m upset. I’m hurt what’s and process that pain. What do I really have to do? And then it’s a process, Lord. I don’t want to forgive.

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
So help me to want to forgive and then you get a little bit closer to it and then Lord help me forgive. And then Lord, I forgive and then it comes back.

Steve Brown:
It comes back to bite you when you thought it was dead.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. The snake is still there.

Steve Brown:
Oh man. You know, I’ve shared this before, but, and I do it simply because it works for me and God uses it. I have and I kid about it, but I have a hit list on my prayer list of people that really did bad things to me. And I tell God how I feel about them.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
You gotta be honest when you’re talking to God. Like this lady who called this person doesn’t even admit they did anything wrong.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
You ought to say, God, she, or he ticks me off. And I wish you’d give them the hives,

Pete Alwinson:
Yup.

Steve Brown:
but I can’t pray that because you won’t let me.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
So by faith, I forgive them, bless them and make this a contract, before you, regardless of my feelings, and then begin to conform my heart to the contract. And Pete that works.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
I mean that,

Pete Alwinson:
That’s good.

Steve Brown:
I can’t tell you the number of times, and I can’t take any credit for it. I mean, it was God, God begins to work. He doesn’t require that you be forgiving of everything, but that you be in the process of forgiving.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. That’s the point. I like that. And that’s the point, be in the process of it. And that’s the very thing that we don’t want to do when it comes to forgiveness, because that desire for revenge or that righteous indignation that we feel, feels good and

Steve Brown:
Yeah, it does.

Pete Alwinson:
it’s healing for a short period of time, but ultimately it turns on you, it’s poison.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. It’s called a root of bitterness.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. A root of bitterness.

Steve Brown:
And it will kill you.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s exactly right. Is it Peter or James that says the root of bitterness, creeps up and destroys everyday.

Steve Brown:
It does. You know, There’s one other thing that needs to be said about this. You know, there are people listening right now and say, I don’t know what the problem is. I forgive easily,

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
that’s cause nothing really bad’s really happened to you.

Pete Alwinson:
[Laughing]

Steve Brown:
Forgiveness is difficult and the process is long in direct correlation to how big the sin against you was. You know, somebody who doesn’t speak to me. I can forgive that.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. Yeah.

Steve Brown:
I mean, I can forgive it in a second. I don’t have problem with that. But if they start gossiping about me, that’s harder.

Pete Alwinson:
Right.

Steve Brown:
If they steal money from me, that’s even harder. If they turn people against me, that’s even harder.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
If they go public with their criticism, that’s almost impossible.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
So you got to,

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right

Steve Brown:
and God understands that.

Pete Alwinson:
He does, and there’s a temperamental thing to this too. And part of the temperamental thing is that different temperament types deal with offenses

Steve Brown:
True.

Pete Alwinson:
in life differently, like you and I, I don’t think, um, are as easily offended as some other temperament types that I know.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. I think that’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
And we’ve been in a public position for so long,

Steve Brown:
Yes.

Pete Alwinson:
that if you don’t get a thicker skin by grace

Steve Brown:
You’ll die.

Pete Alwinson:
You’ll die. You can’t stay in ministry and have a thin skin. And Chuck Swindoll used to say,

We need a thick skin and a soft heart, but most of us have a thin skin and a tough heart.

Steve Brown:
Oh, that’s a good statement.

Pete Alwinson:
Isn’t that great?

Steve Brown:
That’s a great statement.

at the beginning of the 21st century, I think we live in an outraged culture. Everybody is getting ticked about something.

Steve Brown:
I know. And the self righteousness and the victimology

Pete Alwinson:
Yup.

Steve Brown:
is addictive.

Pete Alwinson:
Yup.

Steve Brown:
They’re sisters,

Pete Alwinson:
Yup.

Steve Brown:
they’re ugly sisters.

Pete Alwinson:
[Laughing]

Steve Brown:
And if you start dating them, it’ll kill you.

Pete Alwinson:
It’ll kill you.

Steve Brown:
It really will.

Pete Alwinson:
You’re going to get a letter about that, but you know, that that’s, that’s, they’re so too easily offended. It’s, it’s so true. So we need to build kids. As we think of the next generation, we need to build children that have some gospel resiliency,

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
that their identity is as the deeply beloved redeemed sons and daughters of the most high God and not to take offense at everything. This is a contribution that Christians can make, to the world.

Steve Brown:
You know, a contribution churches could make is have a Sunday school class for the offended. You know, you could have a, you know, maybe you could get the asset out of the congregation and into one place. And have them meet regularly,

Pete Alwinson:
Sort of like a Jerry Springer Sunday school class.

Steve Brown:
You’d have to shut the doors in soundproof it for it to work. Sunday, school class for the offended. And you know, there are occasions when I would join it.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
So I’m not just the one rocks at other people.

Pete Alwinson:
No. We all are offended. I really appreciate the tenderness of this sister who mentioned this on this call, it’s rough. It’s a tough place to be.

Steve Brown:
It really is, but again, I wish he’d given us on out, but he doesn’t.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
That really makes me angry. And I tell him so.

Pete Alwinson:
So make a contract. And take it by faith.

Steve Brown:
That’s right. And guys we’re out of here. But before we go, one other thing that must be said. Key Life is a listener supported production Key Life Network.

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