Summary: Unforgiveness can keep you in bondage.
March 8, 2015
Text: Matthew 18:21-35
Title: Gaining Freedom Through Forgiveness
One night last week I was awakened, I assume by the Holy Spirit, and I got out of bed to write down these words; “Unforgiveness is bondage”.
So I took the Lord’s lead and began to prepare the sermon for this week on forgiveness – or really on unforgiveness…
Then I read the devotional for Friday morning.
Let me read it for you in case you didn’t have a chance.
Power of Forgiveness
Here are four things you need to know about forgiveness: (1) Forgiveness doesn’t make what happened to you right, it means you’ve made a decision not to let it control your life. By forgiving and attempting to restore the relationship, you reclaim your peace of mind. If the other person refuses to acknowledge what happened or that it was wrong, the offense can and should still be forgiven. Forgiveness doesn’t depend on the other person; it depends on you. (2) Forgiveness matters, even when the offending party refuses to admit guilt. When you wait for someone to admit he or she was wrong, you’re placing your future in that person’s hands. Forgiveness is first and foremost for your own benefit, not the benefit of others. By forgiving, you’re letting the pain and hurt go and moving forward. (3) Your willingness to forgive can move the other person to seek forgiveness. Perhaps the person who hurt you doesn’t feel they deserve to be forgiven. Or they may know what they did was wrong, but lack the courage to step forward and ask for forgiveness. When you make the first move, it opens the door and allows them to reach out and find mercy and understanding. (4) Forgiveness is easier when you accept that we all need it. When you refuse to forgive because you think someone’s offenses are greater than your own, that’s pride. And “God opposes the proud but favors the humble” (1Pe 5:5 NLT). The Bible says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Once you realize the depth of God’s grace toward you, it’s easier to extend grace to others.
I want to read a passage to you from Matthew 18. I want to focus on verse 21-22; and 35.
Matthew 18:21-35 (NKJV)
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.'