Summary: From a "Games People Play" series on the Sermon on the Mount, this is a message about forgiveness.
Games People Play: “Sorry!”
INTRODUCTION: "Sorry!" is a board game based on the ancient Indian game Pachisi. Players try to travel around the board with their pieces faster than any other player. The game title comes from the many ways in which a player can negate the progress of another, while issuing an apologetic "Sorry!" I used to cheat at this game with my sons when they were little, but not in my favor! I would cheat to help them do better, because it really is so hard to say “I’m sorry.” The game should be named “Sorry, but …” since the sorrow is minimized by the subsequent action. “Sorry, but I’m just doing what the card says.” (Oh yeah? Well, if you were REALLY sorry, you wouldn’t send my piece back to start!) But we hear that a lot in real life:
• "We're going in a different direction ... Sorry."
• “We’re letting you go … Sorry.”
• “I’m leaving you … Sorry.”
The implicit message is “I feel kinda bad, but really I’m justified.” And that can be true sometimes. But we get into trouble when we try to play the “Sorry, but ...” card with God. What we really mean is, “Sorry, God, but really I’m justified.”
• “I’m sorry, but the snake told me it was okay to eat that.”
• “I’m sorry, but the woman you made gave me some to eat.”
• “I’m sorry, but he was such a jerk that he deserved what I said to him.”
• “I’m sorry, but my spouse isn’t meeting my needs.”
Real sorrow, though, isn’t followed by the word “but.” It’s “I’m sorry—I’m so so sorry.” Have you ever found yourself saying that? Feeling that? What do we do when we’re truly, genuinely, desperately sorry? Sorry before God? Sorry before someone else? Sorry when it’s not a game? What do we do with that? [READ Matthew 6:9-15]
I. FORGIVENESS IS A GIFT
A. “Forgive us our debts” renders the Greek literally. Luke 11:4, however, refers to “sins,” as do vv. 14-15. Spiritual debts to God are first of all in view. Sin incurs a debt that must be discharged.
B. If you forgive someone a debt they owe you, you’ve given them a gift.
1. If someone owes you $50, and you forgive that debt, then you’ve given them a $50 gift.
2. If you owe someone $1000, and they forgive that debt, they’ve given you a $1000 gift.
3. If you owe someone your life, and they forgive that debt …
II. FORGIVENESS IS A GIFT GOD OFFERS TO US
A. Sin is likened to a debt because it deserves to be punished. But when God forgives sin, He remits the penalty and drops the charge against us.
B. [Illustration] I once got an “A” on an average paper in seminary. When the professor gave me the A, did I go back to him and say, "You ought to reread that paper. I really wasn’t that good." No! I accepted the A. Why? Because the one in authority had given me that A. It’s the same way with Jesus Christ. If I tell you you’re forgiven, that plus $3 will get you a latte. But, if Jesus tells you, “you’re forgiven,” then you’re forgiven. He’s the king at the right hand of the Father; his enemies are his footstool.