Sermon Illustrations


by Dr. Larry Petton (excerpt from my book, "I CAN'T FORGIVE").

Text: Ephesians chapter 4

Ruth Bell Graham described a successful marriage as the "union of two great forgivers."

Forgiveness has been described as, “Me not hurting you, because you hurt me.”

Forgiveness is one of the major teachings of the ministry of Christ.

Forgiveness is one of the key characteristics of the life of a disciple of Christ.

But let’s talk about what forgiveness IS NOT.

FORGIVENESS IS NOT EASY. It is the most difficult you will ever do to forgive someone who has stolen from you, lied about, hurt you or broken a vow to you.

FORGIVENESS IS NOT NATURAL. The normal, human response is revenge. The flesh always wants to get even.

FORGIVENESS IS NOT DENIAL. You can’t just put hurtful things under another rug. Someone hurt you. Someone wronged you. How will you deal with that?

FORGIVENESS IS NOT A ONE-TIME EVENT. Forgiveness is an active verb. You have to get up daily and die to the anger in your heart. It doesn’t normally happen overnight.

FORGIVENESS IS NOT APPROVAL. Just because you forgive someone, that does not erase the wrong they have committed.

FORGIVENESS DOES NOT NECESSARILY RESUME A RELATIONSHIP. Good relationships are built on trust. If someone has hurt you and broken that trust, you can forgive them, but you may not necessarily be able to resume the relationship.


President Ronald Reagan has always been one of my heroes in life. His forgiveness of his enemies was one of the many things that made him great. Ronald Reagan's attitude after the 1982 assassination attempt on his life made an impression on his daughter, Patti Davis. As she watched the faithful example of President Reagan, she later declared:

"The following day after the assassination attempt, my father said he knew his physical healing was directly dependent on his ability to forgive his attacker, John Hinckley. By showing me that forgiveness is the key to everything, including physical health and healing, he gave me an example of Christ-like thinking."


Is there someone you need to forgive AGAIN today?

Don’t let that emotional cancer of unforgiveness grow in your heart anymore. Take that person to the Cross of Christ now and let Him cover them with His forgiving blood. When you fail to forgive……you are the prisoner and you have built your own prison cell. Let Jesus set you free. Pray His prayer that He uttered from the Cross, “Father, forgive them…for they know not what they do.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Related Sermons