Summary: Forgiveness cause us to live in victory instead of the burden of guilt or shame. knowing hurting people hurt people we see an opportunity to love like Christ.
Forgiving is living
Matthew Chapter 18:21-35
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.”
This verse does not tell us to get rid of some of your bitterness.
Does not tell us that we have special circumstances with our rage compared to someone else’s.
Does not tell us to be kind only to those that are friends of ours and family.
It ends with a command to forgive as Christ forgave you.
We started a series on holiness last week.
Holiness is not human perfection- being better than anyone else.
It is striving to be Christ-like in everything that we do.
It is allowing God into your life in every area of your life.
Let’s take an honest look at forgiveness and un-forgiveness.
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 categorize 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.