Summary: This sermon deals with forgiveness as our road to freedom. (Video/audio version of this sermon available on our website at

I Choose To Be Free

Genesis 50:15:21 Ephesians 4:29-32 Matthew 18:21-35

(I’m in debted to Andy Stanley from his Book "It Came From Within" for some of the general concepts listed in this sermon"

"I also used a video clip on forgiveness from to really introduce the message entitled How Often"

Today I want us to look at the choice to be free from the hurt someone else inflicted in our lives. When I was nine years old, I was tricked by a family friend who must have been eighteen or so. He told me at the time that he had some girls waiting for us. At age nine I thought I knew something about sex so I was eager to go and meet these girls.

Well when we got there to this place, there were no girls, and instead this family friend ending up sexually abusing me. He told me if I never told anyone he would give me some money. But since he let me go at about 4 in the morning. When my grandmother asked me where I had been, thinking I was at my aunt’s house, and I told her I had been with Br. She knew immediately what had happened.

The news spread through our small town like wild fire. His father begged my mother not to press charges, and since the family were such good friends she did not. There was a time when I didn’t know what hurt more, the night of the event or the teasing that I got for months and even years afterwards by some of my family members by the comments that were made.

Each one of us here today, have a day in our lives that we wish had never happened and for some of us its been a series of days. There are many of you here who know what’s it like to have sexually abused. It was even was even worse when it was done by someone you trusted. Someone who should have been there to protect.

Some of you here know the pain of not having your mother or your father be a part of your lives. Some of you had parents you wished you never had. Some of you have children that have brought you untold grief and suffering. Some of you have been hurt by the vicious rumors and gossip of others. Some of you gave years of your lives to a company and was gotten rid of in the twinkling of an eye in a cruel and unjust way. Some of you know what it’s like to be made fun of at school day in and day out. Some of you have a physical attribute that others laugh at and make fun of regularly. It never feels good when they do and it’s never really funny.

Some of you have been devastated by your parent’s divorce, and now it seems like the parent that left doesn’t care what happens to you. Some of you gave all you had to make your marriage work, and the other person still betrayed you. They never send back money to help with the kids. Though our circumstances may have been different, we have all arrived at this place in which we want our payback. We want what was taken away from us restored.

In all of these situations somebody has created a huge debt in our lives and we want to be repaid. Somebody stole your right to have a mother and father in your life as you were growing up. Somebody stole your virginity. Somebody stole your marriage. Somebody stole your self esteem. Somebody stole your job. Somebody stole your home. Somebody stole your dreams for your child. Somebody stole your reputation.

Somebody stole your opportunity and your chance to get ahead. Yes there is a huge debt that somebody owes specifically to us. Chances are we know who that somebody is. Sometimes we have to look at them everyday. We know that they owe us, and they act as though nothing should be repaid. We should just go on as normal.

This is a problem that’s been going on in human nature from biblical days. Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples. Somebody had hurt Peter, and the person had done it more than once. Peter had heard Jesus talk about love and forgiveness. Peter was struggling with this thing, so he asked Jesus, “Lord how many times must I forgive my brother when he does me wrong. Should I do it up to seven times?”

Now Peter was trying to be generous because up to that time, three times was more than enough as far as everyone else was concerned. Even the religious leaders of his day had agreed that at three times you had done very well. Perhaps Peter knew the number 7 represented perfection.

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