We had such an overwhelming response to the message on forgiveness this past Sunday that I thought I’d do a short series of blogs on the topic. If you missed Sunday, you can view the message at: http://www.gfcfamily.com/unlocked-part7/
One of the things that Jesus makes clear in Mt 18 and other passages is this; if you’re a believer, forgiveness of others is not optional for you if you want the blessing of God in your life!
The servant in Mt. 18 who had been forgiven of a huge debt was unwilling to forgive his neighbor of a very small debt. As Jesus told this story He ended it with some very sobering words! 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Mt. 18:34-35 NIV
You and I are represented by the servant who was unwilling to forgive in Jesus’ story. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, the reality is that you’ve been forgiven a debt so large you could never repay it on your own. Jesus Christ died for you – satisfying the debt we owed to God for our sin – and through our faith and trust in Him and what He did – we can be forgiven.
When I think of all the evil I’ve done in my life; all the sinful thoughts, attitudes and actions – I realize how much God has forgiven me. In light of this, I have no right to refuse forgiveness to others. If I want to maintain an intimate relationship with God – forgiving others is a must!
Over the next few days I’ll add to this blog because it’s also important to understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean that trust is automatically restored and it doesn’t mean you’ll forget the offense. So I hope you’ll check back as we explore the idea of forgiveness further.
Here are a couple more verses to consider in light of the fact that God says we’re to forgive because we’ve been forgiven……
James 2:13 NLT – For there will be no mercy for you if you have not been merciful to others. But if you have been merciful, then God’s mercy toward you will win out over his judgment against you.
Matt 6:14-15 NLT “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Mark 11:25-26 NASB – 25 “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions. 26[“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]
Luke 6:37 NKJV – “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
BJ, I’d like to share what your message did for me on Sunday. As you know, my Dad died in 2005 from colon cancer. It was fast, after we found out, but still a blow to two girls and Mother to be without our “leader.” From that time on, I was the primary one who cared for Mother though she was in good health and had great friends. Then August of 2008, she lifted a sewing machine out of a cabinet to take it to be cleaned. She injured her back and never recovered. From August to October, it was constant. I do have one sister but she is 10 years younger and is still working. I was away from home except for a couple of weeks Mother was in BP in rehab. Finally, I had to make the decision to move her to BP from Electra–for my sake as I was so weary, felt I needed Robert (who was here taking care of his mom) and we didn’t know how long this would go on. Well, mother came here one day and died the next evening! I have just suffered from tremendous guilt thinking how selfish I had been and that she should have died at Electra where her sister and friends were and that it was such a short length of time, blah blah. I simply could not get away from it though I prayed to be released, Robert prayed for me and others assured me but I still was just unconsolable. Last Saturday was the 2nd anniversary of Mother’s death. For really the first time in the years since Daddy got sick and Mother’s eventual death, I cried and cried. I was sad and I missed them so much but I couldn’t cry because of my guilt, I think. Robert tried so hard to comfort me and did. I felt better after crying but then we went to church on Sunday. Though you said very little about forgiving yourself of wrongs, the sermon spoke to me in that way. Again, I cried but I felt such a peace and have continued ever since. It is true that I will always wish I had not moved her but I not longer feel the terrible weight of guilt.
I thank you so much for preaching the Word. I love that you do without hesitation and with such clarity. If we could take a poll, I would imagine that Sunday’s sermon has been one of the ones most talked about. It hit everyone in the audience.
Thank you again. Sometimes, you step on my toes but this time your words opened my heart and let me forgive myself.
Awesome messge. I remember many years ago, I asked my pastor to do a sermon on forgiveness. It was a real eye-opener. I am so glad to have a refresher course! It’s amazing what God wants you to here when you discern his voice!