Summary: The Biblical MAndate to Forgive
This morning I will be bringing forth a message on "forgiveness." I was ready to prepare a message from 1 Corinthians 2, however, as I prayed, I sensed that Spirit would have me preach on Forgiveness.
As Christians, we have so much to be thankful for, we have been forgiven of so much. And as God’s children we need to learn to exemplify our loving Savior who’s death brought us forgiveness. We need to be a forgiving people.
"What do you do when people mistreat you or
those you love? Does the fire of anger boil
within you, with leaping flames consuming
your emotions? Or do you reach somewhere-
to some source of cool water and pull out a
bucket of mercy- to free yourself? Is there
any emotion that imprisons the soul more
than the unwillingness to forgive?
Don’t get on the roller coaster of resentment
and anger. You be like the one who says,
"Yes, he mistreated me, But I am going to
be like Christ. I’ll be the one who say’s
’Forgive them, Father, they don’t know
what they are doing,’"
The first step toward forgiveness is to see
the other person as a human being, not a
source of hurt. That’s how God treated us
with mercy- he became one of us, he felt
as we feel, he understands our frustrations.
And as a result, when he hung on the cross,
he could look at those crucifying him and
ask God to forgive them.
When you forgive someone, you are as close
to God as you will ever be, because in that
forgiveness you are demonstrating the very
heart of God, if you want to draw closer to
him, then forgive someone today." Max Lucado
The very heart of God is that we would learn to forgive one another. a portion of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6 reads "And forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors." I no possible way was Jesus trying to sell a subliminal message. He was being very direct and to the point. This is not a plea of merit, but a plea of grace. Note: Those who come to God for the forgiveness of sin’s committed against him, must make conscience of the forgiving of those who have offended them, else they bring upon themselves a curse..."
Our duty is to forgive those who sin against us, who offend us, who hurt us. The practical point is that there will come times in life when a brother or a sister in the Lord will do something to offend you. There is a very practical, scriptural way to deal with it.
I would like to remind you of three principles in which we learnt through the Larry Lea videos on prayer. They are; 1). Don’t Curse It. 2). Don’t Rehearse It. 3). Don’t Nurse It.
1). Don’t Curse the Offense. The first thing in which most of us do when offended is that we react in anger. For many of us, our first reaction is to revenge the offending party to somehow right the wrong.
2). Don’t Rehearse the Offense. Have you ever observed someone who has been offended and how they will begin to rehearse the offense. They will go from one person to the next rehearsing the offense. And the offense gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and before the person knows it they are out of control, and everybody and there brother have become a part of the problem.
3). Don’t Nurse the Offense. Have you ever dwelled on something that somebody has done to wrong you. At first, it wasn’t even that big of a deal, but you just couldn’t put it to rest. You kept rehashing it, it keeps churning through your mind, and it consumes you.
No wonder Hebrew’s 12:14-15 tells us; "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled."
We must understand that when we give way to unforgiveness, and we allow it to run it’s course, we will become bitter. And bitterness, like a deadly cancer will eat away at us, and will consume us.
It Reminds me of when I was a youngster and would cut wood with my stepfather. On many occasions we would go to cut down a tree that I assumed was a healthy tree. It looked beautiful, seemed to be full of life. On an occasion I asked why we were cutting down a particular tree (besides the obvious, free fire wood). And I was told that this tree was dead inside. I really didn’t understand what he meant until the tree was on the ground and you could look right up the core of the tree because the curse of termites and ants had eaten the center of the tree out through he years. It was only a matter of time before the evidence of what was going on inside the tree became evident on the outside.