Forgiveness is not easy or painless in our natural person. In fact, in many cases
choosing to forgive with a sincere heart is impossible apart from the power of the
Spirit. Knowing we should forgive offenses, injustices, attitudes, and actions from
wounds, resentments, bitterness, and revenge, especially those that come from
family and friends can pose the biggest challenges.
We understand the command to pursue peace with ALL people, and the varied
ways to bring that into reality brings pain to the brain and weariness to the body.
Refusal or the inability to forgive is usually because the heart has not been
prepared. Philippians 4 has 7 PRECEPTS in preparing the heart to deal with
difficult relationships and circumstances. These exhortations need to be known,
understood, and in practice; to be able to immediately forgive when the challenge
PERCEPT #1 Verse one “Stand Fast in the Lord”
When Paul wrote this letter, he was a prisoner and meeting with different kinds
of opposition. Within the Christian circle he was opposed by jealous men who
were preaching Christ out of envy, strife, and contention seeking to stir up
tribulations for him.
Under these trying times, he was not terrified nor depressed. He had learned to
STAND FAST IN THE LORD. He had adversaries without and within and knew his
strength had to come directly from the Lord. He knew the Lord’s mind and the
importance to stand against the enemy as he saw the wiles of the devil in wanting
to break up and divide the people of God. This enabled him to forgive as his focus
was on God’s priorities, rather than his own restrictions and personal pain. So,
forgiveness was available for him to choose.
PERCEPT #2 Verse two “Be of the same Mind in the Lord”
Nothing is more distressing to the heart and enfeebling to our testimony, than the
difference of opinion and prejudice that exist among the Body of Christ. Earlier in
this letter, he had told the church at Philippi:
. Phil:2:3 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself:” This is a main edict
and so easy to neglect:
. selfish ambition – Believing your point of view is necessary or more important to
get across. And you must convince the other person of that. Needing attention to
validate your own importance.
. Conceit – Pride in proclaiming and allowing strife to develop with the best of
intentions of helping the other person see it your way. Having authority and using
it as a control tool. Even the disciples had to battle this according to Luke 22:24.
. Vainglory is used in some texts. This has been stated to be empty wisdom of no
value. The person full of vainglory will be an envious person – jealous of anyone
that is more spiritual or more gifted than themselves. Jealousy expresses itself in
malice and ends in strife. (James 3:14-16 “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the Truth. This wisdom does
not descend from above but is earthly sensual demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”
When we remember that love covers a multitude of sins, we can choose to serve
in love according to the lowly mind of Christ and have the same mind. Our hearts
will be ready to confess, and forgiveness comes easy. (Proverbs 17:9 and 10:12)
PERCEPT #3 Verse 4 “Rejoice in the Lord always”
Our conscience will let us know when a bad attitude is hanging around. Rejoicing
is difficult to do. How do I rejoice when all is going wrong?
. CHOOSE to FOCUS on what is lasting and Christ who gives us fresh mercies every
. Recognize that the person giving you grief is made in God’s image and putting
them down is an afront to His Creation. The person’s worth is in who they are in
Christ and if NOT IN CHRIST, it is imperative that we provide a proper
representation of our Father. Do we want to “Keep” the family name? We don’t
rejoice in ourselves, service or walk, and sometimes seeing daylight in
circumstances can be tough, but the Hope of the promise can cause our WILL to
declare I will rejoice. It is so much easier to forgive when you are rejoicing.
PERCEPT #4 Verse 5 “Let your gentleness be known of all men. The Lord is near.”
Now if we want this percept to be seen in us, we must be willing to apply, the first
three. Too often our self-assertiveness, strong opinions and maybe harsh or
extreme words prevent being gentle. Words are the main source of abuse but
“LOOKS CAN ALSO KILL” Have you ever just rolled your eyes, shrugged you
shoulders or given that popular expression “WELL WHAT EVER”?
.2 Timothy 2:24 “A servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle to all men.” It
is more important to express the character of Christ than our own opinions, and
even if you are RIGHT to defend yourself. Gentleness with love is irresistible. The
last part of this verse reminds us…..The Lord is near.
The disciples were guilty of hardness of heart when they rebuked the mother who
brought their little ones to Jesus, and they showed their resentment against
villagers that refused to receive the Lord and the disciples wanted fire to come
down from heaven.
PERCEPT #5 Verse 6 “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”.
This verse addresses the circumstances of life. There is a lot of sorrow and
sickness, many trials, and burdens to carry. They can come in waves and have
many different varieties. When we try to cast them off, they just come back to
haunt us and with plenty of WORRY. We may not be able to get rid of the trial,
but we can release the BURDEN of the trial so that it no longer weighs the spirit
down with anxiety. PRAYER IS A PRIORITY and without it true forgiveness is
impossible. When battling, prayer allows us to correct all that is wrong in our
hearts by agreeing with God that our hearts need a correction check. When
corrected, the conscience is cleared, burdens are lifted and the heaviness we feel
in our emotions are lightened. Emotions can linger while adjusting, and not
listening to them as being final, and standing steadfast as we talked about earlier,
PERCEPT #6 Verse 8 “THINK ON THESE THINGS”
Truth, according to God, not necessarily according to facts, but what is noble, just,
pure lovely, good report. Thinking this way will redirect the brain to change chemicals, electrical impulses improving health, and most important the heart, in
moving toward TRUE forgiveness.
Our flesh is always ready to listen to slander, bad reports, and things that are
vicious and blameworthy. We are not left hopeless; we do have a choice from the
PERCEPT #7 Verse 9 “Those things, which you have both learned, and received,
and heard and seen in me, DO, and the God of peace shall be with you.”
We are told to pursue peace as it is within you, and now we have the pathway to
peace that already lives within you; but we so many times ignore this gift because
flesh (our old nature must yield and “die”). This death is possible because Jesus
has already paid the price on the Cross for Peace and True Forgiveness is ours. It is
our privilege to pass it on..
Stand fast in the Lord
Have the same Mind in the Lord
Rejoice in the Lord
Who are known of all men for their gentleness
Who are anxious for nothing
Who have their minds set on things above
Who practice and DO the things they have learned
With our hearts and minds prepared, we are ready to walk through the process of