Summary: WE MUST LEARN TO LIVE WITHOUT BITTERNESS AND UNFORGIVENESS. IT DESTORY’S OUR JOY, PEACE, AND OUR REALTIONSHIP WITH GOD.
Title: A Lifestyle of Forgiveness
Text: Mathew 18:21-35
Intro: Have you ever known someone that had a problem with forgiving? Someone that held a grudge and would not let go of it. Most likely they walked around bitter and angry most of the time.
Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Paul is saying here that you must not allow bitterness to come between us in anyway because it can destroy our, JOY, PEACE, VICTORY and our RELATIONSHIP with Christ.
ILL. Once there was a millionaire who owned a lot in an exclusive residential area of a large city. This lot presented an unusual problem. It was only 2 yards wide but nearly 100 feet long. There was nothing that he could do but sell it to one of the neighbors on either side. He went to the neighbor on one side of his lot and asks if he would be interested in buying the lot.
The neighbor said, “Well only as a favor.” Then named a ridiculously low price
The millionaire exploded. “Why that’s not even one-tenth of what it is worth!” He stormed out and went next store. To his dismay the other neighbor offered less. “Look,” said the neighbor smugly, “I’ve got you over a barrel. You can’t sell that lot to anyone else and you can’t build on it. So there’s my offer take it or leave it.”
The millionaire was beside himself with rage. Within a few days, he hired an architect and a contractor to build one of the strangest houses ever conceived. Only five feet wide running the length of his property, his house was little more than a row of tiny rooms, each barely able to accommodate a stick of furniture. The neighbors complained, but the city officials could find no codes or violations to stop the construction.
When it was finished, the millionaire moved into the uncomfortable house. There he stayed until his death. The house, which became known as “Spite House,” still stands as a monument to one man’s problem of hate and unforgiveness.
There are a lot of Christians living in Spite House today.
Jesus told Peter that he should forgive. Forgiveness is a major part of being a Christian. When we refuse to forgive then we begin to allow bitterness to stop us from entering into fellowship with God.
Luke 15: 28 – The older brother refused to enter the house
- He was angry
- He was not ready to forgive
- He was holding on to grudge
- The father pleads for him to come in
I. WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE HOLD GRUDGES
1. Most people hold grudges because of hurts
- We tend to remember things that have hurt or scared our lives
- “I remember what you did”
ILL. Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded one day of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before. But she acted as if she had never even heard of the incident. "Don’t you remember it?" her friend asked. "No," came Barton’s reply, "I distinctly remember forgetting it."
Luis Palau, Experiencing God’s Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1985.
- If we are going to walk in fellowship with God we must not continue to hold wrongs done to us against others.
2. Because we are reactionary
- You hurt me I will hurt you (sounds like a two year old)
- You say something bad about me then I will say something about you
- We are determined to get even or one up on someone that has hurt us
ILL. Two Christians, Paul and John, lived next door to each other in the suburbs.
One day, Paul sawed down a tree which adjoined their two properties. The tree fell and smashed John’s lounge windows. John stormed out of his house and hollered at Paul. Paul hollered at John. Soon they had each other by the clothes, and finally John threw Paul to the ground.
Paul got up and brushed himself off. "Now look here, John," he said, "it’s high time one of us acted like a Christian!"
He paused for a moment, then glared at his neighbour, and said, "So, why don’t you turn your left cheek and let me punch you!?"
ILL. Button in a tourist shop: to err is human, to forgive is out of the question.
3. Because we long for justice rather than forgiveness
ILL. A little boy had a fight with his older brother one day. The little boy refused to speak to his brother all day. When bed time came his mother went to the little boy and said, “Don’t you think that you should forgive your brother before you go to sleep? The Bible say’s that we should not let the sun go down on our wrath.” After thinking for a moment the little boy replied, “But how can I keep the sun from going down.”