Summary: This is the 3rd sermon in the "Unpopular" series. This sermon is about the subject of true forgiveness.
Sunday Morning, April 21, 2002 Bel Aire Baptist Church
Series: “Unpopular” [#3]
FORGIVE AND FORGET
1. We live in a society that likes to sue people for anything you can imagine. I can remember while working for McDonald’s that every McDonald’s in the United States had to lower the temperature of their coffee. Why? Because a woman purchased a cup of coffee at a McDonald’s in Albuquerque, NM and as she was leaving she spilt the hot coffee in her lap. Of course the coffee was hot and it burned her, but whose fault was it? She sued McDonald’s for over a million dollars and won. Later that ruling was overruled but my point is, our society today has no concept of forgiveness. All we think is get even!
2. In Genesis 32 we find Jacob preparing to meet his brother Esau. Now you may be thinking, “So what?” but I want to remind you that Jacob tricked his brother Esau out of the blessings intended for the first-born which was Esau. How would you feel about Jacob if you were Esau?
3. Remember Jacob had to leave when this happened so that Esau would not kill him, but now many years had passed by and Jacob was returning to his home as God had commanded. All Jacob could think was, “What will Esau do to me?”
4. Ask yourself this morning, “How do I react when someone does me wrong?”
Remembering The Past
1. I will assure that Jacob feared for his and his families’ lives.
2. He remembered what he did and “deep down” he realized what he would have done if the “shoe was on the other foot.”
3. Many of us live in fear in our daily lives because of our past sins. Many of us have been frozen by our past sins against someone or even more so, a past sin someone has committed against us.
1. So how do most of us want to react? Get revenge!
2. Here we find Jacob “in great fear and distress” as he is preparing for the worse. He divided the people in two groups so that if Esau attacked one group the other group could escape.
3. How often do we not take care of past problems because we imagine the worse? We give God no credit for the fact that He can heal those wounds and can fix the problem. Notice that Jacob is dividing the group, not God. If God had asked, all of this worry and stress would not have happened. Does that sound familiar?
Ran To Him
1. Jacob sees 400 men and puts his plan into immediate action. He knew it! He and his family were going to be destroyed. How dare God lead him into such a terrible situation?
2. How dare God lead us into a terrible situation? Ever feel that way? God is asking you to do something that you don’t want to do. How dare Him? Who does He think He is, God?
3. After all of that worrying, Esau ran to meet Jacob and when he got to him he did not punch him or kick him, he hugged and kissed him and then these two brothers wept for joy.
1. Esau did the opposite thing from what most of us would do. In fact Esau did what God does. The only time in Scripture you can find God getting in a hurry is in the story of the prodigal son. In that story the prodigal son, (which represents us) squandered all of his inheritance and when he came back home, he came back just as Jacob did. He came back with the hopes that he could be a servant, but what happened was he was met with “open arms” by the father, (which represents God).
2. God gets in a hurry for His children to come home. He doesn’t hold the past against us. He runs to meet us and then welcomes us home with hugs and kisses.
3. We are to be forgiving of others in the same way God is to us. That past doesn’t matter.
Never Brought Up
1. Now here is the most difficult, un-human part of forgiveness: Not only must you forgive, but also you must forget. I know your saying to yourself, “How stupid, I can’t do that,” but isn’t forgetting part of forgiveness. If you keep bringing it up again and again as a weapon, did you really forgive that person?
2. Do you one time see Esau bringing up the past? No!
3. Folks we need to get our relationships right in order to be the servants of Christ we ought to be and that means we must not just ask forgiveness but we must learn to forget and never bring up again.