Summary: This is the world’s thinking turned on its head! The world will tell you, "Happy is the man who insists on his rights" and "Happy is the man who thinks of himself". . . but JESUS SAYS. . . *HANDOUT INCLUDED*

Mt 5:1 ¶ And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.

2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 ¶ "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

12 "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

5. The world says: Happy is the man who insists on his rights.

You’ve seen this message. Just take your Yellow Pages, turn to the section (the very LARGE section) called “Attorneys.” You’ll read things like:

- “Don’t do anything until you’ve talked to a lawyer who knows your rights!”

- “Standing with you to protect your rights.”

- “Don’t get cheated! Know your rights.”

Now, I’m not saying that this is wrong – there is a place in society for this kind of thing. I’m just demonstrating that this is the message that our culture sends us each day. From getting all you can in a settlement for a car accident, to suing McDonald’s when you spill coffee on yourself, our culture is not tuned in to forgiveness, it’s tuned in to rights and revenge.

It’s like the guy who was on his deathbed, and his son asked him if he’d forgiven all his enemies. He said, “Why I don’t have any enemies – I shot them all!”

BUT JESUS SAYS: Happy is the man who forgives, for he will find forgiveness.

Forgiveness is NOT an option if you are going to be a follower of Jesus! Look at these verses from the New Testament:

□ "For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy" (James 2:13).

□ "So also my heavenly Father will do to everyone of you; if you do not forgive your brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:35)

□ The Lord’s Prayer is followed by these two verses which explain: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:12,14,15).

□ "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)

It is the consistent teaching of the New Testament that indeed only the merciful shall receive mercy.

What is forgivness?

Forgiveness is NOT:

- Letting people walk over you.

- Refusing to press charges. (Our country does have laws that must be enforced!)

- Forgetting. You’ve heard that one? “Forgive and forget!”

Forgiveness IS:

- Giving up your right to hurt them back.

There are lots of ways to get people back. . . there are the obvious ways: legal action, physically hurting them, hurting someone they love.

Then there are the sneaky ways: gossip, lies, silent treatment, withholding something they like. . .

Forgiveness means giving up your right to hurt them back.

Forgiveness is not easy. In fact, you’ll never be able to do it without God’s help. To forgive someone isn’t natural. . . we don’t do it automatically.

In his book. Lee: The Last Years, Charles Bracelen Flood reports that after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss. After a brief silence, Lee said, "Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it."

I’ve got news for you: If you want to be truly happy, and you’ve been hanging on to that hurt from the past, you’ve got to let it go! Jesus was right – happy is the man who forgives.

If you’ve been wanting God to forgive you, and you’re hanging on to the right to hurt someone back who hurt you, you’ve got to let it go!

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