World-renowned speaker and author Joyce Meyer graces the cover of Gospel Today’s July/August 2012 issue. We sat with her to discuss her latest book, Do Yourself A Favor… Forgive in an effort to reveal God’s truth about forgiveness and grace.
In the article, Meyer shares about the perils of holding on to anger and resentment, as well as the devastation that bitterness can lead to. She combats the societal paradigm of holding grudges and offers practical tips on how to walk in forgiveness, as a lifestyle. Make sure you grab a copy to see all that she shared!
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We had such a lengthy discussion on the topic that we couldn’t fit it all into the magazine. Check out these additional issues that we had to bring to the web!
GT: At one point in your teaching on forgiveness, you suggested buying someone a gift instead of allowing anger to begin and build up. What are some other practical tips for stopping offenses, hurt and anger before they even pop up?
Meyer: It\’s very important that we form a habit of being quick to forgive because there are usually opportunities to be offended that come along every day. But even though we may be caught off guard by them, God is never surprised when they happen. And He can help us be prepared to respond the right way when they happen.
Our part in this is to make sure our hearts are right with God, to spend time with Him every day, and to study the Word on a regular basis. We have to renew our minds daily with the truth of God\’s Word. Romans 12:2 says that we are transformed to become like Christ by the renewing of our minds.
I want to go back to Proverbs 4:23, which talks about keeping and guarding our hearts with all vigilance. If we will do this through our relationship with Christ and by spending time in the Word, we will be able to forgive quickly when offenses come.
One thing I learned a long time ago was that God has never asked me to give away anything that He doesn\’t first give to me. He gives me mercy, and then He asks me to let it flow through me to other people who aren\’t perfect, just like I\’m not perfect. As I rely on the power of the Holy Spirit inside me to be merciful and gracious with others, I can forgive and love them as Jesus would do.
GT: What should be the Christian\’s perspective on the common societal mindset â€œI\’ll forgive, but I\’ll never forgetâ€? Is that a good practice for children of God?
Meyer: There are some hurts that we experience that can be forgiven but we won\’t forget them. I have forgiven my father for the years of sexual, emotional and verbal abuse that he put me through, but I haven\’t forgotten everything he did to me. Because I have forgiven him, I can share my testimony to help other people find the healing and restoration they need.
If you\’re holding on to an offense, then you haven\’t forgiven the person who hurt you. Unforgiveness finds excuses to talk about what people have done to us, and we\’ll tell anyone who will listen. There\’s a difference between sharing your testimony to help someone and talking about what\’s been done to you because you are angry about it.
The most important thing is to decide that you will not live an angry life. If you are firm in your decision, the problems you are having with anger will get worked out by God\’s grace in your life. Because once we admit our anger and ask God for help, He will pour out more of His love in our hearts and give us a greater abundance of His peace and joy!
Joyce Meyer’s latest book, Do Yourself A Favor… Forgive, is available in stores and online now!