Summary: We are looking at this from three angles today, the first angle is Freedom for your soul, freedom for the offender and accepting God’s forgiveness.
Healthy Hearts Happy Homes
Steps to Forgiveness and Healing
Sunday February 6, 2004
Intro: This series we are calling Healthy Hearts Happy Homes is focusing on the issues that are common to all people but few have real freedom in. They are issues that plague Christians and non-Christians alike.
Remember: Growth is key to life. YOU must grow as a Christian and as a person. All growth is spiritual.
I really see our church functioning as a “Growth based Church.” A church focus on helping people find the freedom that is only in Jesus Christ. It is much more than get saved and baptized. We recognize that all people have struggles, many of which actually keep people out of Church and away from the only source of real help available.
Last week we talked about being free from sin. One of the things I said last week is that there are no victimless sins. All sin, all crime has at least one victim other than the sinner. This leaves us with at least on victim with every sin. And if you’ve looked around lately, there is a lot of sinning going on in this old world. Therefore there are a lot of victims out there. People who have been sinned against and trespassed against.
How are Christians to deal with all of this trespassing? We have all had people hurt us and sin against us.
This isn’t a question of who here has been hurt, it is a question of who here needs set free from unforgiveness?
Today I am asking God for some miracles. WE need some miracles of the heart today. I want for you to really pay attention and look at your hearts today for areas that need some attention, some healing.
We are looking at this from three angles today, the first angle is Freedom for your soul, freedom for the offender, freeing God’s grace and finally how to keep your freedom.
Deep hurt leaves deep scares. Forgiveness isn’t easy. Forgiveness is hard. Especially in a long term relationship with friends, family or even work relationships that have been plagued with past troubles, tormented by fears of rejection and humiliation, and torn by suspicion and distrust.
It hurts to forgive.
It costs to forgive... We have to give up on seeing the other person punished for the terrible wrong they did to us or someone we care for deeply.
Text: Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
I. Freedom for your soul
You become imprisoned in your own unforgiveness.
a. Realize that the offense has bound you.
i. They are not suffering from what they did to you, but it is a daily thought in your mind.
Eldridge, “Paul warns us that unforgiveness and bitterness can wreck our lives and the lives of others (Hebrews 12:15) I am sorry to think of all the years my wife endured that anger and bitterness that I redirected at her from my father. As someone has said, forgiveness is setting a prisoner free and then discovering the prisoner was you.”
ii. You become imprisoned by their trespass.
iii. It is a spiritual law “When you become unforgiving you become what you hate.”
1. And innocent people are hurt.
Joseph Richardson lived in New York City. This man was a millionaire.
Mr. Richardson owned a narrow plot of land in the midst of a number of houses. This lot was only five feet wide.
He wanted to sell it to the people on either side. He determined the selling price and offered it to them. Both neighbors agreed to buy the land, but at a reduced price.
Instead of bargaining with them, he built a house on the land. He, then, moved in and set up his home. Because of his hatred for the people on either side of this small lot, he decided to ruin the look of the entire area and build this small house.
Mr. Richardson condemned himself to a life of discomfort in that house because of his hatred.
It was called, from that time on, "The Spite House."
His intention was to be a thorn in the sides of those who refused to buy the land. His anger drove him to lash out and punish them in some way. However, the only thing he really did was punish himself.
b. Admit that offenses have occurred.
A real trick of the devil is to say, “Lets play a little game of, pretend it didn’t happen.”
This isn’t Biblical – this is denial. If you say that it didn’t really matter, then there is no need for forgiveness.
i. Forgiveness is often misunderstood. It is significantly different and often confused with such things as ignoring the offense, trying to forget it and reconciliation of the relationship.