Summary: Many people come to church unable to worshp freely because they are busy nursing wounds and hurts from the past. The only remedy for freedom is forgiveness.
FORGIVENESS IS NOT AN OPTION
Preached October 25, 2009
The mother of four young boys often had difficulty curbing their energy, especially in church. But when her minister preached on "turning the other cheek," the boys gave him their undivided attention. “No matter what others do to us,” he said, “we should never try to ‘get even.’” That afternoon the youngest boy came into the house crying. Between sobs he said he’d kicked one of his brothers, who then kicked him in return. "I’m sorry you’re hurt," his mother said. "But you shouldn’t go around kicking people." Still choking back tears, he replied, "But the preacher said he isn’t supposed to kick me back."
Which brother do you most identify with? Was it the one who did the kicking or the one who got kicked. Truth be told, I think more than a few of us would like to have been the one who kicked back!
Many of us can tell stories of being hurt. Maybe it was a lie spoken by a friend; You may have been hurt because the Pastor broke a promise to meet you at Tim Horton’s, even though he was busy ministering to a family that just lost a loved one. Perhaps you felt betrayed by a family member.
I think we al know someone who just cannot let go of the past. Some of the hurts happened 10, 20, 30, even 40 years ago. When you listen to some you would think the offense occurred last week!
It is not hard to understand how people ca hold on for so long a period of time. After all, you and I both know that internal wounds are much more serious than external ones. For example, you don’t remember the cuts, scrapes, and bruises you got on the playground as a kid, but I bet you remember the painful words that were said to you. We remember emotional wounds a lot longer than physical ones. Why? Because we rehearse those hurts in our mind over and over again. We replay the tape over again in our minds.
I do not mean to make light of your hurt or pain. There is not a person in this room, who has not been affected by the pain of hurt, betrayal or offense.
All I am saying is, that’s the wrong way to respond. In fact it’s dumb. Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life. The one thing that will hinder a person from living in that abundant joy, is resentment, bitterness, and anger cause by holding on to offense.
Why would you want to miss out on God’s best for your life by holding onto your past hurts?
How does a person who has been hurt let go, and let God? You know you should let it go, but you hold on to the hurt as tenaciously as a dog holds on to a piece of steak.
P.S. There’s only one way to get past your hurt and pain: The only antidote for those hurts is forgiveness.
Would you take your Bibles and turn to Colossians 3:12-14. Read along with me as Paul gives some sage adviceto the believers,
12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
In order toknow what it means to live a lfe of forgivness, you must first of all understand,….
1. God loves you and has chosen you as His own special people
In verse 12 of this passage, God commands that we “clothe” ourselves or literally, that we ‘put on’ or “envelope” ourselves with some new clothes. Paul is not talking about physical dress. He uses this metaphor to contrast the believers life now with how he lived before becoming a Christian.
Look at verse 5, Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Paul Paul reminds the Colossian believers that,
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Paul uses the image of clothes to emphasize the change of life, focus and direction the believer has in following Christ.
In “The Message”, it says it this way: “Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you
If you have truly submitted yourself to the lordship of Jesus Christ in your life, then you are called to gladly wear the wardrobe that He has picked out for you.