Summary: A final sermon in the "Lose the weight of ..." series. This message looks at what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. A tough message for those dealing with forgiveness issues, but a challenging one for those seeking spiritual health.
Lose the weight of unforgiveness
Purpose: To illustrate the destructive nature of unforgiveness and to give opportunity to forgive.
1. This month we’re trying to lose the weight. Hebrews 12:1, "Let us throw off everything that hinders."
2. (I started this message with a personal story of friends of ours who went through a divorce. The divorced couple stayed in the same church. They shared custody of two children. The husband’s parents were so bound in unforgiveness, that when challenged by the pastor, the divorced man’s mother said, "You don’t know what she did. If it sends me to Hell, I’ll never forgive her." This illustration was a personal one. I would suggest you start this message with a personal illustration of unforgiveness.
3. Let’s look this morning at "Losing the weight of unforgiveness."
4. Matthew 18:21-35.
1. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you forget.
· "Forgive and forget" just rolls off the tongue and we feel that if we truly forgive someone that we have to forget the incident.
· Psalm 103:12 "East and west can never meet. This is a symbolic portrait of God’s forgiveness—when he forgives our sin, he separates it from us and doesn’t even remember it. We need never wallow in the past, for God forgives and forgets. We tend to dredge up the ugly past, but God has wiped our record clean. ***If we are to follow God, we must model his forgiveness. When we forgive another, we must also forget the sin. Otherwise, we have not truly forgiven." (Life Application Bible)
· That’s a wonderful thought, but that’s not what the Scripture says. The Scripture says that God remembers our sin no more, therefore doesn’t hold it against us any more. I’ve never seen in the Word that it says that human forgiveness results in our forgetfulness.
· Cut that guilt loose. Our brains don’t blindly forget painful experiences.
2. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you’ll trust again easily.
· There is no directive in the Scripture to be gullible. While we can’t bear a grudge, we can certainly learn from past behavior and use the common sense God gave us.
· In this parable, the ruler didn’t stop the forgiven man on the way out of the throne room and say, "By the way, pal, do you need any extra cash." The man had proven that he couldn’t handle money.
· I give Scott Cherry $100 to go pick up pizzas for a big children’s rally and he goes and buys lottery tickets with the money. Can I forgive him? Yes. Will I send somebody else next time to pick up the pizzas? YES!
· Trust is difficult to rebuild. It must be earned, even when there is forgiveness. (A parent giving their teenager a little "leash" with which to prove their trustworthiness. When they prove they can handle the leash they have, they get more. When they prove they can’t handle it, they’re drawn back in a little closer)
3. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you’re to be a doormat.
· The parable doesn’t end with a final verse that says, “And from that day forward the King gave away his money to anyone who wanted it. Day after day people lined up for cash. He just couldn’t say no. He never demanded repayment and couldn’t have been happier about going completely broke.”