Summary: The ultimate proof of total forgiveness takes place when you and I sincerely petition God to let those who have hurt us off the hook, NO MATTER WHAT THEY’VE DONE!
Whenever I preached here a couple of months ago, I shared some of my testimony and I briefly touched on the subject of forgiveness and the powerful affect that it had on me.
I know that the Lord dealt with some of you in that service and about some issues in your own life.
Pastor Hanchey asked me to preach this Sunday and I began to seek the Lord’s direction and forgiveness kept coming into my mind.
There is unbelievable power in forgiveness.
There is unbelievable liberty and freedom which comes to a person through forgiveness.
If I can get one point across to you today it’s simply this, “Forgive... and Set YOURSELF Free!”
You hold the power to your own freedom in your grasp today.
It’s the power of forgiveness.
I’ll never forget the words of my therapist, Nanette, when she said, “Robbie, you simply need to forgive and you can be free.”
It wasn’t what I was expecting to hear.
It certainly wasn’t what I was wanting to hear.
And at that time in my life, it wasn’t even what I thought that I needed to hear.
You see, for 17 years of my life, I had been battling addiction and alcoholism and my life had been completely ruined by it.
In my sick, tormented mind, I thought that drugs were my major problem.
I had absolutely no understanding that drugs were only a symptom of the real killer living inside of me.
I was absolutely filled with shame and guilt caused by years of reckless living.
Yet, I thought that all of that would just go away if I was able to get off of the drugs.
So when Nanette told me to “forgive and I’d be free”, she really had my head spinning.
I didn’t understand how that could possibly make any difference at all in my addiction, which was the reason I was in the facility to begin with.
But that’s because I didn’t yet understand the power of Total Forgiveness.
I laid in the bed of my apartment in that treatment facility that night and I wept bitter tears until the wee hours of the morning.
I remember wrestling within myself about what she had told me that day.
Forgive... Forgive... Forgive...
I didn’t understand what she meant.
Here was a lady, who by her own admission, was not a Christian, yet she was telling me about forgiveness.
I was in shock.
I THOUGHT I knew all about it.
I’d been raised in church and the word forgiveness was SPOKEN of often, yet it was something that I rarely saw practiced.
I didn’t really have a clue, as to the meaning, nor the power of Total Forgiveness.
So in my bed that night, as I tossed around and wept, I asked God to please help me.
Help me to understand what she meant and help me to better understand the act of forgiveness.
When I sincerely began praying about it, revelation began to come into my spirit and for the first time in my life, I began to have a glimpse of forgiveness.
Over the next few months I began working on a process of forgiveness... Total Forgiveness.
When I began to totally forgive, I finally felt forgiven.
You can’t buy that feeling, nor can you find it anywhere else.
She was right.
I found freedom from drugs and alcohol, simply through the power of forgiveness and by the Grace of God.
God has sent me today with a message, “Forgive and Set YOURSELF Free!”
You say, “But Brother Robbie, I’m not an addict or an alcoholic, so this message isn’t gonna be for me.”
I didn’t come today to talk about addiction.
I’m simply talking about the act of Total Forgiveness.
If you are harboring any resentments or bitterness, then you are bound by the bonds of unforgiveness.
You may feel like it’s impossible for you to forgive that one who’s hurt you so deeply.
That one who’s betrayed you.
The individual who took advantage of your kindness.
Those who have talked about you and lied about you and those who’ve believed the lies.
Often closer to home, there are unkind or unloving relatives and former close friends who’ve become your enemies.
The list of offenses and offenders is endless.
Many times we find that it’s easier to forgive, when our offender has paid a penalty and is on their knees in a show of repentance for the offense.
But remember at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ, no one seemed very sorry.
There was no “JUSTICE” at His trial - If you can even call it a trial.
Rather, the crowd shouted, “Crucify Him!” Mark 15:13.
They hurled insults at Him.
They spat upon Him.
He was beaten senseless, until the flesh literally hung off of his body and His blood pooled around Him on the ground.