Summary: Christmas is a wonderful time of year for many. For some however, the pains that life can make the Christmas season a difficult one. In this series we will be talking about forgiving and being forgiven. (Taken from a series by the same name by Craig Groes
Christmas is For-giving Part 1 Forgiving
Introduction (taken from a series by Craig Groeschel)
Three part series- finish Christmas Eve.
Encourage people- invite friends- (Mtt 28:19-20, Eph 4:11-12).
The Christmas Season
The series is entitled- Christmas is For-giving.
We think of Christmas as a time for-giving, and yet- Christ child was born for the forgiving our sins.
Christmas- wonderful season for children- kids love it.
As we grow older/go through life, we often experience the pain that life can bring our way- some say-
-I tolerate the holidays, just try to survive.
Perhaps the events of life make the holidays difficult-
-pain of divorce, untimely death of a loved one,
-harsh words and misunderstandings, or
-you have a family in your member who is crazy
OT story- family w/much pain- story of Joseph (Gen 45)
Joseph- young man w/dreams, would tell his brothers the great things God was going to do in his life, his brothers saw him as cocky, decided to do away w/him, threw him in a pit, then decided to sell him into slavery instead, betrayed by the wife of his master and thrown into prison.
Joseph did nothing to justify the treatment he received- separated from family, loss years in slavery/prison.
Unbeknownst to Joseph- God was positioning him to become second in command in Egypt.
However- the day came for him to meet his brothers.
Joseph could contain his pain no longer.
He poured out years of hurt, pain, regret, and loss.
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Many here may have experienced pain like Joseph did.
Perhaps you have been hurt by a family member?
It is easy to slip into a cycle of continuing hurt-
hurting people, hurt people- tend to recycle pain.
Hurt and Betrayal
What do we do when we have been hurt/betrayed?
There are three biblical choices we can make- not talking about feelings- talking about choices.
You are not going to get up one morning and suddenly feel like forgiving someone who has hurt you-
more than likely you will feel like hurting them.
However- not going to do what- feelings tell us to do-
going to do what God’s Word tells us to do.
We are going to make three biblical choices-
1. Choose to pray (for those who have hurt us)
Consider Jesus Christ as our example-
at His birth Herod sought Him to kill Him, in His home town they tried to throw Him off a cliff, He was rejected by people over and over again, out of the 12 He took to mentor, one betrayed Him with a kiss, at His crucifixion, only one of the 12 showed up, Pilate found Him innocent, but turned Him over to the crowds for crucifixion, he was beaten beyond recognition.
He did nothing wrong, yet look how He responded-
Lk 23:34 … (He prayed) “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
When you are hurt, what are you going to do? Pray!
Pray what? God strike them with hemorrhoids.
What do we pray?
- Pray for God to heal their hurt
Those who hurt others- probably been hurt themselves.
- Pray for God to forgive them
That they would repent/turn to God for forgiveness.
- Pray for God to bless them
Prayer may not change them-but it will change you.
Luke 6:28 (NAS) … bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
First we choose to pray, second, even more difficult-
2. Choose to forgive
Why is this important-
Mtt 6:14-15 (NAS)
14“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Forgiveness- not an elective in Christianity.
Matthew 18:21–22 (tell story)
Peter comes to Jesus- how many times should I forgive my brother- 7 times? Jesus says, 7 x 7.
You can almost hear the pride in Peter voice- how many times should I forgive- 7!!
Jesus said, 7 x 7, or an unlimited number of times.
Ask yourself- is there someone you need to forgive?
Today we are going to make choices- we are going to choose to pray for them and then to forgive them.
How do we forgive?
If someone has hurt you, you probably-
-do not have feelings- forgiveness towards them,
-they probably do not deserve forgiveness.
How do you get to-place where you choose to forgive?
Focus on how much God has forgiven you.
You will see your stack of sins, and you will realize how much God has forgiven you.
Who have you hurt/wronged/offended?
Col 3:13 (NAS) … bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.