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Summary: Relationships, Truth, Anger, Tenderness

JAIL BREAK (Breaking the Chains of Unforgiveness) -

Real Relationships Require Forgiveness

September 30, 2018

Ephesians 4:25-32 (p. 816)

Introduction:

Relationships cannot survive without forgiveness…It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about our marriage, a friendship, our family or our next door neighbor.

Forgiveness is the link that sustains relationships…or they break.

Here’s the truth…if you spend enough time with another human, that human is gonna do something stupid, inconsiderate or mean…and an even greater truth…so will you! And what they did or what you did will make one of you angry.

I remember the neighbor right across the street from me in Louisville had a dog that barked constantly…morning, noon and night…(night was my least favorite). I got along with him pretty good…we even talked about it…He put him in at night…but the neighbor who lived right beside him…was a great guy…waved occasionally but never talked to anybody…He had a UK flag up…so I liked him…but one day I hear this awful fight across the street…He’d lost it…and my neighbors were going at it…and that’s when the cops showed up. No charges…but ever time I heard Shannon’s dog bark from then on I thought, “uh-oh!” There was literally 15 feet between their driveways…and they hated each other…stared each other down if they left at the same time or were outside together…it only ended when my neighbor who owned the dog moved…I watched Kenny applaud as Shannon’s truck pulled away.

Did you know Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers because they will be called children of God?” (Matthew 5:9)

Why do you think Jesus linked making peace as a characteristic for being God’s child?

It’s because it’s our nature to get angry when someone hurts us, uses us, inconveniences us, puts their needs before us.

Don’t believe me…OK here’s a test…You’re in line at Kroger…2 people in front of you…one person behind you…and the girl in the next lane says…“I can help somebody.” And the lady behind you shoots over there like a rocket…are you happy for her? By the way…she’s shopped for the month…and you have 7 things in your cart. What!!! Uh-huh…“It’s on like Donkey Kong.”

Marriages are a struggle not to be selfish. A struggle, I promise you, at times both partners lose…especially early on when we’re used to getting our own way…and if we do not forgive and restore…that marriage will end. Even if one of you chooses not to forgive and restore…that relationship will end.

One of my favorite stories about this is about a woman who attacked her house with a fork lift…

Diane Fittipaldi, 2013 Sunset Lane, told Municipal Court Judge Levi Grantham that she had launched the attack as part of a long-standing feud with her husband about housekeeping.

“Oliver is a horrible neat freak,” Fittipaldi said, “and he drives me nuts about keeping everything tidy.”

After the couple argued about the proper alignment of table place settings, Fittipaldi rented a 3,000 pound, pneumatic tire forklift Tuesday evening and drove it through the front wall of their one-story frame house. According to neighbors who witnessed the incident, she used the machine to smash the dining room table.

“Oliver yelled at me about where his fork was supposed to go,” she said, “and I figured I’d fix it with a forklift.”

Neighbors said Fittipaldi seemed “wild-eyed” and distraught during the attack and kept screaming “FORK THIS!” at her husband, who took refuge in the kitchen.

True story…never marry a woman who knows how to operate heavy machinery…or better yet…Don’t make place settings more important than your spouse.

Our text this morning lets us know:

I. ANGER CAN GIVE THE DEVIL A FOOTHOLD

Anger isn’t a sin…it’s a warning light.

It’s the check engine light for your soul.

“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…and do not give the devil a foothold.”

If we don’t deal with anger appropriately…quickly and honestly…we start looking for a forklift.

When anger becomes a fuse attached to dynamite instead of a warning light…relationships are destroyed by the blast…neighbors become our enemies…friends become adversaries, spouses become opponents.

Satan’s goal is to divide…to separate us from God…to destroy our marriages…to cause Church division…He looks for the opening…and then uses unresolved and unhealthy anger as a foothold.

[I remember watching the levees break in New Orleans in 2005 when Katrina hit…they were designed to protect this city from the floods…but when they gave way unimaginable destruction, filth and waste entered the city.

God has given us the emotion of anger to be the levee in our relationships…if they break.

Satan uses them to flood us with bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander along with every form of malice.

So how do we obey God when the warning light flashes? How can we deal with anger and it not be a sin?

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