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Summary: A Mother’s day sermon that says when we take the honest look at ourselves, are willing to forgive, and are willing to attempt reconciliation…then we are being the people God has called us to be and doing those things mom taught us.

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“Why Mom Made You Say I’m Sorry”

Making the Most of Transition

Matthew 5:21-24 & Ephesians 4:25-32

(quotes taken from the NKJV unless noted)

Wakelee Church ~ Mother’s Day ~ May 8, 2005

Theme: When we take the honest look at ourselves, are willing to forgive, and are willing to attempt reconciliation…then we are being the people God has called us to be.That’s why mom taught us about forgiveness.

Introduction – Limited forgiveness…

Illustration - A young son’s attempt at full forgiveness…(Illustrations Unlimited)

A pastor’s son and his mom had been to a shopping and the boy had not behaved himself. As they were driving home, he could sense her displeasure and said, “When we ask God to forgive us when we are bad. He does, doesn’t he?” His mother replied, “Definitely, yes.”

The boy continued cautiously, “And when he forgives us. He buries our sins in the deepest sea, doesn’t he?” The mom replied, “Definitely, yes.”

The boy was silent for a while and then said, “I’ve asked God to forgive me, but I bet when we get home, you’re going fishing for those sins aren’t you?” The mother replied, “Definitely, yes!”

Too often, we “go fishing” for other’s faults against us, but we’re unwilling to look in our pond in our backyard and take care of what we find there.

I – Forgiveness requires taking an honest look at our own stuff.

How many remember the first time your mother told to to apologize? May be hard for some of us to remember :-) ???

The words “I’m sorry” are some of the most powerful words in our vocabulary. With their utterance, relationships can be healed, grief can be alleviated, and the scars of past wounds can be remedied. But as we’ve said previously, it begins with taking an honest look at the baggage we may be carrying.

In the gospel of Matthew we hear, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

Peter told the church, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (I Peter 5:6-7)

When we took the “moral inventory” a couple of weeks ago, a few of you asked me, “What do I do with the list when it’s completed?” Today, we’ll act upon that list. The first step in doing so is to take that honest look at who we are and what we’ve done to others.

Humility is at the core of forgiveness and reconciliation. Here’s a prayer to get you to this point…

Heavenly Father/Gracious God, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to you and to others. Grant me the strength, as I go out from here to do as you would have me to do. Amen.

II – Forgiveness requires a willingness to forgive.

But recognizing our own stuff, the stuff we need to be forgiven from, is only the first step in the forgiveness process. There needs to be a willingness to forgive.

Illustration – Transient Forgiveness (Illustrations Unlimited)

Two little brothers, Harry and James, had finished supper and were playing until bedtime. Somehow, Harry hit James with a stick, and tears and bitter words followed. Charges and accusations were still being exchanged as their mother prepared them for bed.

She said, “Now boys, what would happen if either of you died tonight and you never had the opportunity again for forgive one another?” James spoke up, “Well, OK, I’ll forgive him tonight, but if we’re both alive in the morning, he’d better look out.”

How often do we hold onto our grudges…and choose not to forgive.

Luke records that well-known passage, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven…” (Luke 6:31,37)

And Matthew records it as well, “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins…Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 6:15, 7:3-4)

Synopsis…we need to be willing. Or this whole forgiveness thing is just a hoax.

If we aren’t willing to forgive, then we cannot understand God’s forgiveness of us.

III – True forgiveness always offers reconciliation.

But here’s the kicker…offering forgiveness is not enough. Jesus told his disciples, “if you are offering your gift to 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.” (Matthew 5:23-24)

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