Summary: If we have not understood the forgiveness which God has shown us, we will not be able to forgive others and we will be ineffective in our spiritual relationship with God and others.

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The Hard Sayings of Jesus - Matthew 6:14-15

If You Don’t Forgive Neither Will My Father

About four years ago I jumped off a garage roof carrying a chainsaw that was still running.

Those who were here will remember I was on crutches for a few weeks … and hobbling for a long while after that.

Those who weren’t here and want to know the crazy story can ask me later.

But here is the strange thing.

Even now, years later, I can be doing nothing and the pain in my ankle will come back.

Or, my mind can wonder to that day and that moment, and the hurt that I was feeling will all of the sudden come back in my ankle and be just as real.

It is like the hurt never stops.

Physical pain works like that … doesn’t it.

But so does emotional, verbal and abusive pain.

There are many parents who love their children and treat them well.

But there are many parents who do not.

You hear parents say some terrible things to their children.

That they are useless and will amount to nothing.

That they are never helpful and always in the way.

If only you were like your sister you would have a better life.

This, and so much more.

It has an impact … a very negative impact that can last for years.

There can be times when relationships are broken, often as a result of poor communication.

One person has had a hard day at work - they have had a fall-out with a work colleague. So they come home from the hard day and brood.

Not saying anything, just shutting down.

The other person in that relationship is struggling with self-worth. They just need to talk and be encouraged.

But they face a partner who is shut down and brooding. “What have I done?” “Maybe I am to blame?”

The cycle continues. Break-down occurs. Hurts build up. The pain grows.

That is just two examples among 1000.

To get the most out of this message today I want you to identify your hurt.

Not out loud … just to yourself.

You’re thinking of that event, or moment, or person, or situation which, even after an extended period of time, still creates pain.

Like my ankle.

You could just be doing nothing … and suddenly the hurt comes back.

You could find yourself thinking about it … and the hurt hits as if new.

It doesn’t even need to be an old hurt. Maybe it is recent … or happening right now.

What is your hurt? You fill in the space as to what that is.

… …

Now we are going to read some verses from Scripture.

To make sure we have the context we are going to read Matthew 6:9-15

The context is prayer … specifically Jesus teaching the disciples what to pray.

In that prayer Jesus teaches a petition

12 And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matthew 6:12

Then just to be sure we really understand what this petition means Jesus clarifies with these words.

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:14-15

Now think about the space where you are hurt.

And take what Jesus is saying here and lay it over that space.

Jesus is saying that:-

The measure of forgiveness you show to others

Is the measure of forgiveness God uses when He is dealing with you.

You can see why we have included this verse in the “Hard Sayings of Jesus” can’t you.

We are the ones who have been hurt. We are the ones who have been sinned against.

Maybe it was a verbal attack … or an emotional attack.

Maybe we have been betrayed … or at the receiving end of a deceitful scheme.

Whatever the case it was unwarranted. Unfair. Unnecessary.

What's is our natural response in such a situation?

Do you kick yourself for not retaliating when you had the chance?

Do you remember the insignificant things the person has done to you, and magnify them?

Do you begin to plan your response for any future attacks by that person?

There is a list of responses.

And it wouldn’t surprise me if, for many of us, the response of “forgive them” is quite a way down the list.

It is hard to forgive when we have been hurt.

Because, honestly, a lot of us have been on the receiving end of some pretty horrific pain, abuse, suffering, disparagement, distress and grief.

Now I realize that the issue of forgiveness raises a whole lot of questions.

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