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Summary: To win in this game called life, requires giving in to an unpopular topic—forgiveness.

Gridiron Gang is a 2006 uplifting story of detention camp probation officer Sean Porter starring Dwayne Johnson that is based on the true story of the Kilpatrick Mustangs during the 1990 season. In the movie, Sean Porter (Dwayne Johnson) works at Kilpatrick Detention Center in Los Angeles. Frustrated at not being able to help the kids get away from their problems in life, such as street gangs and drug dealings, he decides to create a football team so the kids can feel like they're part of something. Porter believes that football will teach the teenage inmates what it takes to be responsible, mature, and winners. He picks out a few kids in the room that he feels will benefit from this program and requires that they practice with him the following day. He states to his new team, the Kilpatrick Mustangs, "You are all losers, but if you stick with the program, you could all be winners at the end."

In a powerful scene, Sean talks with Willie, one of his most hardened, violent, and emotionally broken juvenile inmates. Jailed for killing his mother’s boyfriend in the middle of a domestic abuse situation, Willie tries to deal with the feelings inside of him that are due to his father not showing him love. Sean tells Willie that despite his father’s lack of love and acceptance, he still needs to forgive him. Sean further explains that if we want to win in life, we have to let go of the hurt. We have to forgive those who hurt us, if not, we give them too much power over us and they don't deserve it.

You see, to win in this game called life, requires giving in to an unpopular topic—forgiveness. And as Joseph learned, forgiveness is a necessary ingredient for spiritual success. It’s not just about doing what we want to do; it’s about doing what’s right by God, even when we can’t see the outcome. Chances to do great things will show up in life; but the question is, will we be ready, or will we miss out, because of an unforgiving heart?

A. DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN GRUDGES, IT WILL AFFECT YOUR FAITH

1. If we could cultivate the habit of seeing God behind causes, our hearts would be kept free from wrath and bitterness

2. We have to be careful not to be like those that avenge themselves, because we step into the place of God when we do that

3. We have to focus on what God intends and not who puts us in a dungeon or in a palace. The truth is, both places lie on the road which God has marked

TRANS: Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (The NIV Bible)

B. DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN GRUDGES, IT WILL AFFECT YOUR FAMILY

1. Although our future outlook may be cloudy, we must understand that great promises are intertwined within our family

2. God’s legacy of forgiveness extends from generation to generation as we humbly receive His gift of mercy in Christ and pass it on to others

3. God fulfilled Joseph’s dreams and made him a greater blessing to his family than otherwise he could have been

TRANS: 1 Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called, so that you may inherit a blessing.” (The NIV Bible)

C. DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN GRUDGES, IT WILL AFFECT YOUR FUTURE

1. Dwelling on the past paralyzes the present and bankrupts the future

2. God often brings good out of evil and promotes the designs of his providence, even by the sins of men

3. God does not want us to be imprisoned by the shadows of yesterday, but to be free for today and walk in the hope of tomorrow

AS I CLOSE, REMEMBER THIS: GOD’S FORGIVENESS IS THE DOOR TO A NEW BEGINNING; SO DON’T GET CAUGHT UP, IN DEADLY GRUDGES.

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