Raising the Bar On Forgiveness

Saying a prayer for forgiveness of sins and healing is only the beginning.

James Greer
Jul 22, 2018    25m
In this sermon Pastor Greer discusses how to raise the bar on forgiveness. Saying a prayer for forgiveness of sins and healing is only the first part of the process. The next step is for you to move forward in faith instead of getting stuck praying for forgiveness, or the ability to forgive, over and over. Moving forward in forgiveness, while not forgetting the lessons learned, can lead to great emotional freedom. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: 00:00 But today, the message is on how to raise the bar on forgiveness.

James Greer: 00:05 Now you say, "Well, you know, there's a lot of messages on forgiveness."

James Greer: 00:09 But forgiveness today, this is going to be learning that, hey, we can forgive, but sometimes we don't need to forgive and you know, and so what happens is every time God has a truth, Satan tries to distort the truth. God will mean it for our good and Satan will to try to use it for our evil. Even something like today when I'm telling you about God's goodness and God's forgiveness is great. Amen?

James Greer: 00:34 But when we go say, Well, you know, how about the forgiveness?"

James Greer: 00:37 Well, Satan will try to make (not the forgiveness, but forgetting it), he'll try to bring it up to bring guilt, and God tries to bring it up to where we can have victory. And I'll show you how to do that here in a little while because there's two basic things I want you to learn today. You Ready?

James Greer: 00:52 One, that forgiving does not always mean forgetting. And it's so important and there's a big difference between regrets and guilt. Regrets is we have regrets, we did something, or somebody did something and we remember it where it doesn't happen to us again. Guilt should come only if God's convicted you to confess your sins and you haven’t done it. So, guilt comes as a result of sin, but it stays with you as a result of not confessing your sin. In other words, if you've confessed your sin and forsaken sin and you have guilt, see that came from the devil. If you confess your sin and God has forgiven you and you have regrets, that's where you don't repeat the sin [unintelligible]. So, that's one thing that we're going to learn today. The other thing is we're going to learn that that Jesus came not only to set us free (you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free), but it also says later on, and Jesus sets you free. You are free indeed.

James Greer: 01:53 We want you not only to be free, but we want you to be free indeed. I can give you an illustration. Fantastic. I went to the doctor Friday and he's was going to take this picc line out. Now I have to tell you I am a wuss. That's all I can tell you. Well, I must say...[unintelligible].

James Greer: 02:14 So I go there and I said, "Is this going to hurt?" I said, “Could you give me something to kind of relax me?"

James Greer: 02:17 He said, "Oh, it's not going to hurt like putting it in."

James Greer: 02:20 I said, "That's what they said too."

James Greer: 02:24 So he says, "Just look the other way and take a deep breath."

James Greer: 02:28 So I looked away and took a deep breath, and I can feel him fooling around with it.

James Greer: 02:28 And then he said, "Now take another deep breath." And I feel him fooling around.

James Greer: 02:28 Then he said, "Take another deep breath."

James Greer: 02:28 I said, "Okay."

James Greer: 02:28 He said, "Now how do you feel?"

James Greer: 02:28 I said, "Free".

James Greer: 02:28 He said, "I already got it."

James Greer: 02:28 I said, "Praise God."

James Greer: 02:41 Amen. Now what I really felt like? I really felt like this, well the last six weeks that I’ve been preaching, I've had this picc line in. I've had this thing here and I'm taking an IV, but I'm still free. I'm coming to church. I'm preaching, but I know when that sucker took that out, I am free indeed.

James Greer: 02:54 I wanted to go outside in front of the Freeman Clinic and click say, "Hey praise God!” I know what it's like to be free. So, you can be free but not free indeed.

James Greer: 03:05 You can forgive, but you don't always need to forget and I want you to learn that you can. You can forgive, but don't forget. And, and, and it's not just in daily life. It's in the principles of life. For instance, one time I was coming to church and I was in a little hurry. I turned down Edgewood and the police were sitting there, and they wanted to talk to me for a minute.

James Greer: 03:29 They said, "I think you were speeding."

James Greer: 03:29 I said, "Yes sir."

James Greer: 03:33 Always honor them because they are ordained by God. They really are.

James Greer: 03:35 And so I said, "Yes sir. I was." And I said, "Could you give me my ticket where I could go on?” I said, "There's two reasons. You know, one, you know I'm sorry I got a ticket. And two, I don't want the people from church to come by and me be sitting here getting a ticket."

James Greer: 03:54 Amen? And so he obliged me. Now, wouldn't it be crazy for me to come the next Sunday and come do the same thing? Amen. So see, I forgave me, and I forgave him. But it would be crazy for me to come and do the same thing again. So what I did, I didn't forget it. I remembered it and I regretted it where I don't do the same thing, and it can happen with almost anything.

James Greer: 04:11 It happens with Andrew, our little youth minister. I love him. Y’all love him. Amen. Y’all know what he does? He goes to school and then he gets down to about the last three weeks of college and now all of a sudden, he's got to cram day and night just to barely get through. See Andrew, he didn't want to forget that, right Andrew? [Unintelligible} be a little more excited. So when Andrew goes to school this year, he's not gonna forget what he did. He's going to hit it right off the bat. He's gonna do good. Amen. Amen. Andrew?

James Greer: 04:49 So we've got Richie. I love Richie, Richie, Richie Man. On Wednesday nights, we've been preaching on why God allows suffering. God has rocked the house. Y’all want to be here this Wednesday night. We're going to kind of wrap it up. But Richie, he, he's, he's so sweet. He reminds me of Robert. They're just so sweet. I want them to be mean a little but where we can get along. I mean, can you be that sweet all the time? I don't know. But anyway, Richie is sweet. He's a good guy. You know, there was a time that Richie was on drugs. He really was. He was on drugs, but God has delivered him from that. Now he doesn't need to forget that. He needs to say God has forgiven him, and he has forgiven himself. But now he doesn't have guilt over that. He has regret to remind him not to do it again.

James Greer: 05:34 So you see there's a bright difference. You forgive. And there's a difference between guilt and regret. There's people, there's people get credit cards. Josh and Heather, when they got their credit card......

James Greer: 05:43 The first thing that young couples should not get is a credit card. So they got one, you know, and of course you get in debt and they finally paid it down and they finally got rid of that thing. They finally paid that credit card off. You know what would be stupid? To go out and get another credit card and do the same thing again, Amen? And so God says, that's alright. You forgive yourself. You forgive others. You forgive what you did, but don't go back and do the same thing.

James Greer: 06:05 Guilt is coming from conviction of a sin. Regret is coming where God can use what you've done, where you don't do it again. Amen? I know a guy, I just talked to him today. He's on his fifth marriage. He's a good guy. A year or two ago he said, "I'm just never going to marry again."

James Greer: 06:05 I mean, now all of a sudden I saw him and he said, "I'm married. I'm happy."

James Greer: 06:05 I said, "Oh yeah."

James Greer: 06:25 Now do you know what would be crazy about being married five times? He forgave himself. He forgave them but go into the numeric. You know what? You don't want to forget what caused you to have four more diverse divorces. You won't take what was bad and have it as regret, not guilt and let God [unintelligible] have the best marriage you've ever had. Amen? So you see the difference of what I'm talking about. It would be like when I went to the doctor, it was so exciting.

James Greer: 06:47 You know when, when I got the picc line out and I'm, rocking and rolling and he says, "Remember, you can't get hot and sweaty. You can't swim, can't stand too long and you can't pick up anything, and you've got to take your meds."

James Greer: 07:02 Hey, it would be crazy to go and do something that he told me not to do. I love the doctor. I love them three, but it's crazy to go back and do the things that they tell you not to. Some of y’all in relationships, some of this might be a past parent or plan or somebody and you know that y’all just keep having problems and keep having problems. And, you forgave them, and you know, but you think because you forgave them, you need to forget it. Now sometimes what you do is you forgive them, but you don't put yourself back in that same situation to hurt yourself again.

James Greer: 07:39 Well, we know the verse in 1 John 1:9 it says that if we confess our sins, He's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The psalmist said in Psalm 32:5 (I love this), it says this: when I acknowledged my sin, (first of all, I've sinned, you've sinned, we've all sinned). There's a great advantage of acknowledging your sin today. There's two great advantages I'll show you. One, if you acknowledge your sin and first off if you accept Christ, you go to Heaven. But second of all, when you're a Christian, it says, "I acknowledged my sins to you; I did not cover my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to you, Lord and you forgive the [what?] guilt of my sin." Sin breeds guilt. Confession brings freedom from your guilt. I mean, that's what we want. We don't want to live in guilt.

James Greer: 08:26 We will live in forgiveness. We want to have forgiveness, but we want to have regret. Acts 13 puts it this way: Brethrens, he's talking about brothers (that's me and you). Listen, in this man Jesus, there's forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who trusts in Him is freed from (what?) guilt. In other words God says, listen, there's a difference. I want to free you from your guilt but being free from a guilt does not mean forget your regrets. And that's what this is all about today, and then [unintelligible] talking about forgiveness, but having regrets, and then we're going to close it up after while on how to not only be free, but how to be free indeed. See, before I knew the truth about forgiveness, I always thought people said just forgive them and forget it. I couldn't do that. I 'd forgive them, but I just couldn't forget it.

James Greer: 09:14 So sometimes I just feel guilty. I'm just not the Christian [inaudible] other people. Other people just forget it and they forgive and forget it and they never think about it again. That just doesn't work for me. So sometimes I would forgive, but I couldn't forget and didn't know that that was biblically okay. Or I'd do the opposite. I'd say, well you know, they say you're a Christian, just forgive and forget, and so I would forgive and try to act like I forgot and then not allow the same hurt to come back and hurt me again. So you gotta really understand the biblical forgiveness, how it works without forgetting. In other words, this is one of the ways that works. You don't bring up the past hurts to the people that hurt you where it hurts them. You don't just keep bringing that up. But on the other hand you don't forget the past hurts where it continues to hurt you. You don't continue to bring up even to yourself, your past sins and hurts and what you did to hurt yourself, but you don't forget your past sins and mistakes where you don't repeat them because this is what it is. Forgiveness does not always mean trust.

James Greer: 10:17 Forgiveness doesn't always trust the person again. 2 Timothy 4:14, you know what it said? He said watch out for Alexander the coppersmith. He opposes our message and caused the end of trouble. In other words, there are some people you just got to watch out for him. You love them but you don't trust them. In 2 Timothy 4:15 it said hey, be on guard against him. Why? He strongly opposes your message. Now I want you to know that love is to be given. Forgiveness is forgiven, but peace is a byproduct of trusting God, but it's not trusting other people all the time.

James Greer: 10:52 It's trusting God. We forgive because God tells us to. We forgive because we don't want to be taxed and prisoned and poisoned to the person that we're trying to forgive. We forgive where we can move on. Okay, so we forgive, but that does not mean trust. You ready? Love is given. Trust is earned. Forgiveness is given. Trust is earned. We trust when and only when the person becomes trustworthy. So when do we trust? When the person becomes trustworthy. How do you know, you listening? You've forgiven them. You love them. You don't trust them, so they become trustworthy. How do you know when you begin to trust the person again? How do you know that it's the right time? We know they can be trustworthy, when their behavior is trustworthy on a consistent basis. If you want to know, can I trust that person? Has their behavior changed and has it done it on a consistent basis? Only then did they become trustworthy. The Bible says in Galatians 6, don't grow weary in well doing and due season you shall reap. In other words, you can't lie. You can't cheat. You can't hurt somebody and then come back and say, man, love me. Forgive me and trust me. It doesn't work that way, and you don't need to do that because it'll hurt you, but God does want to set you free.

James Greer: 12:07 And but there's the other extreme. There's the people that say man I'm really trying. I'm trying to confess my sins. I'm trying to walk in God's law, but it just seems like I'm just not there right now. And so they say, you know, I knew I shouldn't have taken that other drink last night. We'll be preaching on drinking pretty soon into it. I didn't say take a drink, I said "just kept drinking", and they knew. They said, man, I drank too much. I'm just not going to drink the next day. And there's like a person that used to be just guys, guys and girls. Now they looked at that pornography and said that pornography is messing up my relationship and and tomorrow I'm not going to do it. Tomorrow gets here and you do it anyway. You say man I've got to quit using these drugs because these drugs are destroying my life. And you say, God forgive me, and God forgives you. And you get up and you do it the next day.

James Greer: 12:57 And you tell a lie and you say, God, I'm going to tell the truth tomorrow. because the truth sets me free. Then you lie again. You stole, and you go back to work or wherever it is you stole from. And you felt guilty about it. And the next day you did it again.

James Greer: 13:11 This is what happens if you're not careful. Then we began to live in a state of guilt. I'm not condoning any of that, but if you live in a state of guilt, in pity, you miss the power of God and so God wants you to do this. Lamentations Chapter Three says this. I'm going to recall this to my mind. Therefore, I hope there are some things that when we go on through things and we shouldn't have done or hadn't done or had been done to us, that we got [unintelligible], He says, remember to call to our minds, and one of the things we've got to remember to recall to our mind is our hope.

James Greer: 13:48 And our hope is: I've got us a positive expectation that things are going to come out all right in spite of what's going on in my life. And then Lamentations goes on and it says in the Lord's mercy that by the Lord's mercy, we're not consumed. The only reason you're not going to be consumed (I don't care how good you think you are) is because of the mercies of God and because of His compassion fail not, but thank God they're new every morning. When is God's mercy new? Every morning. I'm messed up Tuesday, but Wednesday God's mercy is good again. Wednesday I'm messed up. Thursday God's mercy is new. Because, listen, if you're going to grow in the Lord, it's going to be out of the love God has for you. The strength God has for you and the power God has, and not the guilt you have for yourself.

James Greer: 14:28 See mercy is undeserved forgiveness and unearned kindness. It's the pardon from the deserved punishment and sin that you [inaudible]. Let me see. God is faithful, great is His faithfulness. Now listen, I want to be faithful to God. I love God. I love God's word, but I will tell you, there's times I'm sure I do things or say things that I'm not faithful to God. And so when I mess up and when I do stuff, I have to have my hope in God, not somebody else, not myself. And the hope it means I've got to remember who my hope is in. I've got to remember that God is the God that made Heaven and Earth. I have to remember my hope is in the God that said, hey, the guy was blind and now he can see. I got to remember that my hope is in the murderer, Moses, that God used him to deliver the children of Israel.

James Greer: 15:13 I have to remember, I have the same God you know that took Saul who was persecuting the Christians, turned him into Paul and he wrote three fourths of the New Testament. I have remembered my hope is in the same guy. You know that lady who had been married five times and divorced five times? She was living with number six. And what she needed was not another man. What she needed was living water, and God saw her, loved her, gave her living water and forgave her and used her. That's the kind of hope you have to remember. No matter what you're going through in your life. Amen? And you have to do it every single morning.

James Greer: 15:42 But the ultimate goal is this: that you shall know the truth. The truth sets you free. And Jesus sets you free. You shall be free indeed. Knowing the truth, that's knowledge, okay? You begin knowing what God says to do when you tell the truth, it comes out. You know I have, I've had people call me a lot of times and say man they're just lying about me, lying about me, lying about me. That's okay. The truth is going to set you free. If it's a lie about you, you don't have to worry about it. God's word has set you free. If it's a truth about you, confess and forsake it and move on. That's knowledge, that's freedom, but when Jesus says, you're free, you're free indeed. Listen, you ready? That's an action of obedience. Way too many Christians come to church. You've been saved. You've been set free by the blood of Jesus Christ. Maybe you've been baptized, so you know that you're free, but you're not free indeed because you haven't followed through, you hadn't moved forward. You haven't done what He said.

James Greer: 16:44 I mean one of the greatest illustrations of how to be free and free indeed is in the Old Testament. God decided to call the stuttering Moses to go deliver the children of Israel. They had been in bondage, and the reason they were in bondage is the reason they were slaves - because they had sinned, and they kept sinning. Now they're turning from sin. They're crying out to God and God says, okay, I'm going to send this Moses. Moses goes to appear before Pharaoh. They said, let my people go, and he said, no, no, no, no, no, and then God finally said, listen, take the blood of the lamb. Cut the throat of the lamb. Take the blood, put it on the door post. When the death angel comes, he's going to bypass that house. Where the blood is not though, he's going to kill the firstborn. So they did what He said, and then in Exodus 12:30, it says they woke up the next morning and the first born were all dead.

James Greer: 17:43 Pharaoh gets up and he calls for Moses and Aaron and he said, get out of here. Get out of here. Go out and go to your Israel. Leave my country. Go worship your God. As you asked, take your sheep, take goats, take cattle, just leave from here. Now what freed them? The blood of Jesus Christ. Right? But they still weren't free indeed. Let me tell you something. Listen. I love the third service. I want to share something with you that I didn't get to share with the other two services. And if you get it, man, it is one of the greatest truths you'll ever get. The blood always comes before the healing.

James Greer: 18:19 Say they did that door post, that was the blood. Amen? And then when the blood came, then they were healed. They were delivered. They were saved, right? Then I'm going to show you in a minute, I'll show you the right story in a minute. And then they went out and they got to the Red Sea and God had already delivered them by the blood of the lamb. Okay, so now the healing, the completeness is going to come after the blood. He's going to part the Red Sea and they'd go through it.

James Greer: 18:43 Let me tell you what happened to me. I'm at the doctor. True story. Listen. They gave me my blood test. He said, "Well it's good. It's better. I'm going to take the picc line out."

James Greer: 18:43 I said, "Praise God. Let me get an MRI."

James Greer: 18:58 He said, "No, don't get an MRI." He said, "If you go get an MRI right now or even for the next two weeks, it's going to show you're still infected. You still have the bacteria. You are still sick, but you're going to be well."

James Greer: 19:09 I said, "Well how can I have the blood that says that I'm okay, but if I go take an MRI, it says I'm still sick.?"

James Greer: 19:16 He said, "The blood always comes before the healing."

James Greer: 19:16 I said, "Precious Jesus!"

James Greer: 19:22 Do y’all realize that you got the blood of Jesus Christ? It always comes before the healing, and don't give up and keep going and keep going forward. And, do you know what? I didn't feel like I was healed. I still may have been sick, but I'm excited because I know it's coming. Amen? So whatever you come today, you got the blood of Jesus Christ. The healer is coming, but don't sit where you're at. Get up and get going.

James Greer: 19:41 I'm going to show you about being free. All right. There's a difference between being free and free indeed.

James Greer: 19:49 I can't think of his name, but y’all know him. Y’all know that Mexican drug cartel guy that kept escaping? What's his name? [audience answers]. Yeah, that's it. You know, they'd put him in jail and he would get out. They even brought him to America you know, and they dug tunnels and everything. They went to go in there and get him and that sucker was free. Now, he had been in jail. They got him out of jail and now he was free. Yes, free from jail, but he wasn't free indeed. You know why he wasn't free indeed? He was free from jail, but he was not free indeed. He was always worried about he was gonna get caught. He was already worried about who he could trust. He was always worried about who was behind him. He was always worried about what was going to happen to him. As a matter of fact, he was free, but he was not free indeed, and because he was not free indeed, he ended up back in jail.

James Greer: 20:33 When they put the blood on the doorpost, God said, you are free. He killed the firstborn of Pharaoh, and Pharaoh said, let them go. But see Pharaoh was a type of slave who is a liar and a cheater. They started heading towards the Red Sea and Pharaoh told the armies to go back and kill them anyway. And so now they supposedly have been freed. Pharaoh's enemy was coming. They had started praying and God tells him to get up and move forward. In fact, listen to this verse in Exodus 12:15, and the Lord said to Moses, (I love this), quit praying.

James Greer: 21:18 Why I love this is some y’all have been praying and praying and praying and praying, praying about the same thing. You've been praying about being forgiven. You've been praying about somebody who had hurt you. You've been praying, praying about God doing this and that. And God said, get off your butt and go forward. Amen? He may not say it quite like that. That's James' translation.

James Greer: 21:35 Quit praying. Get the people and move forward. Do you understand? Listen, real close. It was coming to the point that you're willing to move forward that set them free and free indeed because what they did is: It said Moses take the rod and touch Red Sea. It parted, and they walked through it. They got to the other side and all the enemies and all the chariots came, and God let the waters flow back over and drowned flooded, killed every single enemy that had followed them into the Red Sea. So they get on the other side and man, they should be rocking the house they're so excited. But in Exodus 13:3 it says something and Moses said to the people remember this day. Why did he want to remember this day?

James Greer: 22:22 He didn't want to remember the day because all the suffering, heartache and bondage they had been in. He wanted to remember this day where they didn't go back and do the same thing. He wanted to remember this day. Don't go back and live like you were living before to go back in bondage. He wanted to remember today because he wanted to see how big and how powerful God is. He wanted to see if you go forward, there's nothing too hard for God, so my question to you is: Are you ready to go forward? Are you ready to go forward?

James Greer: 22:48 See Today, God will set you free. Some of y’all had been stuck in the past and God said, Hey, I'm ready to move forward. Some of y’all don't have the blood of Jesus Christ where He can bring the cleansing and the healing, and you come and accept Christ and you put your life on the blood of Jesus Christ and you may not feel like it. It doesn't matter. The blood brings, and the healing will follow. Some of y’all have forgiven. He hadn't forgotten, but you feel guilt instead of regret.

James Greer: 23:20 You know what I think every single Sunday? I think there's people that keep praying the same thing over and over and over and over and God says, today is the day I want you to move forward. I don't want anybody to leave today, especially if you hadn't moved forward with Christ, especially if you hadn't put the blood over the doorpost, so to speak. If you hadn't come and said, I believe that I'm a sinner and I know Jesus died on the cross for me and He shed his blood for me and today's the day that I'm going to come. I'm going to be healed. I'm going to be forgiven. I'm going to be cleansed. So if that's you, you need to come forward in just a minute. Some of y’all have never followed through with public biblical baptism since you were saved. See, going through the Red Sea, the waters parted. It was a type of baptism. It was a type of cleansing, it was a type of a brand-new start. It was a type of leaving all your past on the other side and get a brand-new start when you move forward.

James Greer: 24:17 Some of y’all need to come do that. Some of them God's called you to come forward to join this church. But every single one of us, you ready? God has called you to leave your past, hurts, sorrows on this altar and go forward into a new, exciting victorious life when you leave here today.

James Greer: 24:35 Will you stand? Let me pray for you. God, you're an awesome God. I thank you for the blood of Jesus Christ. I thank you for the healing. I thank you for the power. I thank you that God that you don't want us to stay put. You don't want us to stay stuck. You don't want us to stay stuck in our past. You don't want to say stuck in a marriage. You don't want us to stay stuck in a job. You don't want us to be stuck, God. You want us to move forward. God where we need to move forward more than any place else is a relationship with you.

James Greer: 25:04 Some of them have come today and you know, they don't have the relationship they used to have. They don't have it at home. They don't have it with Christ. They don't have it. And today's the day, God, that they're going to say, Hey God, I don't want to stay where I'm at. I want to move forward. I want to be a better husband. I want to be a better wife. I want to be a better child. I want to be better on my job. I just want to move forward God. And God I saw you supernaturally deliver the children of Israel, and you want to supernaturally deliver me. Give me the peace and the power of your presence. In Christ's name I pray, Amen.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360