What Does It Mean To Forgive?
Ephesians 4:29-32, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, (which are different ways of describing hurt feelings) be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
I. You No Longer Consider A Person Accountable To You.
A. He no longer Owes You anything.
1. An apology --- asking for forgiveness ...
2. Restitution --- Money ...
3. Deeds of kindness ...
4. He no longer answers to you.
B. As a Christian, I do Not Owe God anything for my salvation.
1. "I owed a debt I could not pay"
"He paid a debt He did not owe"
2. If my debt is paid --- I do not still owe it.
3. If I owe God --- Salvation is not a gift of grace.
4. I Serve God Because I Love Him --- Not Because I Owe Him.
1 John 4:19, "We love him, because he first loved us."
2 Cor. 5:14, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; ..."
5. God Never Once Said: "Do this or do that Because I did such and such for you."
a. God Never said, "Because of Calvary, You Own Me!"
b. While we were yet sinners He loved and us and still does.
c. The Thief on The Cross --- no chance --- no way --- to ever repay any kind of debt, but yet ..... "Today ... with me in Paradise"
Like Paul --- I may owe a debt to the world --- but my debt to God Has Been Paid.
`Romans 1:14, "I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also."
C. I repeat --- when you truly forgive someone --- He No Longer Owes You Anything.
D. Have you ever noticed --- When You Refuse To Forgive A Person:
1. Instead of them suffering and you prospering --- just the reverse happens.
2. You Are In God's Way ...
3. Prov. 24:17-18, "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:"
4. Is it possible that God cannot try the man's case because --- He Is Still In Your Court --- Double Jeopardy .....
E. When you're hurt, you want to Fight Back --- take
justice into Your Own Hands.
F. You seem to think that Your Standards Are Higher Than God's:
1. If you turn it over to God, He Might Not Do What Is Right About It.
2. The man might Not get What Is Coming To Him.
3. Jonah --- Jonah 3:10-4:2,
"And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God
repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did [it] not. But
it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he
prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, [was] not this
my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I
fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou [art] a gracious God, and
merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee
of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from
me; for [it is] better for me to die than to live."
G. If you still Consider That Person Accountable To You --- then you Haven't Truly Forgiven that person.
II. You Are No Longer A Factor In That Person's Negative Behavior.
A. His case is Out of Your Court.
1. The issue is Now between that person and God.
2. You are Not involved it.
B. He can't blame his suffering and heartaches on you.
C. Don't Tell Him --- You Forgive Him --- unless he ask you to. --- Just Do It.
1. Sometimes the Most Destructive thing you can do is to tell the other person you "forgive" him:
a. It may be a Covert Strategy for expressing Judgment Accusation -- Condemnation.
b. To say, "I forgive you" may be strangely tainted with Superiority --- Self-righteous ...
c. Exalting Yourself as being loving and forgiving --- even though you have been wronged -- and therefore more spiritual.
2. Do you Enjoy Letting Others Know that you were wronged --- Do you enjoy Pity.
3. Just forgive him/her --- Without Broadcasting It --- or wanting Credit (recognition) for it.
D. Magnifying Your Forgiveness of his sins --- may
cause him to Rebel and become very Defensive --- then Blame
You for his actions.
E. If you must talk to him about the problem --- Ask Him To Forgive You --- your Hard Feelings toward him --- which you had no right to have --- because you are Not His Judge.
Romans 14:4, "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth."
III. True Forgiveness Is Spiritual --- It Overcomes Humanistic Pride And Social Pressure That Tends To Prevent You From Forgiving.
A. There is a Pride That Can Hinder us from forgiving others.
1. When we think of ourselves as all important --- we tend to take Offense At Slights ...
2. We tend to be Resentful toward others ...
3. Paul warns in --- Romans 12:3, "For I
say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of
himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly,"
B. You may fear that Forgiveness Puts A Stamp of Approval on the other persons actions.
1. It gives the person who hurt us a License To Hurt us again and again.
2. Extending forgiveness Does Makes Us Vulnerable.
C. In our society a forgiving person is viewed as Weak, Soft, or terribly Misguided.
1. If you tell lies about me and I Forgive You --- the lies must be true --- Wrong!
2. If you and I fight and I Apologize First --- I must
have been in the wrong --- Wrong!
D. You will have a lot of pressure Not to forgive --- in order to forgive you may have to Go Against Society and Your Own Family.
1. "How can you be so loving & kind to him? Don't You Care how much he hurt your family?"
2. "Don't You Remember ....."
3. "You must not care about your family --- he means more to you
than your family does --- we must stick together .....
E. And by the way, how Can We Expect individuals to forgive each other when many times Churches won't even forgive each other.
IV. True Forgiveness Is Not Simply Overlooking or Tolerating His Wrong --- (Indifference).
A. "Will I forgive you? Why, of course! I've already forgiven
you. Forget it, it didn't matter!"
1. What were you really saying?: "It didn't brother Me. I couldn't have cared less about it." --- You Are Not Important Enough To Brother Me.
2. Just who does he think that he is --- that his actions and insults could hurt you?
3. You didn't Refuse to forgive him --- you just Avoided it --- you Pretended it didn't matter.
4. But, that is Not what you said when you were Talking To Other People.
(( If you have truly forgiven him --- you wouldn't be Talking To Others in a critical way about him ... ))
B. Just saying the words, "I forgive _______" doesn't make it so.
C. Forgiveness is Not Superficial (make-believe) --- it is Not Tolerance or Indifference to others --- it is much deeper than that.
1. You must learn to truly forgive --- not to simply overlook or tolerate --- but to forgive.
2. (( Which brings us to the last point ))
V. You Are Again Able To Love And Fellowship With That Person --- Even Churches Are ...
A. No matter how many times we confess an unforgiving spirit --- until we Release That Person Emotionally --- we have not truly and fully forgiven ...
1. True forgiveness accepts the other person as an Equal Partner.
2. True forgiveness responds with Full Trust and Respect. --- as though he had never sinned against you.
3. We are to forgive one another Even As God For Christ Sake Has Forgiven Us.
B. Remember --- to Forgive is a Decision of The Will --- not a feeling or emotion.
1. Some people Get Their Highs by drugs --- life risking activities --- sky-diving --- others by hating, criticizing, refusing to forgive ...
2. Their bitterness seems to give them Some Sort of Satisfaction --- an Excuse For What Is Lacking In Their Life --- blame it on someone else.
3. They Live For Revenge (to get even) --- it absorbs
their life --- Jonah --- It may even destroy them ....
C. Ahithophel --- II Samuel 17:23, "And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled [his] ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and Hanged Himself, And Died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father."
1. Ahithophel was King David's Chief War Counselor.
2. After David's son Absalom gained enough support from the men of Israel to lead a Revolt Against His Father, --- Ahithophel decided to Defect and become a part of Absalom's revolt.
3. David sent Hushai the Arkite as a spy into the camp of his son, Absalom --- To Give Bad Counsel.
4. And Absalom Did Listen To Hushai rather than Ahithophel.
5. When Absalom did Not Follow Ahithophel's Counsel --- he returned to his home, set his house in order, and hanged himself.
D. Why? --- Would Ahithophel do such a thing? --- Just Who Was Ahithophel?
1. Ahithophel was Uriah's Grandfather. (2 Sam.23:34)
2. He had Lived For Years, With What David Had Done to his grandson --- and his grandson's wife, Bathsheba.
3. Ahithophel had worked himself into a position to be able to Get Revenge Against David --- which was His Main Purpose In Living.
E. When Absalom did not heed Ahithophel's counsel (to kill David), there was nothing else to live for --- his Bitterness literally devoured him.
1. Hurt begins like a tender Wound --- then comes the Scars --- followed by a total Rejection of Forgiveness --- which leads to Revenge.
2. When a person allows Hurts to Take Root and remain inside --- without dealing with it (Forgiveness) --- it becomes a wellspring of Bitterness.
F. Bitterness is like poison to our spiritual system.
1. It Infects Our Relationship with God --- as well as anyone else who crosses our path.
2. Psalms 66:18, "If I regard iniquity (Unforgiveness) in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]:"
G. True forgiveness is Acceptance With No
Exceptions --- How long have you been carrying this load of unforgiveness? Hurt
Feeling? --- Let It Go --- Today --- Give It Up
--- Choose To Forgive
He drew a circle that shut me out,
Daunted rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win,
We drew a circle that shut him in.
Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
while we were yet [sinners], Christ [died] for us.
There Is Nothing You Can Do To
Make God Love You More Than He Already Does!
What would it take to make God stop loving you?
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