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Summary: The dramatic story of 66730 and how she forgave her tormentors. The 3 top arguments of those who say they can't forgive and the rationales to disarm those arguments.

WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE?

Lk. 17:3-4

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR

1. An army recruit was assigned to the paratroopers’ outfit. The instructor explained the operation of parachutes and the fundamentals of skydiving to the recruits.

2. He included a lot of terminology, such as: “Jumpmaster, Air speed, rip cord, base jump, heading, main Parachute, slot, drop zone, terminal velocity, wave off”, etc.

3. When he got all finished, he asked if there were any questions. One recruit raised his hand and asked, "What happens if the parachute doesn't open?"

4. The instructor answered, "That, Private, is what is known as "Jumping to a Conclusion!"

B. ILLUSTRATION

1. Her name was 66730, or at least that was the name she went by. Her father had died in a German Concentration camp as did her sister.

2. Her freedom, her dignity, her humanity had been stripped away by those who imprisoned her and yet she survived. They had robbed her of everything she ever possessed but they couldn’t rob her of the one who possessed her, Jesus.

3. She saw every day in Ravensbruck as a chance to minister to someone more needy then herself. And then one day she was released. As suddenly as she had become a prisoner she was free and her solitary aim was to minister to others.

4. When the war was over she began traveling and speaking sharing her Savior and the vision that He had given her. And then one day, something happened, something that shook her to the very center of her being.

5. You probably wouldn’t know her as 66730, you would be more apt to know her as Corrie ten Boom. She writes,

6. "It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck.

7. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. Suddenly it was all there, the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsy’s pain blanched face.

8. He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. "How grateful I am for your message Fraulein," he said. "To think, as you say, He has washed my sins away!"

9. His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendall the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.

10. Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man: was I going to ask for more? “Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.”

11. I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. “Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness.”

12. As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.

13. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that this world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself."

C. NOBODY THINKS THEY HAVE UNFORGIVENESS

1. Whether it is a blind spot, a quirk of human nature, or self-deception, almost no one thinks they're unforgiving. But we probably ALL have some unforgiveness.

2. YOU CAN TELL YOU’RE NOT FORGIVING WHEN:

a. You avoid eye contact or speaking to a person;

b. You choose an alternate route to walk when you see them at Wal-Mart or Kroger.

c. You keep bringing up what that person did, though it was a year or more ago.

3. Like the woman who testified, "I’m so glad I got religion. I have an uncle I used to hate so much I vowed I’d never go to his funeral. But now, why, I’d be happy to go to it any time."

I. WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE?

A. WE’RE COMMANDED TO IN SCRIPTURE

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Lk. 17:3-4.

B. IT GIVES THE DEVIL A STRONGHOLD IN YOUR LIFE

1. 26 And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Eph. 4:26-27,31-32, New Living Trans.

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