Summary: We want (maybe even expect) forgiveness from God; but when it comes to giving forgiveness, it is harder than we might think. Jesus reminds us that our receiving forgiveness hinges on our giving of it.
1. Peace Child
Missionary Don Richardson who served for many years among the primitive tribes in Papua New Guinea wrote a book entitled "The Peace Child." He writes how in translating the Scriptures into the native tribesmen language, he could find no words to express how Jesus Christ came to give His life that we might have peace with God. In his book he relates how he finally found the answer in the culture of the native people themselves.
He tells the story of two tribes in Papua New Guinea who maintained a blood feud between themselves for several generations. Each generation fought and nursed their wounds only to fight again killing and maiming more and more people. Finally after years of struggle the two tribes realized that they must stop fighting or nothing would be left of their peoples. But, what could they do to end years of warring between the two tribes?
Don Richardson goes on to tell that the chiefs of the two tribes came together and brought with them a child they called "the Peace Child". This child was the son of one of the opposing chiefs which was then adopted into the family of the other opposing chief. As long as that child lived the two chiefs promised to cease their fighting so that all could live. Don Richardson had finally found a perfect picture of God's love for us in sending the His Son, the Prince of Peace to die for us
2. Yeshua (Jesus) came to make peace between God and man; and man and man -- Ephesians 2.11-15 (AMP)
11 Therefore, remember that at one time you were Gentiles (heathens) in the flesh, called Uncircumcision by those who called themselves Circumcision, [itself a mere mark] in the flesh made by human hands. 12 [Remember] that you were at that time separated (living apart) from Christ [excluded from all part in Him], utterly estranged and outlawed from the rights of Israel as a nation, and strangers with no share in the sacred compacts of the [Messianic] promise [with no knowledge of or right in God's agreements, His covenants]. And you had no hope (no promise); you were in the world without God. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were [so] far away, through (by, in) the blood of Christ have been brought near. 14 For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both [Jew and Gentile] one [body], and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us, 15 By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled]; that He from the two might create in Himself one new man [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace.
3. Peace involves forgiveness -- Matthew 6.12
4. Forgiveness is powerful
a. Breaks the cycle of revenge
b. Brings freedom and relieves our burdens
5. Forgiveness is difficult for us
I. Forgiveness Is a Key Principle of Scripture
A. A Key Quality of God (Thankfully) -- Exodus 34.6-7
6 The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."
1. El Nose -- Forgiving God
2. From Nasa -- Bear Up -- Psalm 91.11-13
11 For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
B. A Quality for Imitation
1. Yeshua (Jesus) is the ultimate example -- Luke 23.34
2. Walk in ways of mercy/forgiveness -- Ezekiel 18.23
23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? Says the Lord, and not rather that he should turn from his evil way and return [to his God] and live?
3. Let God deal with Justice -- Romans 12.19
19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." (Cf. Deuteronomy 32.35)
a. "Reciprocal Judgment" -- Luke 6.37-38
37 "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."