Summary: Forgiveness is a gift we receive and a gift we give to others.
Title: Give Forgiveness
Text: Ephesians 4:30-32
Thesis: Forgiveness is a gift we give to others…
Tim McGraw’s hit song Live Like You Were Dying, is the springboard for the current series of messages. The song is the story of a man who learned he was dying of a fatal disease and what he learned about living his final days well. It is a song about what he found to be important and how he hoped everyone could have the chance to live like they only had thirty days to live.
The series is based on the materials provided for the Live Like You Were Dying Church Campaign Resource Kit available from WWW.LLYWD.ORG. In addition to the suggested sermon titles and general outlines, I have attempted to cite any other specific references lifted from the resources.
We are beginning our fourth week in our Live Like You Were Dying series.
• The first week we talked about how it is we can begin to live like we were dying… how it is we can begin to make the most of the days and the relationships God gives us.
• The second week we talked about speaking sweeter.
• Last week we talked about loving deeper.
Let’s begin by taking a moment to watch “The Rock.”
Video Clip: “The Rock” (Live Like You Were Dying, DVD Resource)
Many of us can relate to that video clip… some of us have carried rocks of bitterness and unforgiveness in with us today. The question for us today is this, “Are you going to pick up your rock and carry it out with you when you go, or are you going to let it go and leave it?”
Today we are going to talk about letting it go, about giving forgiveness.
This is a great day. It is a day of opportunity. “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
When I go to the bank to make a deposit, I fill out a deposit slip. If I am depositing a check in our checking account, I write the amount of the check on the deposit slip and give it to the cashier along with the endorsed check. That amount is then deposited into our checking account.. When that money is placed in our account… it is then available for Bonnie and me to use. We can squander it or we can spend it wisely.
God has made a deposit in your life account today. God has given you another 24-hours to live. God has given you this day… but it is not deposited in a savings account. You can’t bank this day for later use. It is more like a spending account… It is more like a great giveaway. But rather than having to give away $100,000 in 8 hours, you have 24 hours to tick away 1,440 minutes one by one.
So it is important that we be sensitive to the enormity of this gift. So pray ever day, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
We would be wise to give thought to seizing this day as an opportunity to let go of any bitterness you hold in your heart.
We are amazingly and wonderfully made. We have the capacity to love deeply. But we also have the capacity to hurt deeply. (Live Like You Were Dying, Give Forgiveness, Part 4, Page 2)
And it would seem that having loved deeply and then been hurt serves to exacerbate the pain of the offense… sometimes beyond our perceived limits for forgiveness. Sometimes we feel so injured, betrayed, or abandoned… sometimes the wound is so scathing that there is no way to heal it. Time does not heal such wounds. They may not be open festering wounds but the scab never quite heals over before we peal it away and reopen the wound.
Last year about this time, I was in severe discomfort. Something was wrong, so I went through a rather prolonged diagnostic process that eventually led to an MRI, which revealed a cyst on my spine. It was not the most delightful discovery ever made but it was good to know what it was and what had to be done. The cyst had to be removed or I would soon discover how truly miserable life could be.
X-Rays, MRIs, and CT Scans are helpful diagnostic tools to looking inside to see just what it is that is unhealthy and hurtful. Interestingly enough, we cannot order X-Rays, MRIs, or CT Scans for the other person. We can only take a look at ourselves. If we wait for the other person to get well and ask our forgiveness, we may carry our bitterness all the way to the grave