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Summary: Forgiving someone who hurt you is hard work. It is easier to stay wounded and go around talking bad about them. It is easier to let bitterness put down roots and let our hearts get hardened, but Jesus said to forgive...

A preacher tells the story of inviting a guest lecturer to speak to a counseling class he was teaching and asked him to specifically discuss the topic forgiveness. He told a powerful story from his own life that day to illustrate his point that we should forgive.

His brother had many struggles, and one day there was a conflict that arose and someone shot and killed my friend’s brother. The whole family was sad of course and grieved very much about this sudden and unfortunate loss. Our guest that day said he struggled initially forgiving the man that killed his brother. After awhile though, God helped him process the tragedy and forgive the murderer.

This was the neat part. For years, my friend had a prayer list with his brother’s name on it, and he prayed for him often. After his death, he eventually got to the point where he erased his brother’s name and inserted the murderer's name in his brother's place on the prayer list, and now he prays for him often.

This, folks,, is forgiveness. (This text illustration adapted from sermon central.com)

Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Do I have to Forgive them if They Don’t Say Sorry?

Now I want to mention something here about vs. 35 (read vs. 35

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Now let’s look at the book of Luke:

Luke 17:1-4

1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

Sooo….ARE WE ONLY REQUIRED TO FORGIVE IF THEY REPENT AND SAY SORRY??? Since God’s Word has the answer to every question, I will let what Jesus said answer that one:

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. - Matthew 6:15

So the answer is No, you don’t have to forgive them if they don’t say sorry, but IF YOU WITHHOLD THIEIR FORGIVENESS, GOD WITHHOLDS YOURS.

The hardest ones to forgive

I think of the people who hurt us, the worst are the ones that we really reached out to in love, that we prayed for and cared about and poured ourselves out for in love, in an effort to make their lives better. And then that day comes when they misunderstand something you said, or become offended at you for something and then, instead of your friend, you are facing a coiled rattlesnake striking at you with their words, trying to hurt you as bad as they can.

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