FORGIVENESS (Colossians 3:12-14; Ephesians 4:32)
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Colossians 3:12-14 NKJV).
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it” (Colossians 3:12-14 MSG).
“You must be kind to each other. Think of the other person. FORGIVE other people just as God forgave you because of Christ’s death on the cross” (Ephesians 4:32 NLT).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FORGIVE?
“Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), pardoning (granted by a representative of society, such as a judge), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship)” –Wikipedia
“Forgiveness: Giving up my right to hurt you, for hurting me. It is impossible to live on this fallen planet without getting hurt, offended, misunderstood, lied to, and rejected. Learning how to respond properly is one of the basics of the Christian life. The word ‘forgive’ means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt. When we wrong someone, we seek his or her forgiveness in order for the relationship to be restored. It is important to remember that forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. Instead, it is an act of love, mercy, and grace”–allaboutgod.com.
Forgiveness is one of the most misunderstood and difficult practices of the Christian life. Whether or not we should forgive depends on the answer to the questions. “Can Christ forgive them?” “What does Christlike love require?” “Is there anyone whom God cannot forgive?” There are times love requires us to say, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).
None of us is perfect! We have all done things that we knew were wrong. We have said things that we would give a thousand tomorrows to retract. We have hurt the very people who love us the most. That’s why forgiveness is the essential foundation stone for building close relationships with others.
Have you ever said, “I’ll never forgive_______for what they did to me!” “I’ll get them for that!” “They won’t get away with that with me!” “I’ll never trust anyone again after the way I have been treated!”
I know how hard it is to forgive, especially when you have been treated unfairly. And forgiveness is needed most when it is hardest to give.
FORGIVENESS IS THE NATURE OF EVERY BELIEVER! As believers, our relationship with God is restored, but what about our relationship with our fellow human beings? The Bible states that when someone hurts us, we are under an obligation to God to forgive that person. Jesus is very clear on this point: “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. (Matthew 6:14-15 MSG).
GOD’S FORGIVENESS IS OUR PATTERN FOR FORGIVING OTHERS. God’s forgiveness is not a disguise to hide our sins. It is complete! He takes away our sin, condemnation and guilt. Understanding the completeness of God’s forgiveness is our pattern for forgiving others.
Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Isaiah 38:17, “For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.”
Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”
Micah 7:19, “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
Hebrews 10:17, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
God has so completely forgiven every believer, that He refuses to see or remember our sins. He has buried them, hidden them, cast them away, removed them from His presence, and blotted them out. We are completely forgiven for every sin we have ever committed, past, present and future.
“In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and He will continue to rescue us.” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10 NLT).
So, my past is already forgotten by God. (Too bad we can’t forget). My present sins are being forgiven as I confess them… “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9). My future is secure, my sins are covered by the blood of Christ. So complete is God’s forgiveness, that when I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord, it was already as if I had been I heaven for ten-million years. Now, when God looks at me He sees only the blood of Christ.
God lives in every believer, and He enables us to forgive. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, ‘love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’” (Matthew 5:43-45).
Even in the midst of His suffering on the cross our Lord says, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:34 MSG).
At this point in Jesus’ life, Judas has betrayed Him, many of His disciples have abandoned Him, He has “sweat as it were great drops of blood,” He has been mocked, spit on, beaten bloody, forced to carry a heavy cross through the streets, even to the point of collapse. He has been nailed to that cross and lifted up for all to see. He was given sour wine when He cried out, “I thirst,” He has seen the Roman soldiers gamble over His garment. A sign has been placed over His head reading in three languages, mockingly calling Him, “King of the Jews.” Then as He hung there they continued to mock Him. It was not unusual for those being crucified, in their terrible pain, to shriek, beg, curse and spit at their tormentors. What did Jesus do? He prayed, and what a prayer, He prayed for the very ones who were crucifying Him. “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”
So Jesus settles for us once and for all that forgiveness is possible, even in the worst of circumstances. Those present that day knew very little about forgiveness. The Romans literally worshiped “revenge.” The Jewish ethic has always been, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, blood for blood.”
When we fail to forgive we set ourselves up as a higher judge than God. God infinitely forgives, and so must we!
Throughout the Bible forgiveness carries the idea of “release, to set free, sending away, letting go.” In biblical terms forgiveness was used to indicate release from an office, obligation, marriage, debt or punishment. The idea of a debt or something owed is inherent to the concept of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the loving, voluntary cancelation of a debt.
“But, you don’t know how I was treated.” “You don’t know what they said about me.” “You can’t possibly understand how much I was hurt.” “If you were in my shoes, you wouldn’t be able to forgive either.”
Some writer has given us you ten stages of unforgiveness: We hurt; we hurl; we harden; we hate; we heap; we hope; we hunger; we honestly come together; we heal.
Let’s just examine several of these:
We HURT: I, personally grieved, and was very angry for many years after my dad’s death over his brutal and unfair treatment of me. Finally, I knelt by his grave and asked him to forgive me for my attitude. I finally decided to grow up and stop blaming my childhood experiences for my present condition. “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (1Corinthians 13:11).
WE HURL: In the move “Forrest Gump” there is a scene where, Forrest and his friend Jenny are walking up to the house, now in bad repair, where Jenny had grown up. As she sees the house it brings back some bad memories for her. So she picks up some rocks and starts throwing them at the old house. She throws rock after rock until she’s exhausted and weeping, then Forrest makes this comment, “sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.” Without God’s forgiveness there will never be enough rocks for us to throw!
WE HARDEN: Bitterness is its own worst enemy. The more we lack forgiveness, the more bitter we become. And on and on, it’s a vicious circle, the longer we withhold forgiveness, the more bitter we become. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).
WE HATE: We certainly do not practice love when we withhold forgiveness. The depth of our love is in our ability to forgive. It is God’s ability to forgive that shows His great love. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:4,5).
WE HONESTLY COME TOGETHER: We will never find it in our hearts to forgive until we honestly surrender our will, asking God to work a work of grace in us on the deepest level. We simply need to make the choice to be open to forgiveness and reconciliation. Remember, our forgiving does not justify what the person has done, nor it does it provide for God’s forgiveness, only God can do that! It is only as we forgive that healing can begin in us. Our willingness to forgive shows the love of God to the offender.
WE HEAL: We must try to forgive and put the whole situation into the hand Of God. Our goal is not to forget, but to receive healing for the offense, asking the Holy Spirit to restore us from the terrible hurt. When we look back on the offense, we will see it in a different way, because it has been healed and is no longer painful to look back on. “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).
The greatest measuring stick of God’s love in our lives is our ability to forgive. John 3:16, “God so loved…” that He made a beautiful world? made pretty girls and handsome boys? made pretty flowers? made trees, mountains, lakes and rivers? NO! “God so loved…” that He took a bunch of dirty, vile, hell-deserving people like you and me, died on a cross to forgive our sins, so that He could bring us into a right relationship with Him, and to provide an eternal home for us in heaven, so He could enjoy us forever! That’s real love!
GOD’S CHILDREN LOVE LIKE HE LOVES: With mercy and forgiveness. The depth of our love is indicated by how much we know we have been forgiven. Those who have the greatest sense of forgiveness in their lives are the ones who are the most forgiving.
Bible scholar, Sir Robert Alexander Falconer was sitting one day with some poor, destitute people, people of the streets, prostitutes, thieves, generally down and out people. He was telling the story of the prostitute in Luke chapter seven, trying to show them that Jesus would forgive them. Then someone sobbed out loud. He looked, and it was a slender, young girl whose face had been scarred by smallpox, and except for the tearful look, she was expressionless. Falconer said something gentle to her, then she said, “Will He ever come again?” “Who?” asked Falconer. “Oh Him, Jesus Christ, the One who forgave that woman. I have heard it said, I think, that He will come again.” “Why do you ask?” said Falconer. “Because, she said, and with a fresh burst if tears which rendered her words unintelligible. Then she recovered herself in a few moments, and as if finishing her sentence, she put her hand to her poor, thin, colorless hair and said, “Sir, can’t He wait a little longer, my hair ain’t long enough to wipe His feet?” She loved much because she was loved much!
Do you harbor bitterness toward anyone for what they have said or done to you? Do you blow up, smolder, get angry, are you filled with hostility toward anyone? Do you speak maliciously behind anyone’s back? Do you assault people verbally? These are all the marks of non-love! God’s children do not love like that!
When someone senses your coldness, inward anger, your silent, unfriendly attitude, and they ask, “Is something wrong?” You lie and say, “No, everything’s fine!” They respond with, “I know something’s wrong or you wouldn’t be acting this way.” It makes you mad that you’ve been found out, but you still insist, “Nothing’s wrong!” Why are we so reluctant to face the truth? Do we enjoy our anger? If we would just listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, He will release in us the tenderheartedness and forgiving love of Christ, so we can forgive as Christ forgave. That’s the key! Forgive others as Christ has forgiven you!
In every situation ask yourself, “Does God love them?” “Can Jesus forgive them?” That will rule out such things as, “Well, I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget.” God forgot our offenses toward Him. “I’ll forgive them but I’ll never speak to them again.” God still speaks to us, doesn’t He?” “I’ll forgive them but I sure don’t have to like them.” Aren’t you glad God doesn’t treat you that way? At best, most of us are not very likeable! Have you forgotten that God, in Christ has forgiven you, and for worse offenses. We say, “I know I should forgive them, but they just don’t know how much they hurt me, and I can’t forgive that hurt.” God forgives completely! He never tries to pay us back for what we have done. God never gets historical about our sins, He is not forever bringing them up and throwing them in our faces. We may never forget them, but God does! Paul never forgot that he persecuted the church, but God forgot it!
The wife of a Zulu chief attended a Salvation Army meeting and was saved. When her husband heard about it he forbade her to go again. However, eager to hear more about Jesus, she went again. When her husband heard about it, he met her on her return trip and beat her savagely, leaving her for dead. Overcome by curiosity, he went back later. She was not where he left her, buy noticing broken twigs, he found her lying under a bush. Cowering over her with cruel eyes, he leered, “And what can your Jesus Christ do for you now?” She opened her eyes, and looking at him, and said gently, “He helps me to forgive you.”
A word about SUFFERING INJUSTICES: I must have experienced some unfair treatment as a child. I cannot even watch a movie where someone is being treated unjustly of unfairly. Now I know it is impossible to live in this world without meeting with unfair treatment. We see it at work, on the highway, at home, in entertainment, at church, the market, school, all of life! Everyone has been treated unfairly or suffered an injustice at some time in life. Many say, “Don’t get mad, get even!” What does God say?
2 Samuel 16:5-16, “Now when King David came to Bahurim, there was a man from the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei the son of Gera, coming from there. He came out, cursing continuously as he came. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: ‘Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! The Lord has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!’ Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!’ But the king said, ‘What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse, because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ Who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ And David said to Abishai and all his servants, ‘See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day.’ And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust.”
What was David’s reaction to these insults hurled at him by Shimei? Verse 10, “The Lord has ordered him.” Verse 12, “The Lord will repay me with good for his cursing.”
So our response to unfair treatment is, first, “Is God trying to tell me something?” Second, “Perhaps God will bless me in this.” “Am I guilty of what they are saying about me?” “Can I see God in this situation?”
Job 1:6-22, You remember the story of Job, how that God made a deal with the devil in which Job last everything, including his seven sons and three daughters.
What was Job’s response. Verses 20-22, “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” God was directing the entire situation. Do not act too quickly when it seems you are being treated unjustly, wait on the Lord. He always comes through.
1 Peter 5:6, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.”
Galatians 6:9.”And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
Romans 8:28, “ And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
So here’s the bottom line: When you are treated unfairly or suffer an injustice, what does Christlike love require from you?
1. Be honest with yourself. Am I guilty?
2. Ask God, “God is this You. are You trying to tell me something?
3. Can I thank God for this situation?
4. Can this work together for mine and others good? (Romans 8:28).
WHAT ARE SOME CONSEQUENCES OF UNFORGIVENESS?
2 Corinthians 6:3, ”Giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited.” People’s attitude toward the church could be affected by your attitude of unforgiveness.
Proverbs 18:19, “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
Matthew 18:7-10, “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!”
Romans 14:20,21, “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.”
Matthew 5:23,24, “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” Your offense will effect your worship.
1 Your husband or wife has been unfaithful, and you just cannot forgive them. Adultery is one of the most frequently and severely condemned sins in the Bible. It is mentioned fifty-two times, it is found in all four Gospels, and in ten other books of the Bible. It is one of the Ten Commandments, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Other Scriptures:
“But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself. (Proverbs 6:32 NLT).
“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18 NLT).
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness”(1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NLT).
How do you forgive when you have been betrayed in this way? We’ve all been wounded in some way! We try to cover up our hurt and anger up and “get over it,” but if we don’t truly forgive, we will be stunted individuals going about our lives and becoming more and more embittered. Forgiveness is essential. It’s also possible. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14,15). That’s hard??? Oh, but listen my friend if you do not deal with it will be like sleeping in a cactus patch, sooner or later it will get you!
Ouch. That stings a bit, doesn’t it? Especially when you’ve been wounded by someone you’ve loved as unconditionally as possible. It sounds like a cruel joke to expect us to just let it go, doesn’t it? God says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13). Never forget, reconciliation is always God’s way!
2. You have suffered from spousal abuse, the physical and emotional scars are just too deep for you to find it in your heart to forgive. You have tried desperately to save the injured relationship, but to no avail, fear, distrust and rage repeatedly undermine your efforts.
Allow me to add a personal warning here: If you are being abused by your husband/wife, do not stay in harm’s way! God always expects us to work out our difficulties and avoid divorce, but He does not condone abuse! Spousal abuse comes from a deep seated spiritual problem that must be resolved before the matter can corrected. Being abusive to one’s spouse is a sin and sin unchecked will always intensify. The situation will more than likely grow worse, unless the abusive spouse admits their sin, asks for God’s forgiveness and strength to overcome. If the abusive spouse will not ask for God’s help and show positive actions that they are making an honest and heart felt steps to resolve their problem the abused spouse must consider that he/she is in probably danger which could even be life threatening. An abused spouse is not biblically obligated to continue to live in an abusive and dangerous relationship. “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” (1 Corinthians 7:15). Even if your spouse is a believer, Do not subject yourself to abuse!
3. Someone has talked about you behind your back. Maybe you shared a personal struggle with them in confidence, and now it has become a juicy morsel whispered over the telephone, or gone digital on Facebook, Twitter, or in E-mails. Now it seems as if everyone at church and in your neighborhood knows your deepest secret. You feel betrayed, hurt, and angry. The wound is as painful as if you had actually been stabbed. Then you begin to feel vengeful. Forgiveness is the furthest thing from your mind! A trusted person has betrayed you, now you must find some way to make them pay for the harm they have caused you. Listen to what God says, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19 NLT).
Cornelia "Corrie" Ten Boom (1892-1983) was a Dutch Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. She was imprisoned for her actions. Her most famous book, The Hiding Place, describes her ordeal.
“It was in a church in Munich that I saw him—a balding, heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken, moving along the rows of wooden chairs to the door at the rear. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to a defeated Germany with the message that God forgives. “It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favorite mental picture. Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I liked to think that that’s where forgiven sins were thrown. ‘When we confess our sins,’ I said, ‘God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever…’
“The solemn faces stared back at me, not quite daring to believe. There were never questions after a talk in Germany in 1947. People stood up in silence, in silence collected their wraps, in silence left the room. And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights; the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor; the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were! (Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent).
Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: ‘A fine message, Fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!’ “And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He would not remember me, of course—how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women? “But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze. ‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’ No, he did not remember me. ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’
“And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking? It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’ I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.
And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. Help! I prayed silently. I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling. And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’ For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then” (Corrie Ten-Boom).
If this has been helpful to you, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV).