The Contract to Forgive and Appreciate
by Bob Hartley
‘For-Giving' People Value
I had a vision where God told me:
“You need to understand a few things about love and forgiveness. It has never been defined properly. Number one, the definition you have known for forgiveness is letting people go. It is letting people go of their debts toward you. Forgive. Break down that word. You are “for” somebody, and you are “giving” them something. It is “for-giving” them value. It is appreciation. Not just letting them go and they are a non-entity to you anymore. That is called apathy. Apathy is having no regard for them after that. No, you are giving them something. What are you giving them? You are giving them value. Because they are a human being, they are worth it, because they are created in my image and likeness. First, you have to have the proper definition. Then, that releases that fiery hot love. The greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. Who are the people that you have had to forgive? At the end of this, we are going to make a contract together.”
Mark 11:25 Contract
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you, your trespasses.”
It was John 11 where Jesus greatly valued Lazarus.
“I’ll go and die for My friend Lazarus.”
They call him “Doubting Thomas,” but he turned out to be the apostle of love in India. He grew into the best part of himself. His real nature was this awesome lover.
When Jesus was going to go through Judea, Thomas says, “They tried to stone you when you went through Judea. They can do it again. They can really kill you.”
“I am going anyhow. This is My friend.”
It wasn’t a question. Jesus had this value. His eyes looked over the hill to where Lazarus was. Thomas and the others could see that kind of love that would lay His life down for a friend. Thomas said, “Let us go and die with Him also.”
The commentators said that he was “Doubting Thomas.” Like, “Well, we might as well go die with Him.” I think it was the exact opposite. I believe he got a revelation of the highest level of love, appreciative love, saw those appreciative eyes, and said, “I could die for that!”
My dad would treat the inner-city kids like diamonds. They were throw aways to others. I could remember walking away saying, “I could die for that, the way my dad looked at those children. If I could have that in my life…”
Signing a Contract to Forgive & Appreciate
Jesus wanted me to sign a contract. He would give me a number of scriptures about forgiveness.
The Best Leaders are Transformed through Forgiveness
“The best leaders transform themselves through this number one way through forgiveness.”
Jesus showed me numbers of people that were stuck ankle deep, waist deep in the mire and mud of unforgiveness. Their forgiveness had been targeted at the wrong places. Their deepest need in their own life was their need to be forgiven and to forgive, but they couldn’t open up their hearts for that to happen. David said, “Finally, when I opened up my heart, You healed me and made me perfect. You got the unforgiveness out. You made me white as snow” (2 Sam. 22:25-35). It was able to heal David’s heart. When he held onto it, it became rottenness in his bones.
The best leaders transform themselves through forgiveness. Forward looking agile leaders is what they become with forgiveness.
Until You have to Do It
“Forgiveness is wondrous, beautiful, brimming with love, joy, and hope until you have to do it. Then, it’s hard as heck. Go easy on yourself with forgiveness. It is a constant process.”
By that one situation you grow in forgiveness. I thought it was once and done.
“Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord.” – Jeremiah 31:20
Jeremiah 31:20 – “Ephraim was my dear son, but I got angry with him often. I had to continually keep forgiving.”
You forgive once, and it is done. You can let them go and appreciate them. There is no gall of bitterness. All I want is their best.
There are other situations where God knows it is a process. Things have to change in you. He knows it is touching a bigger cord. There are roots in me that will have to change for me to fully engage in that person. Forgiveness does not mean you don’t feel anger when you see the person. There are burdens we put on ourselves sometimes. We all want to feel free.
“First you need vertical forgiveness. Forgive Me.” He said, “You have to forgive Me because you blame Me for the way you were made.”
There are things I did not like about myself. I’ve been impatient with people and harsh. I never had anger or rage. Then, I did. I got self focused. I said, “Why did You make me this way?” I thought I would have had more character and ability to deal with these things differently.
Forgiving My Lack of Trust
God forgave me for my lack of trust that He made me rightly and He could see me through this. He is pointing at me. He was pointing at what He wants to take me deep in. Forgiving my lack of trust. Forgiving my spiritual children.
Forgiveness through Community
You will be forgiven through the community of believers.
“Forgive your sins. Forgive the Church. Know you will be forgiven through community.”
It was Acts 9:26-38. That’s where they reinstate John Mark. It was through the community of believers. He had denied the Lord three times. They reinstated him. They forgave him and brought him back in. Barnabus fought for him the whole way.