Summary: Too many times we expect God’s forgiveness, but find it hard or difficult to forgive others. However, this message reminds us that we must always be willing to forgive.
A. Tis the season to be jolly
1. Itfs the season of love, joy, and peace on earth, good will toward men
a. Itfs also the season of long lines, credit cards, traffic jams, and short fuses
b. Many grow depressed or irritable
c. While some are saying, gJesus is the reason for the season,h others are saying, gGET OUT OF MY WAY!h
2. Letfs face it, though, we can get just as irritated other times of the year as well
a. Surely, on more than one occasion, someone has said something to you that rubbed you the wrong made
b. Made a comment that hurt worse than a knife in the back
c. Gave you an icy stare
d. Did something that hoped the worst for the other person
3. Letfs be honest„Ÿwefve all done things that irritated someone else
a. After all, Jesus was perfect and He did things that caused people to dislike Him„Ÿeven hate Him
b. so much so that they wanted to put Him to death„Ÿeven the most tortorous kind of death they knew
c. You and I arenft perfect, so Ifm sure that wefve done something that has rubbed someone the wrong way
ILL> I learned something while we were sitting around the turkey with my family. My oldest brother Jim is kind of like the Apostle Peter in our family. Not because he is a great preacher, even though he has preached a sermon on a few occasions, but because he is the one that seems to speak first and think later.
One time several years ago, Jim and my other brother Dave were walking to high school. A car came up behind them and even swerved into the yard where they were walking and acted like they were going to hit them. My brother Jim got mad and started running after the car. Unfortunately for the driver, he was behind the wheel of a Corvair„Ÿnot a corvette. Corvair were never fast even when they were new, so my brother had no trouble catching up to the car. He then opened the door and grabbed the driver by the collar on his shirt. Thatfs about the time Dave got there and he said the guys eyes were as big as silver dollars. The driver looked at Jim and said, gMan, are you crazy!h
d. Ifm not sure what happened after that, but maybe the guy did learn a well-deserved lesson.
B. But isnft that how we would like to act many times„Ÿinstant justice
1. When somebody does something that wrongs us, we want revenge
a. You may walk on the other side of the room when they are around
b. You may give them icy stares
c. You may ignore them when they try to speak to you
d. You may hold a grudge
e. That grudge may actually grow into hatred.
f. We may even want to see them pay„Ÿget what we feel they deserve
2. How long do you make them pay until you finally get over it?
a. What do they need to do before youfll treat them with respect and love them again as a brother or sister?
b. Do they need to beg your forgiveness?
œ Be publicly humiliated?
œ Suffer some tragedy?
c. When will the score finally be settled?
I> HOW MANY TIMES?
A. That seems to be Peterfs question„Ÿhow far do I have to go in forgiving someone
1. VS 21
2. If someone has offended me, how many times should I be willing to forgive him?
a. Jewish law stated that you should forgive someone three times
b. Well, Peter had been around Jesusf teaching enough to know to go the extra mile
c. So, Peter doubles that amount and even adds one for good measure
d. gUp to seven times?h
3. Peter is probably feeling pretty good about himself
a. He probably thinks that Jesus will be impressed by his willingness to forgive someone 7 times
b. „Ÿbut Jesus is not impressed
c. VS 22 - or 70 times 7
4. Jesus is not saying that you should keep tabs on your mercy and forgive 77 times or even 490 times
a. Hefs saying that there should be no end to your mercy and grace
b. You should always be willing to forgive a brother when you have been offended
c. And herefs the real kicker„Ÿwe should be willing to forgive even when the other person does not ask for it or even deserve it
II> THE CAUSE OF HATRED
A. Wait a minute that doesnft seem fair
1. What about the mean things people have said to me or about me
a. What about my spouse who ran off with someone else?
b. What about the boss who fired me for no reason?