Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Richard D'Avanzo
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000222
00:29 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn, and welcome to Issues and Answers.
00:32 I know you are going to enjoy today's program,
00:35 because we are gonna be talking about forgiveness
00:38 and the process of forgiveness, what is it? What isn't it?
00:43 I am gonna start with the scripture
00:45 that you might guess that I am going to, it is in Matthew 6
00:49 and I am gonna begin in verse 14,
00:51 this is the Lord Jesus speaking and he says,
00:55 if you forgive people their trespasses,
00:59 in another words their reckless and willful sins
01:02 and if you will forgive them by leaving them,
01:04 letting them go, and giving up your resentment.
01:09 If you'll forgive them he says,
01:10 your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
01:14 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses,
01:17 neither will the Father forgive you your trespasses.
01:21 See why this program is so important
01:25 and I want to welcome back for a second time,
01:28 our special guest and that is Dr. Richard D'Avanzo.
01:33 Thank you. Dr. D'Avanzo, good to have you here.
01:35 And I am having trouble talking. You know you are the,
01:40 you are a PhD. in Christian psychology,
01:43 that you would back to school at the age of 62,
01:46 yeah, that so amazing.
01:48 And you are a part time professor
01:50 at the Florida Christian University, yeah.
01:53 You are also the author of a wonderful book
01:55 When the Vow Breaks, yes.
01:57 And I like the play on words When the Vow Breaks
02:01 instead of when the vow breaks.
02:03 We discussed in the last program when you were age 61,
02:08 your wife of nearly 35 years came to you
02:11 and said, I want a divorce.
02:13 Yeah, we're married about 35 years, yeah.
02:16 Turned your world upside down didn't it?
02:19 It sure did, it was a shock,
02:23 nothing can be a bigger shock to me, nothing, nothing.
02:26 One thing that I want be sure
02:29 that I bring up that we covered in our last program, yeah, yeah.
02:34 You went through great pain, a great since of loss, yes,
02:39 you just praying to the Lord saying,
02:42 just take me now, I just as soon die.
02:44 You already had a close relationship, yes,
02:46 but you made the comment and you counseled people
02:50 when you are going through this don't waste the pain,
02:55 yes, what do you mean?
02:57 Well, God can do certain things when the arrogance
03:01 of our self-centeredness is down and out of the way.
03:06 He can do things with us when we don't get in the way.
03:10 In other words, the pain drives you to the point
03:13 where I just feel helpless, I can't do it myself.
03:17 I don't have anything in me that can solve this problem,
03:21 this dilemma, but God can.
03:26 And now I have opened the gate for God to come in.
03:32 The pain was the thing that let me say that.
03:37 So don't let that pain be wasted,
03:39 say that and then begin to work with God.
03:42 God will then give you the love and the peace,
03:46 kindness, the gentleness, the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
03:49 Yes. So you learned to embrace your pain,
03:52 and embracing your pain,
03:54 God taught you all about the forgiveness. Yes.
03:57 overtime, it's not a straight up,
03:59 its look up and down, but it's there,
04:04 the trend is up and God is always there,
04:07 he never lets us go. Amen.
04:11 we're gonna talk today about the process that God led you through
04:14 I've got some points here you from your book, yeah,
04:17 and I thought perhaps in understanding
04:19 the importance of forgiveness.
04:21 The easiest way would be just to go point by point
04:23 through your book and let you discuss it,
04:25 okay, elaborate on it, yes.
04:27 You said in your book what forgiveness is not.
04:29 Forgiveness doesn't mean we condone
04:31 the wrongs done to us anymore
04:34 then God condones our sins when He forgives us, yeah.
04:38 You know forgiveness is not saying
04:41 what you did to me is okay.
04:44 You now, it just, it doesn't say I condone it,
04:48 it's all right, the hurts of pain I went through.
04:52 No, that's not forgiveness.
04:54 Whether if someone has been abused or,
04:57 yeah, there's been infertility, whatever it is. Right.
04:59 it's not saying it was okay,
05:01 so that's important to understand that.
05:03 And of course we get it from Jesus,
05:05 because when we sin so many times,
05:07 and I look back at my life and God says, well, it's okay,
05:13 I forgive you, I forgive you.
05:17 And so when his spirit is living in us,
05:22 we have that same attitude.
05:25 Now that's not easy, that's very hard,
05:27 we're gonna talk more about that yeah.
05:29 And especially, we, what you're saying is,
05:31 when God forgives us it's, He is not condoning our behavior,
05:37 He is not saying it was okay for you to do those things, right
05:41 So, lets get on into little bit more, yeah,
05:43 we'll uncover this a little more. Okay,
05:46 the second point is that you made,
05:47 forgiveness isn't a sign of weakness but our commitment
05:52 to follow the Lord by the strength the Holy Spirit in us.
05:56 See, we just got through talking about that,
05:58 we just said that the spirit is living in me.
06:00 So I make a choice to say Lord no matter what,
06:05 I am going to follow what you want me to do.
06:09 Not my Will, but your Will.
06:12 You want me to forgive because you are a God of love
06:16 and you love me with everlasting love.
06:19 And so everything you want me to do,
06:21 it's for the best, no question about it.
06:25 You used an interesting word, choice.
06:28 Forgiveness is a choice that we make,
06:31 a decision that we make to follow God's will, right,
06:34 and it doesn't mean that we're gonna just lay down
06:36 and be a doormat for someone. Right, right.
06:38 Okay, I like that, let's go on because I think
06:41 you're gonna really get a clear picture each point we go over.
06:46 You said forgiveness isn't based upon feelings,
06:49 because we're never going to feel like forgiving.
06:52 It's our choice to follow the will of God, no matter what,
06:55 because we are trusting in God who loves us deeply.
07:00 Yeah feelings, too many times we've rely on feelings you know.
07:04 Feelings have the strength of steel,
07:09 yes, but they crack like crystal when difficulties come in.
07:13 And so you don't want to judge or rely on feelings,
07:17 feelings are unreliable.
07:20 And when you're experiencing pain
07:24 and rejection and all of that, your feelings.
07:28 Emotions are overwhelming many times
07:32 and so they're not trustworthy.
07:34 And so what we do is, we don't say,
07:36 well I don't feel like forgiving.
07:39 Well, don't ever think you will, no one ever feels like it.
07:44 I'm doing it because I made a choice,
07:46 because God living in me has given me the strength to say,
07:50 I will do it because you said so Lord, and you know what's best.
07:55 All right, this one,
07:57 forgiveness doesn't mean that I will instantly forget.
08:02 It means that I won't dwell upon the wrongs done to me.
08:05 And you quoted First Corinthians 13:5, right,
08:08 that tell us that those who walk in God's love
08:11 keep no records if wrong, yes.
08:13 But you know you said here,
08:15 it doesn't mean we instantly forget,
08:16 do we really ever forget?
08:18 Well, its a little bit like the stronger forgiveness gets,
08:24 you see forgiveness is almost a process,
08:26 I mean you make a decision to forgive,
08:28 but it's a process that continues on
08:31 and it strengthens with time.
08:33 And as God's grace fills us and replaces that anguish
08:38 that we have. Forgetness, we begin to forget and slowly.
08:45 You know, I wanna, let me see if you agree with this.
08:48 What I think is that, greater the forgiveness,
08:52 its not that you ever totally forget,
08:55 yeah, but if ever comes back up,
08:56 there is none of that emotion and pain involved with it.
09:00 No bitterness, no resentment,
09:01 you're just dealing with it, it's just a fact of life.
09:04 Okay, okay, I like that.
09:06 And another point you made was,
09:08 forgiveness doesn't mean you necessarily
09:10 trust the other person right away.
09:13 Trust may take a long time to reestablish. Yes,
09:16 trust is earned, you know if somebody has somebody,
09:20 their partner was unfaithful, I mean that is long time,
09:25 a lot of time or the person lied.
09:29 You know, I mean there are so many things that
09:32 just because you forgive doesn't mean that,
09:36 that you are gonna be able to say,
09:38 oh well, everything is okay now.
09:41 I think this you know I like these points because,
09:44 yeah, don't you think this is gonna help us learn
09:46 how to be more of forgiving nature
09:49 and yet without being taken advantage of, yes.
09:53 Alright, the sixth point you make here is,
09:55 Forgiveness is not reconciliation,
09:58 it precedes reconciliation.
10:01 But forgiveness doesn't require remarriage.
10:05 So we're looking at this in the context of divorce.
10:08 Yeah, its all...We look at a three step process,
10:12 forgiveness is non-negotiable for a Christian.
10:16 It eventually has to take place. The sooner the better. Yes,
10:20 absolutely, by the power of God. Absolutely.
10:24 You are not gonna do it under your own strength.
10:26 So, forgiveness goes there.
10:28 Now if there is any opportunities for reconciliation
10:32 that forgiveness has to be there
10:34 before reconciliation takes place.
10:37 Before reconciliation can be, before remarriage can take place
10:44 reconciliation has to take place. So you have forgiveness,
10:47 reconciliation, reconciliation is a peaceful relationship.
10:50 One of harmony together, that mean you are married,
10:54 you don't remarry necessarily, but there is harmony
10:56 and is very important later on we talk about children.
11:00 Yeah, so then remarriage can take place if it's appropriate.
11:05 And you know it occurs to me, let me ask you this question.
11:09 Let's say there is forgiveness and even reconciliation in that,
11:12 perhaps someone, their spouse has been unfaithful. Yeah.
11:17 had affairs, yeah maybe multiple affairs, sure.
11:20 And so the Christian, the divorced person
11:24 who is a Christian must forgive them,
11:27 they might be reconciled to them.
11:28 In the fact that maybe they're the parent of their children,
11:31 sure, they get together on certain dates
11:34 and things to celebrate with the children and go to,
11:37 right, civil public, things with them.
11:42 But, because they don't have to trust them to forgive them,
11:47 reconciliation doesn't even mean that
11:49 remarriage is required, it's not always required.
11:53 And it's not required, it is something
11:57 that I think God would like to see happen if it's possible,
12:00 okay. But you as an individual I know obligation.
12:05 Would you marry someone that you didn't trust?
12:08 I would have to have a reconciliation process
12:11 long enough that, that I did trust,
12:13 okay, that's why I say it takes a long time.
12:16 That's the point I wanted to get across, yeah.
12:19 Number seven, you said, forgiveness doesn't require
12:22 any action from the person who has wronged us.
12:26 In other words, I say okay Lord,
12:30 I believe that forgiveness is the right thing to do
12:34 and you want me to do it. And I am gonna do it,
12:37 and I go ahead and I ask for forgiveness
12:39 and I can ask forgiveness in many different ways,
12:42 we'll talk about that later.
12:44 But and then the person is negative and I get all upset.
12:52 She didn't even appreciate or he didn't respond
12:56 or they didn't answer.
12:59 Look, forgiveness doesn't require
13:01 any particular kind of response.
13:05 You are not doing it for their benefit,
13:07 you are doing it because God wanted me to.
13:09 Yes. Okay, and there response is what God may deal with.
13:16 I had a lady once who came up to me and she said
13:18 oh, yes, you know the Bible says,
13:21 Jesus says to love your enemies,
13:23 pray for those who persecute you. Yeah.
13:25 And by this we are heaping burning coals upon their heads.
13:28 She said, I am really praying,
13:30 because I want lots of burning coal upon their head.
13:33 And somehow she had the idea that
13:35 this was some kind of punishment
13:37 and for those who may not know in Jesus day,
13:40 there was a practice by a certain sect that
13:44 when they were walking in repentance,
13:47 they would put this flat plate on their head
13:51 and put burning coals on it, to show that they were repentant.
13:55 So, what Jesus was saying is that by loving
13:58 and forgiving those who are enemies,
14:01 we actually may bring them to repentance, yes, yes, so...
14:05 But that's between God, that's between God, yeah.
14:07 And God doesn't ask us to forgive others for their benefit
14:12 he asks us for our benefit,
14:14 so that he can continue to work in us.
14:16 Yes, because that's the only the way
14:17 the fullness of the Holy Spirit can be within us.
14:20 Absolutely, yes, absolutely.
14:22 Okay, so that's what forgiveness is now,
14:24 let see what Dr. D'Angelo says forgiveness is,
14:29 did I say that, D' Avanzo, I knew I said that wrong.
14:32 What forgiveness is,
14:35 forgiveness is my decision to walk with God.
14:39 Plan and simple number one, God wants me to do it,
14:43 I am doing it, I am not, I don't feel like it,
14:48 I may not even want to.
14:52 I may not even be willing to
14:55 and so I may have to pray Lord,
14:57 help me to be willing to be willing
15:01 Amen, Lord, I am willing to be made willing.
15:04 He will meet us wherever we are.
15:06 See, it doesn't make any difference,
15:07 well I'm not good enough to get,
15:09 no, no, God goes wherever you are.
15:12 You know and Philippians 2:13 says that
15:15 it's God who works in us to will
15:17 and to act according to his purpose. Amen,
15:19 I like this. All right you also said forgiveness is giving up
15:24 my desire to punish the person who has hurt me.
15:28 The Lord tells me in Romans 12:19,
15:31 "It is mine to avenge; I will repay."
15:34 Yes, see, he says to me, he said look Richard,
15:36 you keep out of this, anything you do is gonna mess it up.
15:40 You can't do it,
15:42 I will take care of how to deal with the your Ex,
15:46 he says your job is just to ask for forgiveness.
15:50 For the wrongs that you did to her
15:52 and you forgive her for the wrong she did to you.
15:57 Amen, in other words, don't try to be God in this matter.
16:01 Yes, he doesn't need any help.
16:04 Okay, forgiveness is real when I can sincerely
16:08 wish good for the person who has wronged me.
16:11 I like this point. Christ teaches us to pray
16:14 for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44.
16:17 Yes, yes, you know that's a sure sign
16:20 that forgiveness is taking place,
16:22 when you can really sincerely begin to pray
16:25 for the well being of the person who maybe hurt you.
16:28 Yeah, there is only one person in my entirely life
16:32 that I felt hatred toward and I won't go into the story,
16:35 but I will say this.
16:37 The Lord started me off with Matthew 6:14 and 15
16:41 telling me I had to forgive and I said Lord,
16:44 I don't want to, yeah, I don't know how to, yeah,
16:46 and the Lord led me to pray for their salvation,
16:49 and did you know I didn't want to pray for their salvation.
16:52 I would have just assumed that they had spent,
16:55 gone somewhere else. And I just obeyed
17:00 and I started praying for their salvation,
17:02 you know what pretty, you can't pray for someone salvation too
17:05 long before you actually do begin to experience forgiveness.
17:09 The Holy Spirit, begins to work, yeah.
17:12 And you know you mentioned, you know some people,
17:16 to just quickly clear that up.
17:19 See I can't, I can't ask for forgiveness because
17:22 my acts is detonating or it is hostile.
17:27 Okay and I can get in their presence
17:29 without harm maybe coming in.
17:32 Well, then you do it, perhaps by letter or by phone,
17:37 if a person is dead then you just make it to God.
17:41 Okay, but the important thing is that you do
17:44 it to the person if they're living,
17:47 one way or another by phone, by letter or by in person.
17:51 So, you're saying it's important for you to tell the person,
17:56 yes, that you forgive them.
17:58 Yeah, it's just not saying, you're not saying to God,
18:00 oh! Lord, forgive me for hurting my Ex in this way
18:04 and that way and I forgive them for hurting me
18:06 in this way and that way.
18:07 That what it's about, it's my act of making contact
18:11 with that person in some form or another,
18:15 it's a lot of power.
18:17 Then after we do that, God says,
18:19 now you come to me and ask for forgiveness,
18:22 because when you hurt my creation, you hurt me.
18:29 I'm not sure I have wrote this man a letter,
18:31 I'm thinking about this, okay.
18:34 Number four, forgiveness is a non-negotiable requirement
18:39 for every believer. Jesus teaches us,
18:42 if you forgive men when they sin against you,
18:44 your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
18:46 But if you do not forgive men their sins,
18:48 your Father will not forgive your sins that's Matthew 6:14-15
18:52 Yeah, there is wallowing there,
18:54 you just you can waffle in that one, yeah.
18:57 I mean it's so plain,
18:58 but is plain because God loves us so much,
19:01 he know that unforgiveness is gonna cause bitterness
19:04 and resentment in us
19:06 and it's gonna it is eat us up like a cancer.
19:10 And so it's great love for us says, this is must,
19:13 so I can give you something better,
19:15 the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
19:17 Amen, and I like the point that you brought out from
19:20 Philippians 4:13, yeah, because so many people will say,
19:23 I don't have the strength, I can't do this,
19:26 yeah, I can't forgive. But Philippians 4:13 says,
19:29 you can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you
19:33 Yes, and that's true. Amen, it is.
19:36 All right, I like this point that you made in your book,
19:40 forgiving is a blessing from God to us
19:44 and in the case that your book is on divorce,
19:47 so is you are saying it's a blessing from God to us
19:50 to our former spouse and even to our children. Yes,
19:53 you see, it's not just one sided, because it can bless,
19:58 you don't know where that other person is,
20:00 God knows and that maybe just the tool
20:03 that God needs to bring that person
20:07 into a closer relationship. Amen.
20:09 But I can guarantee you, our forgiveness if we have children
20:14 will be the greatest blessing to them, amen.
20:17 And we're gonna talk about this I guess
20:19 in another program about children and divorce, yes,
20:21 and this pivotal, because our forgiveness releases us
20:25 from many bitterness and resentment and
20:29 our children need to hear that because that's their parent.
20:32 Amen, amen. But I liked that you said here
20:37 when you said forgiveness is a blessing from God to us.
20:41 Its not really an power you know Romans 5:5,
20:44 it says that it is God who pours His love into our hearts
20:50 by His Holy Spirit, right,
20:52 we are capable in our own power to love and forgive others.
20:57 We have to go to the Lord and say,
20:59 Lord pour your love into my heart for them
21:01 and you cause me to forgiveness, yes, yes,
21:04 that's so you brought that point out beautifully.
21:06 Number 6, forgiving is exercising my free will,
21:12 my power of choice and it freeze God to enable me.
21:19 Yes, you see God says, Richard,
21:21 you must forgive this is very vital for your relationship
21:25 with me and for the joy that you have in your life,
21:29 you must do this, amen. And if I do it,
21:34 I don't feel like it, but I do it,
21:36 that enables God to pour the blessings.
21:40 Amen, I want to share something with you because,
21:44 yes, I was asking God wants to teach me how
21:48 to explain this to people in an illustration, yeah,
21:51 and I am using this book that I am writing, yeah.
21:53 And I said, Lord, teach me why it's some important
21:57 for us to forgive others and how can I illustrate this,
22:00 yeah. So, let me share with you,
22:01 if you can envision this mountain stream,
22:04 that is coming down and somebody takes little wire
22:08 and we just tack one wire on one side of the mountain
22:12 or the stream I mean and the other end of the wire
22:14 on the other side of the stream.
22:16 Now, upstream somebody has a Mcdonald's wrapper,
22:21 they're having a little picnic,
22:22 they throw their trash into the stream,
22:24 it comes floating down the river and what it is do
22:28 when it reaches that wire, yeah, it hangs up there, yeah,
22:32 and over a period of time as others put trash
22:35 into their stream just like a beaver
22:38 would built a dam stick by stick,
22:40 that trash gets collected long that wire.
22:44 And the Lord were showing me this that the stream
22:47 would be dammed up and I am going okay.
22:49 And He said the wire is unforgiveness, yeah.
22:53 And just that little tiny piece of unforgiveness in our heart
22:56 all the trash of life comes and it begins
23:00 to collect around there, yes,
23:01 and you know bitterness and resentment built up.
23:04 And pretty soon you've dammed up the flow
23:07 of the living water the flow of the Holy Spirit through you.
23:11 So, forgiveness damages us and our life with God,
23:16 but when we remove that wire,
23:18 the Holy Spirit can flow through us again.
23:21 And flow through us to others, yeah,
23:24 more precious like our children, yeah, our friends.
23:29 I think one of the most amazing things and I love this quote,
23:34 yeah, an unknown author, but this what's in Richard's book.
23:39 "When you forgive, you set a prisoner free
23:44 and only then discover that the prisoner was you."
23:50 Was that your experience, yes, with your wife?
23:53 Yes, you know its I counsel people I gave divorce,
23:58 seminars and I know that people who do this and this is hard,
24:02 it's not easy to do.
24:04 And but I counsel them to pray before he end
24:08 and ask God's strength and when they do it,
24:12 I said Aha! It just like I feel like oh, I feel so good.
24:19 I feel like I have been set free,
24:22 set free and God says yes, I have set you free,
24:29 and now he pours his goodness, his Holy Spirit in you and me,
24:35 so that we can minister to others.
24:41 I just am amazed at that how the Lord uses us
24:45 to you know just simple earthen vessels, yeah, like you and me.
24:51 To share from our pain, yeah from our recovery his goodness.
24:57 Now, your book is available this is When the Vow Breaks,
25:01 Richard D'Avanzo, yeah, and this is available
25:06 in the ABC book stores by Pacific Press, yes.
25:09 I think that you're an amazing person, Wow! Thank you.
25:13 And you're a delightful person
25:14 and I say that because I seen Jesus in you.
25:16 Well, that's why all of us need Jesus, amen.
25:19 Because without that we are nothing really.
25:23 If you could look into the camera and tell somebody
25:26 that might be really struggling with unforgiveness,
25:30 just give them a word of hope.
25:31 Yeah, you know as difficult it seems to you
25:35 right now you may sitting there and a saying to yourself,
25:38 I can do that. Well you know you really can't,
25:44 but you can with God. You call upon Jesus,
25:47 and you know it's not just calling ones or twice,
25:50 it's sitting down kneeling down before God everyday.
25:56 Maybe twice day, maybe three times a day and say,
25:59 Lord, I know you want me to do this,
26:00 give me the strength to do this,
26:02 I want to walk with you in all fullness,
26:07 I want the love and the joy and the peace
26:10 to reign in my heart that you can give.
26:13 And you know God will give you the strength to ask forgiveness
26:19 for the things that you've done wrong
26:21 and forgive those things that were done that hurts to you.
26:25 Amen, amen brother, I was just thinking of the scripture too,
26:30 it's in Second Corinthians 5 hence in verse 16,
26:35 and this help me, yeah. It's Paul's writing,
26:38 he says consequently, from now on we no longer
26:41 regard anyone from a purely human point of view,
26:45 even though we once did look upon
26:47 on Christ like from the human point of you.
26:50 You know ask God to help you see that person
26:54 who hurt you from his perspective.
26:56 That they were lost and suffering,
26:59 and anybody who is running around doing these things,
27:01 I don't care if they call themselves a Christian.
27:03 That's right. If they're hurting others
27:04 in such a way particularly in infertility or divorce, yes.
27:07 They're not, I mean they are not walking with God,
27:10 they're lost and suffering. Yeah,
27:11 and you're not knowing the joy that they can have, amen.
27:14 But, remember if you have had that kind of sin
27:18 in your life God forgives, amen, amen.
27:21 And you can be set free, amen, amen, amen.
27:23 Richard, thank you so much for being with us today.
27:26 You are welcome. And I know we're gonna come back
27:27 and do another program on children
27:30 and how your children are effected by the divorce
27:32 and how you can minimize the risk
27:35 of carrying that weight throughout their life.
27:38 So, I am so glad that you've joined us today
27:41 and hope you'll tune in again next time.
27:43 And until we see each other again,
27:45 may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
27:47 the love of the Father and fellowship of the Holy Spirit
27:51 be with you. Thanks for joining us.