Summary: When we have a proper understand of God’s forgiveness of us we will have a proper disposition of forgiveness towards those who do us wrong.
Cornerstone Church Palm Sunday - April 9, 2006
“Lord Teach Us To Pray Series”
“TO FORGIVE OR NOT TO FORGIVE?”
Matthew 6:12, 14-15
What image comes to your mind when you hear the word – Bounty Hunter?
If you are like me, I picture a loner - a Clint Eastwood type.
I remember the Bounty Hunter in Raising Arizona.
Broken Down Motorcycle
Unkempt hair / Hadn’t washed in months
Relentless focus – capturing the person you are after
Max Lucado in: The Great House of God talks about his bout with a Bounty Hunter.
“Living in the cross hairs of a hit man is no treat. I should know. I had one after me for three months. He wasn’t a Mafia member, nor was he a gang member. He didn’t carry a gun with a scope; his weapons were even deadlier. He had a phone number and a commission – track me down and make me pay.
His job? Collect past-due payments for a credit card company.
A good day for him means a bad day for everyone he contacts. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why such an occupation is necessary. I just wonder what kind of person would want such a job? Who wants to be a missionary of misery?
Can you imagine what their spouse says as they go to work? ‘Make’em squirm, honey.’ Do their bosses motivate them with the ‘blood out of a turnip’ award? Who is their hero? Godzilla? What a job. Their payday is your paycheck, and they are out to get it. Can you imagine spending your days like that?
Perhaps you can. Perhaps all of us can. Even the best among us spend time demanding payment. Doesn’t someone owe you something? An apology? A second chance? A fresh start? An explanation? A thank you? A childhood? A marriage? Stop and think about it (which I don’t encourage you to do for long), and you can make a list of a lot of folks who are in your debt. Your parents should have been more protective. Your children should have been more appreciative. Your spouse more sensitive. Your preacher should have been more attentive.
What are you going to do with those in your debt?”
Have you ever noticed in the western movies how the bounty hunter travels alone? Who wants to hang out with a guy who settles scores for a living? Cantankerous sorts, these bounty hunters. Best leave them alone. Hang out with the angry and you might catch a stray bullet. Debt-settling is a lonely occupation.
SO DO YOU WANT TO BE A BOUNTY HUNTER?
Maybe you have been riding the trail seeking to make someone pay!
Conceivably you are thinking to yourself – Pastor Rick – This doesn’t sound like a Palm Sunday Message.
Where are Palm Branches – The Hosannas – Jesus on the donkey?
I had those same thoughts!
But then, I thought of the following. This next section of the Lord’s Prayer is about our having a proper understanding of God’s forgiveness (This is the Easter Message).
“Jesus Christ came to pay a debt He did not owe,
because we owed a debt we could not pay.”
Harvest Christian Fellowship
When we have a proper understand of God’s forgiveness of us we will have a proper disposition of forgiveness towards those who do us wrong.
The next day after Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and His rejection by the people he cursed the Fig Tree because it wasn’t producing fruit and then cleansed The Temple of the moneychangers.
What did Jesus say?
Matt 21:13 NIV “It is written,” he said to them, “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’’”
This morning we are going to look at the second petition (in this middle section).
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Matt. 6:12 NIV
As I was studying for this message I discovered that the subject of forgiveness is one of the most needed topics in our world.
Nations are at war with Nations
Neighbors are feuding with neighbors
Church members have conflicts with other church members
Spouses are fighting with one another and one marriage after another is being torn apart
Families are having upheavals and hostility as parents are angry with their children and children are incensed with their parents!
Turmoil, bitterness and the lack of forgiveness are just about everywhere!
As humans we have invented all sorts of inventions and solved all kinds of problems.
But we have yet to solve mankind’s greatest need and that is to be able to get along and place nice with other people!
Forgiveness, the word itself sounds like it must be associated with God in some way because it is not something that comes natural to us.