Summary: To forgive and to be forgiven.
A STUDY OVER THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT: PART XX (TOPIC: Failure to Forgive)
INTRO: Unforgiven was a 1992 western movie starring none other than Clint Eastwood as a retired gunslinger who desires one more shooting, since he is bored with his life as a farmer. After deciding to do the hit (the guy to be killed did a horrible deed supposedly deserving of death), Eastwood’s character seems to have no guilt. And even rides off in the sunset at the end promising death to anyone else who challenges, I think even promising to kill their dog.
TRANSITION: The movie got great reviews, to some it was the last great western. Eastwood’s character is amusing, even one time stating after he had killed an unarmed man, “he should have armed himself, if he’s going to decorate the saloon with my friend.” But in all reality, is it okay to be that unforgiven. I know it is a character, but to go that many years, secretly wishing violence for the sake of pleasure, even if the violence is justified. Is that okay?
BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 6:14-15
6:14 “For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 6:15 But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins.
TRANSITION: Jesus just got done teaching people how to prayer, but then he goes back to explain one small detail, and ONLY one detail. He doesn’t explain “Our Father.” He doesn’t explain “Your Will Be Done.” He explains forgiveness, and then makes an amazing statement, one in which it appears He is saying that He will NOT forgive us at times. So let’s take a look.
1. FORGIVENESS IS A MUST
VOODOO CARD AT COMPUTER STORE: This week, I went into a computer story some distance from here, and was helped my a nice guy in picking up a computer monitor. I couldn’t help but notice a note on his wall. It had a voodoo doll, some needles, and something like an ex-girlfriend. It read something to the like of “if your relationship wasn’t great, your ex can still be magical.” It implied that not it is over, get a voodoo doll and put some curses into that person (I did ask him about it, it was a joke and given to him by his ex-girlfriend).
BIBLE VERSE: Proverbs 24:29
24:29 Do not say, “I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will pay him back according to what he has done.”
In other words, retaliation is not a practical answer. It is like saying, “do not do to others what you would have them do unto you.”
GOD’S PAYBACK: When it comes to payback, please forgive others, and let God take care of the situation. Time and time again, when we read the Bible, we see a similar format for God’s justice.
A. The Righteous Grow Impatient
B. The Righteous Question God’s Judgment
C. The Wicked Grow Increasingly Arrogant
D. God Judges
Take a look at the verses here, remember verse 8 is when God judges.
BIBLE VERSE: Psalms 94:1-7
94:1 O LORD, the God who avenges!
O God who avenges, reveal your splendor!
94:2 Rise up, O judge of the earth!
Pay back the proud!
94:3 O LORD, how long will the wicked,
how long will the wicked celebrate?
94:4 They spew out threats and speak defiantly;
all the evildoers boast.
94:5 O LORD, they crush your people;
they oppress the nation that belongs to you.
94:6 They kill the widow and the one residing outside his native land,
and they murder the fatherless.
94:7 Then they say, “The LORD does not see this;
the God of Jacob does not take notice of it.”
PERSONAL STORY: COLLEGE FOOTBALL
When I was in college, we were playing a football team that we just killed, this was my first year. But, the year before they had beaten us, and I really found that hard to believe since we supposedly had pretty much the same team. So I asked some guys, and they had all different explanations for the reasons.
But then I talked with a Christian named Roy (nicknamed Homey). He explained that right before the team prayer, the Defensive Line coach looked at the team and said aloud, “why do we need to pray, we don’t need prayer to beat this team.”
To this day, Roy thinks we lost the game because that coach “became increasingly arrogant.”
2. FORGIVENESS IS A DECISION
EXAMPLE: ANSWERING THE TELEPHONE This is a small point, but a big point. Two people are yelling, having a knock down all out heated argument. Then the phone rings, and all of the sudden a very lovingly voice with deep sympathies answers “hello, how may I help you.” Why is that? Because our anger, our decisions, to much of the degree is a conscience decision, and they CAN be controlled. So can forgiveness.