MATTHEW 6:14-15 “I CHOOSE TO FORGIVE – PART 3”
A) If you’re wondering how to heal the past and get some forward momentum going,
the answer is without a doubt, forgiveness.
* I know you’ve heard that word before, but don’t knock it until you have really tried
it according to the principles of God’s Word.
* Forgiveness is much easier to say than to accomplish, yet it is a God-given mandate
that brings incredible healing.
B) Please remember, we are the followers of Christ, and our Lord has commanded
us to stay busy in this matter of forgiveness.
* How about a quick review of Jesus’ teaching on the subject?
* Jesus on Forgiveness – Mark 11:25 ....... Luke 6:37 ....... Matt. 6:12 .......
C) Wow – Are you ready for that? – Those are some pretty significant statements.
* Let me do this one more time ... You think about the ways that you’ve failed God.
* Have you thought of them? ... Now pray this, “God, I want You to forgive me the way
that I forgive other people.”
D) Where would you be if the Lord chose to forgive you as you forgive others?
* Somehow God is keeping track of the way that we forgive and the degree to which we
forgive, and He is measuring His forgiveness back to us in the same portion. – Yikes!
E) But Jesus didn’t simply talk about forgiveness .......
* He modeled it in His every¬day life ... Let me give you just a couple of examples:
* From the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1–11) to His final words on the cross in
Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
* Jesus was, and is all about forgiveness – How about you?
F) If you profess to be a follower of Jesus Christ, are you all about forgiveness?
* No doubt there are countless people who have injured you – They have said false things
about you – They have wounded you with their actions and reactions.
* Maybe the hardship came from a supervisor at work, or a neighbor across the street,
or a teacher in school – Maybe it came from another church member .......
G) But regardless of where it came from, the fallout from unforgiveness is huge.
* It’s huge, and nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the home.
* So much of the anger and strife that exists in the family today is rooted in people’s
unwillingness to forgive.
H) I want to be really clear about what I mean by forgiveness.
* It’s important for us to be on the same page if we’re going to get anywhere,
so here’s our working definition.
* Forgiveness is a decision to release a person from the obligation that resulted when
they injured you.
ILLUSTRATION OF DOING SOMEONE WRONG
A) Imagine for a moment that I dumped a bowl of breakfast cereal in Libby’s
lap for no other reason than to aggravate her.
* Of course that would be wrong, and as a result of my choice to injure my wife,
there would be an existing obligation – In a sense I would owe her.
* I did something that was not right, and now I am in debt to her.
B) Of course the matters that separate in families are much more serious than
a cereal spill .......
* But the silliness shows the simplicity of the choice we must make in matters more severe.
C) My wife would be faced with two choices: Either she could become bitter
and suffer over the wrong done against her .......
* Or she could release me from the obligation that resulted when I injured her.
* That is the essence of forgiveness – A decision to release a person from the obligation
that resulted when they injured you.
D) My prayer is that, as you listen to me today, God will reveal whom you need
to forgive ... The specifics of that forgiveness .......
* And that you will then make a choice to forgive them – Are you up for the challenge?
IN MY YEARS OF MINISTRY
A) In the past 21 years as pastor of CHCC, I have frequently faced the fact that
the only way forward is forgiveness.
* Waiting for the person to figure it out has produced only silence and greater tension
* Demanding that I be heard or heeded in a matter of injustice has only made things worse.
B) Appealing to third parties for sympathy and affirmation of my just cause has
taken me further into self-pity and self-justification.
* We are not without fault in most matters needing our forgiveness.
* The only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing that has promised and actually provided
a way forward is forgiveness ... Forgiveness is the only way to freedom.
C) Until they see their sin, it remains between me and God.
* But in heartfelt recognition of my own need for grace I say: “You don’t owe me.”
* “You don’t have to come back or make it right, or even hear my offense.”
D) “If you do come to see it, I will treat you with kindness, but if you never do, I will
think of you with appreciation where possible, or at least acceptance.”
* “I have been forgiven much, and I choose to forgive you ... You may have meant it for
evil – God knows your heart, and He meant it for good.”
* “He has used you in my life to show my faults, grow my character, and increase my faith.”
E) “I forgive you, I release you, and I am cultivating a heart of love toward you.”
* “I pray for God to bless you, and encourage you, and show you favor.”
* “I don’t need to be best friends, I’m not ready to trust you completely or expose myself
again to your selfish conduct, but I do forgive you.”
* “I won’t bring these matters up to you, or to others, or with God’s help, to myself.”
F) “I am walking out of this prison of imagining you’re paying for what you have
done, and I am not coming back.”
* “I am rejoicing today that your sin is under the same Savior as mine, and that you are
no more undeserving of God’s forgiveness than I am.”
* “I pray for the opportunity to relate to you in a matter reflective of this decision.”
* “Tonight at dinner, tomorrow as the day begins, wherever, and as often as our paths may
cross, I will see and speak to you as God does to me – Forgiven.”
“BUT PREACHER, THAT’S JUST TOO HARD TO DO”
A) I know that – It may be hard – But it’s not impossible.
* Forgiveness is a decision that I have to make – It’s a choice – I choose to forgive.
* So I forget the past and I choose to forgive.
* I am to forgive as God forgives me – And if I don’t forgive, neither will God forgive
me – And that’s my motivation to forgive others.
B) I told you last week that I choose forgiveness because forgiveness has no limits.
* Peter was trying to put a limit to forgiveness – Turn over to Matthew 18.
* Peter (You got to love him) put a limit to forgive to 7 times (v.21)
* And he thought he would blow the Lord’s mind if he offered forgiveness to the person
that sinned against him over and over to 7 times – But Jesus said in v.22 .......
C) Maybe we limit forgiveness like Peter did on how many times we’ll forgive.
* But you cannot put a limit on forgiveness, not according to the Bible.
* In fact, Jesus wanted to make sure they got this that He goes into this amazing parable
here starting in Matthew 18:23 .......
* A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning – Let me illustrate .......
D) 10,000 talents – Do you know how much that is? – 1 talent was 20 years wages.
* Let’s say that an experienced laborer makes 50K a year – So 20 years of income @ 50K
a year is how much money? ... 1 million dollars – That’s one talent.
* So 1 talent is 1 million dollars, how much is 10,000 talents? – 10 billion dollars.
* Do you know how much 10 billion dollars is?
E) Let’s say that you are a great sports fan and you love all the Chicago teams.
* You decide that you are gonna buy the Bears – The Blackhawks – The Cubs – Bulls –
Fine, I’ll even buy the White Sox.
* Since you own them all, you gonna buy them their own, state of the art stadiums.
* Five teams – Five stadiums.
F) 10 billion dollars, and you still have plenty leftover to buy everyone you know
popcorn for every game forever – It’s a lot of money.
* In fact, I would suggest to you when Jesus said that one person owed 10,000 talents,
what He was really saying is that it’s an unpayable amount.
* You could never earn that much or get that much, unpayable ... It’s a number that
you could never get to.
* So you could see that it would be insane that the guy comes in – He owes 10,000
talents, and since he could not pay – Look at v.25 .......
A) Not that he’d ever make payment, but he’d pay what he could.
* He would be a slave for the rest of his life – v.26 .......
* Which was an outrageous assertion because there was no possibility whatsoever
that he could do that – v.27 .......
B) Do you understand that that’s you? – Do you get it?
* Who’s the King in this parable? ... God is ... We’re the one with the debt that cannot
be paid – Do you understand that about yourself?
* In spite that you are a good person and you do a lot of good things, and tried to make
some good choices.
* You understand that before a holy God, you owe a debt that could never be paid.
C) It is only by the grace of God that keeps you from falling into hell this moment.
* You can’t earn God’s favor – You can’t pay off your debt – You can’t work to change
it, and this all revolves around seeing yourself clearly .......
* That I have nothing in which to commend myself to God.
D) I don’t deserve God’s grace – I don’t deserve His forgiveness – I can’t earn it.
* My only chance is – He’s gonna be like, “Never mind.”
* However, the Bible says that God will not clear the guilty or lightly dismiss our sin.
E) Of course, that’s the good news of the gospel – That Christ came into the world
and paid a debt that He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay.
* It’s mind-blowing that Jesus took upon Himself the penalty for our sins .......
* That He would love us enough to provide for the forgiveness of our sins through the
punishment of His own Son.
F) On Him almighty judgment that would have sunk the world to hell – All poured
out upon Christ so that we could be set free from our debt – That’s the gospel.
* I got what I did not deserve, and 10,000 years from today I will be singing the praises
of the righteousness of God .......
* Who loved me enough to give Christ in my place for my forgiveness.
THIS IS LIFE CHANGING – THIS IS SOMETHING THAT ALTERS YOUR LIFE
A) This is not a Band-Aid on an “I feel guilty” sore.
* And one of the things it alters about you is you cannot see other fallen people the
same way – And you don’t get it all at once, and you don’t get it perfectly.
* But Eph. 4:31-32 says “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour,
and evil speaking, be put away from .... And be ye kind one to .......”
B) Let’s look at all these words for a moment in v.31 .......
* Bitterness: “pikria (pik-ree’-ah) acridity (act out with violence); poison.
* Wrath: “thumos” (thoo-mos’) fierceness, indignation.
* Anger: “orge” (or-gay’) violent passion, a desire to pay back with violence.
* Clamour: “krauge” (krow-gay’) a noisy shouting, an outcry.
* Evil speaking: “blasphemia” (blas-fay-me’-ah) blaspheme (especially against God);
vilify (to utter slanderous and abusive statements against.
* Malice: “kakia” (kak-ee’-ah) a desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another.
C) Now the words in v.32 .......
* Kind: “chrestos” (khrase-tos’) better, easy, showing goodness, gracious.
* Tenderhearted: “eusplachnos” (yoo’-splangkh-nos) well compassioned, i.e. sympathetic.
* Forgiving: “charizomai” (khar-id’-zom-ahee) to grant as a favor, pardon, rescue.
A) If your life has really been altered by the forgiveness of Christ, the truest and
surest demonstration of that is, you want to extend forgiveness to other people.
* And so I’m just asking, “How’s that going?” ... Because the Bible says that if you don’t
forgive other people, then God’s not gonna forgive you.”
B) If you’ve really embraced the gospel, then one of the things that happens is,
not perfectly, but increasingly, you are becoming a more forgiving person .......
* And a greater capacity to extend the grace that you’ve experienced.
C) I can’t change the past – So I choose to forgive – Because forgiveness has no limits.
* It can conquer anything that’s happened to me.
* Because I’m forgiven – I choose to forgive – I’m forgiven to forgive.
D) And now this ....... Because unforgiveness destroys other people.
* And this is where we’re gonna stop till next week – I really want us all to think about
that statement this week ... Unforgiveness destroys other people, and even ourselves.