Summary: A message demonstrating "Forgiveness" as a great gift to God.
A Great Gift to God
#Dennis had the privilege of growing up in a Christian home. His father was an outstanding and compassionate attorney. Denis was supported with his father’s prayers and finances through law school.
After graduation from law school Denis worked with his father in his law office. He watched his father counsel the unfortunate and give money to various people with needs that came though his office on a regular basis. Denis thought his Dad had too much of a soft touch and got angry at seeing his father being over generous.
Denis expressed his feelings of concern to his father. He father said, “Son, there is much joy in giving!” He picked up his well worn Bible and read: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” He also read: “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me.”
Denis remained unconvinced. Other people would not take him advantage of him.
As the years went by Denis continued the law practice of his father’s tradition, except for the handouts to the needy.
Then, one day Denis audited the books of the law firm himself in order to determine payroll percentages for employees. He was shocked to find that Max, one of his father’s oldest and most trusted members of the firm, who had charge of the books had padded his personal account for 20 years and had stolen thousands of dollars from the firm.
Denis was angry. Here was a man whom his father had gone out of his way to help. Denis confronted Max with his crime and banished him from the distinguished law firm forever.
Denis could not forget the crime Max committed against his father and the law firm. Deep resentment grew in his heart toward Max.
A short time later his father lay dying. Denis went to his side and his father encouraged him to give his heart to Jesus. All the family, except Denis were committed Christians. Love broke the hardness of Denis’ heart. He knelt by his father’s bed and placed his life in the hands of Jesus.
His life was transformed. He started reading his father’s bible and showing love to those he worked with. Years passed but Denis continued to carry resentment and bitterness toward Max. Denis knew he could not continue to hate and call himself a Christian. One night he prayed: “Dear Lord, I’m sorry for this resentment I have toward Max.” The Lord seemed to speak: “I want you to go to Max and personally ask him to forgive you for the hatred you have felt toward him for all these years.” Denis thought, ‘why should I do that.” Max is the guilty one.” Finally Denis surrendered himself anew to the Lord and made two attempts to see Max. Each time he got cold feet and returned home. Finally on the third try he traveled to the office building where Max was practicing law and knocked on the door. As they met, Max’s mouth dropped open in surprise: “Denis, what are you doing here?
“Max, I’ve hated you all these years for what you did to my father by stealing all that money. I actually wanted to kill you for what you did.
Max said, “Denis you were good to me. You could have sent me to jail.”
Denis continued, “God has placed his love in my heart for you, Max, and I’ve come here today to ask you to forgive me for the hatred that I’ve felt for you all these years.”
Max’s face turned red as tears came to his eyes. “No, Denis, I am the one who needs to be forgiven by you.” In that moment of forgiveness, healing of hatred came. Denis experienced the blessing of God’s healing and love.
In the passages in Matthew 5 Jesus is telling us that one of the greatest gifts we can give to God is forgiveness and reconciliation.
I. Forgiveness and Reconciliation start in our heart.
The bible says, “As a person thinks in his/her heart so they become."
In verses 21-22 Jesus brings in a higher ethical law. The law of the heart comes from God.
Jesus is saying: “Be careful what you say it reveals the condition of your heart.” You may have never murdered anyone, but what about the motives of your heart. Jesus is saying, “What matters is not merely the letter of the law but the spirit.” The law says, “You shall not commit murder.” Jesus says, “If you are angry in your heart with a brother without cause you are guilty under God’s law of murder. To hate, to feel bitter, to have this unpleasant, unkind feeling of resentment toward a person without a cause is murder.