The ability to forgive and know that you’re forgiven is life-changing. Forgiveness opens the door for repentance and reconciliation and shifts your focus from the one who hurt you to the One who can heal you. In this sermon, Pastor Mark tells what forgiveness is, why you should forgive, and what happens if you do or don’t forgive.
Finding Freedom through Full Forgiveness
Texas, a young man in apartment, female cop entered thinking it was her apartment, shot & killed innocent man. In court, 18 yr victims brother forgave & embraced convicted killer. Judge gave her Bible, referenced John 3:16, embraced killer said, “You haven’t done so much that you can’t be forgiven. You did something bad in one moment in time. What you do now matters.”
- Good news still makes the news because it’s counter-cultural
- There’s no relationship without forgiveness
Are you forgiven?
Luke 11:4 [ESV] forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
- The Lord’s Prayer
- Sin and debt
- All other religions, you pay. Only gospel it’s paid by Someone else.
- Ransom is payment
Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
- 1st of 7 words on cross
- Jesus forgave a guy, died to answer his prayer
Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
- Jesus changes your relationship with God & Satan
- Are you forgiven?
What does forgiveness mean and not mean?
Hebrews 12:14-15 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled…
11 Things Forgiveness is
- The opposite of vengeance (you pay vs I pay debt) = counterfeit to forgiveness
- Shifting your focus from the one who hurt you, to the One who can heal you
- Both a one-time event, and an ongoing process (70×7)
- Passing the case to a Higher Court
- Taking the burden you cannot carry and handing it to Jesus to carry
- Giving up control of the outcome
- Giving up on unenforceable rules
- Making but not keeping a record of wrongs
- Boxing it up & putting it out of sight
- Opening the door for their repentance and your reconciliation
- Choosing health for your body and soul
9 Things Forgiveness is not
- Denying or pretending
- Minimizing or Globalizing
- Covering a crime (legal vs personal)
- Based upon their repentance or apology (nouthetic counseling)
- Completely forgetting (Jer. 31:34) “I will forgive…and their sin I will remember no more”
- Trust – forgiveness is free in a moment, trust is earned over time
- Public – often other person or anyone else has to know about
- God’s forgiveness
Why Should You Forgive?
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:12-13 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
- Forgiveness – 1) For you 2). In you 3). Through you
- Blessing – test of forgiving
What happens if you don’t forgive?
Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil….Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
1. Bitterness – unforgiveness, disappointment, woundedness, brokenness, holding a grudge, being offended, or just plain old hurt
- Big deal vs big person
2. Emotional unhealth – todays anger is not a problem, yesterdays anger is a problem
- 2 people are at war, enlist army (Cold War)
- Unholy Alliance – demons introduce people
4. Demonic Torment – Choosing to invite the Holy Spirit and not unholy Spirits empower
Types of Bitter People
- Negative narrative reporter
- Bridge burner
- Broken believer (compounded pain)
- Identity – Naomi “sweet” vs Mara “bitter”
What happens if you do forgive?
Ephesians 4:30-31 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
- You live heaven down, not hell up
- You experience a Holy Spirit miracle
Stephen Acts 7 – prayed for Paul, saw Jesus standing in heaven, Paul saved
Who Do You Need to Forgive?
Joseph – Dad favored & rebuked, brothers betrayed, Potiphar’s wife, cupbearer forgot
- Forgave brothers long before they saw one another
- Was emotional not vengeful when they were brought together
- He did not immediately trust them, but did test them
- Genesis 50:19-20
- Name it, Forgive it, Use it
- RT – deeper forgiveness = greater anointing (“Spirit of God in him” – Pharaoh)
- Spirit (win-win); Flesh (win-lose); Demonic (lose-lose)
- Chinese Proverb? “The person who seeks revenge should dig 2 graves”