Summary: Asking for forgiveness.
Series: Christmas is For-Giving
Message: Christmas is For-Giving 2 “Stop, Drop, and Give”
Topics: Forgiveness, Worship, Jesus, Church, Hurt, Pain, Asking for Forgiveness
Text: Matthew 5:23-25
Date: January 15, 2011
Pastor: David McBeath
Today we begin message 2 in our series Christmas is for-giving. Christmas is for giving! Why because God gave us the greatest Gift—Jesus—who came to forgive us of our sins. So Christmas is for giving and its message of forgiving or forgiveness lasts all year long.
Last week we learned that even though Christmas has incredible potential to be great, it has the same potential to be hurtful, maybe, not as hurtful as it was for Santa in this cartoon. Take a look:
Now this guy is not just in trouble with his wife, he is going to be in trouble with millions and millions of kids. I can see the lynch mob of kids marching down his street led by my boys Ian, Gavin, and Keegan saying string him up boys. This is what happens when you mess with Santa Clause.
You know, year after year it seems Santa or the spirit of Christmas gets shot by the things people do to hurt us (you know those Psycho relatives we talked about last week). …But Santa also gets shot by you and me. We are responsible for ruining Christmases by the way we’ve hurt some of our family members.
Last week we learned how to deal with the hurt and pain inevitably enters our lives around the holidays and all year long by choosing to Pray for those who hurt us, by choosing to Forgive those who have hurt us, and choosing to Bless those who have hurt us.
This week we are going to deal with a little more difficult topic for many of us: What do we do when we are the ones who have hurt those around us. How to we initiate forgiveness we’ve caused to others?
Take a look at this picture. To the Pizza Boy: forgive me wife this is the longest she’s ever been on a diet. It’s easy to ask for forgiveness for someone else. Isn’t it? But a whole lot harder to admit we were wrong and ask someone to forgive us. Just to prove this let’s take a little survey.
How many of you have wonderful people this morning, out of the kindness of your Christian hearts, have let people borrow something.
Guys, who here this morning has lent a tool to a friend or neighbor and that no good, low down, jerk never gave it back?
Ladies how many times have you lent someone a dish, baking tray, jewelry, or even clothes? The borrower, your friend, told you I’ll bring it back when I’m done and it’s been two years! Your thinking: The cake in the cake pan is rotten by now. You can’t be using it! Give it back sister!!
You know, I’m there with you. I lend book out all the time. Every time I give a book out the person taking it say, I’ll give it back to you as soon as I’m thru reading it. I’m like: It’s been 5 years!!! Are you that slow of a reader? You know what I’m talking about. Everybody that has lent an item and not got it back raise your hands. Looks like the vast majority of you.
OK, now here is another question. Raise your hand if you’ve barrowed an item from a friend or neighbor and haven’t given it back yet? That what I thought! Far fewer of us are in that category, at least from this church. Those no good thieves must go to the church down the road. My point is this: It is far easier to remember those who have hurt us than it is for us to remember when we’ve hurt other people. I’ll come back to this a little later.
This is why today’s message is so important. It is all about how we initiate and receive forgiveness for the hurts we’ve caused others. This morning we are going to ask ourselves, “Have we wronged someone?” And, we are going to let Jesus teach us how to make things right as we consider Matthew 5:23-25. Go ahead and turn there if you like. I’ will read and you follow along:
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
The first thing I notice from this passage is that Jesus is telling us to Stop and acknowledge those we’ve hurt. The verse says, “…remember that your brother or sister has something against you.” In other words stop and deal with the issue!