Summary: In the journey of life forgiveness must happen for us to live as Christians, but what a hard task. This sermon begins a process of understanding how we can truly forgive those who are our oppressors.
Creating Your Roadmap to Forgiveness
Preached at the Laurel Church of Christ
On January 5, 2003
I. “Not long before she died in 1988, in a moment of surprising candor in television, Marghanita Laski, one of our best-known secular humanists and novelists, said, “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me.” John Stott in the Contemporary Christian
A. One of the greatest blessings that we have as faithful people of God is his significant capability to forgive.
B. Before the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." – Jesus (Luke 23:34)
C. How is it that Jesus so freely asks for the forgiveness of those mocking, beating, stealing his clothes, and nailing him to the cross?
II. Of course, I understand that he is God, but I have got to believe that we are capable of forgiving just as he does.
A. She was crazy. Everyone knew it because she had the habit of talking to herself in public and it was known that she believed she even talked to Jesus – and was spoken back to. A new preacher came to town and hearing of the crazy woman, thought that he might be able to make her face reality.
1. One day, as he saw her walking down the street he spoke to her and eventually got around to asking, “I hear you talk to Jesus.”
2. “Yes,” she replied. “Jesus and I talk for just hours and hours.”
B. “Would you do me a favor?” The minister asked. “Could you ask Him something for me?”
1. “Why of course,” the old woman responded.
2. “Would you ask Jesus what the last sin was that I confessed to Him?”
3. “Certainly,” she replied.
C. The next day, the preacher saw the crazy woman just down the street and so he approached her and asked, “Well, did you talk to Jesus last night?”
1. “Why, I surely did,” she squealed.
2. “What did He say was the last sin was that I confessed to Him?” the preacher coyly asked.
3. “Why, He said He didn’t remember.”
D. Hebrews 10:17 "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more."
III. “The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” – Marianne Williamson
A. It is true we have a Lord that forgives and forgets.
B. But, is it true that we as Christians have the same abilities?
C. Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
D. Whether you answered yes or no to the previous question, Jesus tells us that if we are to receive forgiveness we must forgive our offenders also.
IV. Today, we begin a journey.
A. Destination: Forgiveness
B. Our goal today is to create a personal roadmap to forgiveness.
C. To successfully plot a course to this destination we have got to understand three important factors to true forgiveness.
1. We need a desired destination.
2. We must find the best route.
3. We need to place the planned stops appropriately.
I. The Desired Destination – A Healthy Desire for Forgiveness
A. Maybe the real key to finding true forgiveness is from where you begin your journey
1. It has always been said that motivation is half of the battle and positive motivation will bring positive results.
2. Many forces may motivate us…
a. The desire to free of anger, revenge and hostility
b. The desire to show gratitude to God for forgiving us
d. Love for the offender and desire for a restored relationship
e. Fear of the offender
f. The desire to protect our own health
g. Concern for the welfare of the offender
h. The desire to be obedient to parents
i. The desire to avoid violence
3. So from where does your motivation originate? It will come via three different routes.
B. Role-Expected Forgiveness
1. It is motivated by the expectations of others or God.
a. It is not that this necessarily a bad thing, but your motivation begins by the authority of others. Others being the motivation.
b. This is a place to start with forgiveness, but it is not a place to finish.
2. People with high role-expected motivations are more likely to have hostile feelings and less likely to have positive feelings, communicate with or help someone who hurt them.
3. Does real forgiveness occurs or is there bitter emotions hidden and held behind closed doors?
4. If this is where you are at you may respond true to the following questions
a. Forgiveness is my best revenge?