Colossians 3:13 (NIV) Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
You’ll discover how the Lord forgives you and how you are to forgive.
In order to do that, I’ll be answering 3 questions this morning;
- What is forgiveness?
- Why should we forgive?
- How do we forgive?
What is forgiveness?
a: to give up resentment (a persistent feeling of displeasure and anger at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury) that leads to bitterness.
b: give up revenge
In a nutshell, Forgiveness is giving up resentment, bitterness and revenge.
NOT DWELLING ON IT.
You can forgive a person personally for what they did, and also forgive the monetary debt with NO CONSEQUENCES. But there are times you can forgive a person personally, but not necessarily forgive the monetary debt or remove the consequences.
For example, if you were in a car accident because of the carelessness of a drunk driver, you can forgive him personally by not harboring resentment or bitterness, but seek restitution and not forgive the monetary debt that was bestowed on you, ie; hospital bills, getting car fixed, etc.
Your child may break a window in your house because of carelessness, and you forgive them freely by not harboring resentment, or retaliation, but the consequence may be not forgive the monetary debt for the child to pay for the window to get fixed.
Someone you know may have abused or wronged you in some way. You can forgive them personally by not harboring any bitterness or resentment, but there may be other consequences.
Romans 15:2 Please your neighbor for their good.
Well who is your neighbor? Remember the show Mr. Rogers? Won’t you be my neighbor! Recite this verse who me – replace PLEASE with LOVE….now replace NEIGHBOR with Husband….CHILD… FOR THEIR GOOD
In other words, what is best for them? Sometimes tough love with boundaries, jail time, legal services, discipline of a child, etc. is best for them so you don’t encourage and enable their behavior.
In other words, there isn’t any situation that you can’t forgive by NOT harboring bitterness or resentment, but there are times for consequences as well.
Why should we forgive?
GOD COMMANDS us to forgive others.
Mark 11:25 Whenever you stand praying, FORGIVE, if you have anything against ANYONE!!!!
Unconditional! Whether the other person asks for forgiveness or not, we are still commanded to forgive because that is how God forgives us!
WOW! Now I don’t know about you, but that just does not seem fair to me? Does it seem “fair” to you?
Does not mean that the other person DESERVES to be forgiven? NO!!! None of us deserve forgiveness, we’ve done NOTHING to deserve forgiveness. It’s only because of Christ’s grace and what He’s done for us.
Romans 5: 8 Christ died for us for us while we were still sinners…in the midst of our sin! But because of His Grace (receiving what we don’t deserve) He lavishes forgiveness on us AND withholds what we DO deserve and what do we deserve???? HELL!!!!
Forgiveness is NOT about you, it is all About God! We will definitely reap the benefit from forgiving others which I will speak about in a few minutes, but it is NOT ABOUT ME! It’s about being Christ-like and being a testimony of Christ to others.
IT IS NOT ABOUT ME!!
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you CONDONE what the other person has done to you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that the other person has won and you have lost!
- Expression and proof of our love toward God
John 14:15 “If you love me you will keep my commandments”
We as Christians should be the most forgiving people in the world, because we are the most forgiven people in the world!!!
- We reap the benefits;
Freedom, happiness, peace love, power, and a sound mind, etc. 2 Timothy 1:7. Unforgiveness puts chains on you puts you in bondage! Makes you a slave to the one you won’t forgive. You are powerless!
Powerless because Unforgiveness can make you sick; Emotional sickness such as depression and even physical illnesses. Many people today being treated with depression or stomach problems/ and other illnesses can be there because of unforgiveness
It’s been said that Unforgiveness is like the poison we drink hoping others will die. It’s like burning your house down to kill the rat. Have you ever seen yourself this way when you don’t forgive?
WHAT BEHAVIORS AND ACTIONS COME OUT OF YOU WHEN YOU DON’T FORGIVE? Forgiveness breaks the chains of bondage and we reap FREEDOM!
How do we forgive?
CHOOSE IT – AND LOSE IT! What do I mean by Lose it? We lose our pride and become humble. Let me explain, when we become hurt and wounded we tend to build up a wall. The Wall of Resentment of unforgiveness is built one brick at a time. With every hurt, another brick is laid on our wall…one by one we lay our bricks…to protect our hearts and before you know it, our wall is high! “You’re not going to hurt me anymore” we say. Our hearts become cold, callous, hard, bitter, resentful. We spend all our time protecting our hearts at all cost.
The only way to tear down the wall of resentment is to choose forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a feeling, but it is an action. Jesus did not feel like going to the cross to die for your sins…He willed himself to do it – he said to God, “Not my will but your will be done.” Matthew 26:39
If you wait for the feelings to come, it will never happen. Your feelings are fickle! And according to Jeremiah 17:9 “Our hearts are deceitful above all else and desperately wicked!” Why would you want to follow your heart??? But we do, don’t we?
Our culture is so feeling oriented that people struggle with the concept of action before feeling… God says we are to do the opposite…
You CHOOSE then, you DO. YOU CHOOSE TO FORGIVE
You CHOOSE not to harbor bitterness and resentment. Bitterness is bitter roots in your soul! Why would you want to nurture and water smelly, rotten roots? We nurture it by rehearsing it in our minds over and over again,in the shower, while we’re driving.
Your actions will always reveal what’s in your heart…bad roots…bad actions. Most people don’t FEEL like forgiving…but feelings will come AFTER you’ve made the choice to forgive. It takes one person to forgive but two to reconcile. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that reconciliation is automatic
- I will NOT DWELL on this incident.
- I will not bring this incident up and use it against you.
- I will not talk to others about this incident.
- I will not allow this incident to stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.
Granting TOO SERIOUS TO OVERLOOK discuss it – not work -get some help
- IN CHRIST’S STRENGTH – NOT IN OUR OWN STRENGTH
We need supernatural strength! Remember last time we met, I had shared that we can give our peace away and become powerless Christians? Well we can give our peace and happiness away when we don’t forgive – they are byproducts of Forgiveness!
In our own strength, we cannot forgive, but Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Well, what does that mean? Our level of forgiveness is based on the level of forgiveness we experience. We can’t give out more to others, then what we have believed we’ve received! The more we believe we have, the more we can give. Forgiven much, forgives much..loved much, loves much.
Romans 12:18-20 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY, says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”
When you heap burning coals on someone’s head, you kill them with kindness that can melt their hearts, but it can melt yours as well when you work out your forgiveness. Do something nice for the person you forgive; card, flowers, gift, watch their kids, etc.