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Summary: Why is it that the hardest people to forgive are often those we love the most???

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Forgiving Our Family

Matt. 18:23-35

Today I want to address the first of the Giant issues in the family... Forgiveness.

It seems ironic, crazy even, that we would ha ve to talk about forgiving our wife, our husband, or kids, our parents, our siblings. These are the people we love! You would think that forgiving these people, those that we love the most, those to whom we are the closest would come naturally... because we love them.

But it just ain't so!! In fact, sometimes, the people we have the hardest time forgiving are the very ones we love the most. How can that be?

I guess part of it is that these are the last people in the world we would ever expect to hurt us. These are the ones we trust the most and with whom we are the most vulnerable. So, I guess, any hurt by them, is tantamount to treason.

Or maybe we are so accustomed to being so honest with them, not acting a part... that we just let our true self come out.

If it were our boss, or our co-worker we would not dare speak to them with such venom ... out of fear or manners.

But at home we don't have the same fear or feel the need to worry about manners.

For whatever reason, it is still true... we often have the hardest time forgiving the people we love the most.

I have seen marriages torn apart because of unforgiveness. I have known siblings that do not speak to each other.

As we consider the lesson for today, I would point out that these two persons were in a relationship.

You may think it was just a creditor/borrower relationship and not very personal.

My only point is that was a relationship.

For our lesson today I am talking about the closest earthly relationships... family.

1. Acknowledge that you have been seriously hurt.

The story does not record it, but the king certainly told the man, "You owe me 10,000 talents."

He acknowledged the amount of the debt.

We need to acknowledge... to ourselves, to the offender and to God... that we have been hurt.

Usually, we try to act like we have not been hurt.

It is as though we think if we show our hurt... then they win and we lose.

But if we don't let them know they hurt us... they don't win... or at least they don't know they win.

Too often we harbor hurts, in the family, because we do not confront the person and let them know we were hurt.

Sometimes they don't even know they hurt us. If they knew, they would be sorry.

So, step one is... confront them and let them know that you are hurt.

2.Surrender your right to get even.

- The mother ran into the bedroom when she heard her seven­ year-old son scream. She found his two-year-old sister pulling his hair. She gently released the little girl's grip and said, comfortingly to the boy, "There, there. She didn't mean it. She doesn't know that hurts." He nodded his acknowledgement, and she left the room.

As she started down the hall the little girl screamed. Rushing back in, she asked, "What happened?"

The little boy replied, "She knows now."

It is so natural for us to want to get even... get revenge.

If we don't get even, we feel that the other person won or got away with something.

We don't want to let them off the hook. But if we could just stop and think... when they hurt you, what would you say about them?

They are mean... they are selfish... they are idiots...

Well, then when you do something to them in return... what does it say about you?

You are mean too... you are selfish too... you are an idiot too?

Retaliation just makes you even... the same. Do you want to be even... or above?

When we forgive, we just let go of... surrender our right to be even.

Forgiveness brings FREEDOM

Freedom to enjoy the good things in life

Every time we remember a hurt, and refuse to forgive it... it is like putting a rubber band on your hand... it makes it hard to reach up.

All the best fruit on a tree are at the top.

If your arm was tied down to your side, you could not get the good fruit. You would have to settle for what was on the ground.

If your arm was tied here (at elbow) you could only reach the bottom fruit.

If your arms could go only as high as your shoulder, you could reach higher... but not the best.

When we refuse to forgive... we restrict our ability to reach the best fruits in our relationship.

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