Summary: Forgiveness is a healing process. It clears the way for a person to move forward.
Forgiveness is the Pits
Matthew Chapter 18:21-35
I want to talk a moment about forgiveness, and of course un-forgiveness.
I want to look at:
What it is, what it is not.
How it affects you and those who have wronged you.
What it does for you and what it will do to you if you don’t forgive.
We see that Peter approaches Jesus with the question- How many times Lord should we forgive? Seven times?
He thought he would be okay and really show maturity by saying seven. Jesus says 70x7. That is 490 times.
What He is saying to us is not necessarily the number of times, but showing that we should forgive them.
He goes into a parable explaining a servant dragged in by his master for an extreme debt. The servant fell on his knees asking for forgiveness, saying that he would pay him back in full and asking for mercy. The master took pity on him and cancelled the debt. Did you get that. He took mercy and the debt was erased. That same one forgiven left there and found one of his servants and demanded him to pay back a small amount or be thorn into prison until he paid it. He refused to forgive the debt. When others saw this they approached their master who had forgiven his debt, and he became mad that happened. He reversed his decision and had him thrown into prison.
That story today would be the same. We see people today hurting each other, not showing mercy but quick to always throwing the hammer down on each other.
Hurting people hurt people
I will never forgive him/her”. “You don’t know what they did to me.
As Christians God expects us to handle it different.
Being Christian has never been about being better than others.
Being Christian has always been about being different.
Christians should understand the great cost of our forgiveness. It wasn’t easy. It took Jesus to the cross, it cost Him his life. It is not holier than thou, better than you- it is gratitude of coming to Jesus with a debt we could not pay and us being forgiven. Then living a life like that to others.
The story of Joseph and the wrong that was done to him is an example of forgiveness. Thrown in a pit and left to die, yanked up and sold as a slave by his own brothers.
Life is the pits when bad things happen to us.
Life is the pits when people you trust do you wrong.
You can either live with un-forgiveness in that pit, and be miserable, or you can rise above the circumstance and be determined that the actions of others are not going to affect how you will live your life.
The Bible is full of passages telling us to forgive. Sermon on the mount, The Prodical Son.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
If you are offering a gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift at the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift.
If I had to catagorize myself as a preacher, I would say for the most part I am a topical, application preacher. When I read God’s words, I want to apply it to my life.
What good is learning something if it cannot be applied.
So what is forgiveness?
Typically defined as a process for getting rid of resentment, indignation, or anger as a result of a personal offense, difference, or mistake, and ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.
Oxford dictionary defines it as “grant free pardon.”
Forgiveness is a pardon.
That is why Peter in this passage thought that if he told Jesus seven times that God would be pleased, and was surprised that Jesus said 70 x7.
Freedom and forgiveness comes at a price.
Freedom because someone else paid the price.
Forgiveness because Jesus paid the price.
One died for our country. One died for your soul
For you to truly understand forgiveness, you have to understand God’s forgiveness.
Before Jesus can say I forgive you, it cost Him something.
It cost him to die on the cross, buried, and being resurrected by God the Father.
The price had to be paid.
The ledger for us then can be wiped clean.
Before we are able to forgive, we must understand how much we have been forgiven so that with God’s help we can wipe the slate clean for those who have wronged us.
Hang with me a minute. I can see you saying, what about this What about that
What forgiveness is not
Forgiveness is not easy, but we, make it harder sometimes by trying to fool ourselves.