You Must Forgive

  • Forgiveness is at the essence of the Christian life. Christianity is the idea that through Jesus, God forgives our wrongs. We put our faith in Christ, and in turn, we are forgiven from our sins.
  • Our correct standing with God is dependent on forgiving other people according to today’s scripture. Meaning- you must forgive others to be a Christian
  • Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
  • Huge scripture. Very important that we get this right.
  • Henry said- When we are at prayer, we must remember to pray for others, particularly for our enemies, and those that have wronged us; now we cannot pray sincerely that God would do them good, if we bear malice to them, and wish them ill.
  • Understanding Biblical forgiveness is important. The worlds idea of what forgiveness is, isn’t what the Bible teaches.
  • The Worlds idea of forgiveness is ‘forgive and forget’ but that term is never found in the Bible.
  • Definition of Forgiveness
  • FORGIVENESS is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well

Forgiveness is different from

  • CONDONING (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness) Someone hurts you, but you don’t even see it as wrong- accepting domestic violence as a lifestyle
  • EXCUSING (not holding the offender as responsible for the action) They are committing adultery, but I’m going to pretend I don’t know because they come home to me
  • PARDONING (To release from punishment; exempt from penalty:) They have stolen from the company, but they still get to keep their job
  • FORGETTING (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness) You have repeatedly hurt me, but I have to forgive you, so I am going to pretend that nothing ever happened.
  • RECONCILIATION (restoration of a relationship) you have hurt me deeply, but our relationship is going to be immediately exactly the same.

*In certain contexts, forgiveness is a legal term for absolving or giving up all claims on an account such as a debt, a loan, an obligation or apology.

  1. Understanding forgiveness
  • Forgiveness is not natural, forgiveness is spiritual. If you are not a converted Christian, it is very difficult, if not impossible to forgive someone because you do not have the strength within yourself.
  • If you truly understand what God has forgiven you from, it will influence what you are able to forgive. If you truly understood your forgiveness it would affect your forgiveness for others
  • Jesus said that if you are forgiven much you would love much
  • Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
  • Alas, Forgiveness is an act of the will, to comply with the Biblical demands of it.
  • Matt 6: 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
  • We MUST forgive others! We MUST find the way to forgive others!
    Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
  • The reason that we forgive others is purely because Christ forgave us.
  • If you’ve ever been wronged by someone, you know how hard it is to forgive someone but we MUST. Those who have hurt us, abused us, gone against us, willfully sinned against us
  • I get it man- I harbored a lot of unforgiveness in my heart for a very long time against my father. I didn’t even want to talk to him. So unbelievably hurt by him.
  • I try and go and see my dad once or twice a year. I try and call him once a week.
  • He doesn’t deserve it. He never calls me. He never reaches out to me. He failed to raise me to be a man or father. You know why I do it? It blesses the heart of God.
  • Having my dad come an hear me preach- telling me he was proud of me. Only because I forgave him
  • Why is it hard to forgive someone
  • One- it hurts- what they have done to you has hurt you emotionally or physically
  • Two– you don’t want to get hurt again
  • Three- you want to protect others from their hurt
  • Four– you want that person to be hurt in the same way that you were hurt
  • Five- you want satisfaction watching that person be destroyed for their actions
  • I have been hurt by people in my life. Deeply hurt. Anger. Frustration. Pain. Misery. Been through it all.
  • But alas- Jesus demands that we forgive people!
    Matthew 18 Peter asks Jesus how many times he must forgive his brother
  • 21-35 READ- lets read this interaction together- its important to understand!
  • Matthew 18:35 35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.
  • Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
  • Put those two verses together and what you have is the clearest demand from the mouth of Jesus himself demanding that Christians who have been forgiven must forgive others
  • If we don’t, we are not forgiven and we will not make it to heaven we will go to hell
  • US Army- Right place, at the right time in the right uniform. 95% of it. 6 years in and I tell you I was perfect. I was never late one time. Not once. Why? I didn’t want to get in trouble! PT was at 630am 50k troops going in, you get there at 610 and then sit in your car. No excuses- no “I got a flat (have one in your trunk) no alarm? Set two of them. Traffic? Leave earlier. NO EXCUSE
  • You will go to hell if you do not forgive others. FROM THE HEART. Not just LIP SERVICE
  • Its more than just an action- its going before God asking him to change your HEART
  • What does it mean to Biblically forgive others?

John Piper said this-

  1. Resist thoughts of revenge: Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
  2. Don’t seek to do them mischief:1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
  3. Wish well to them: Luke 6:28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.
  4. Grieve at their calamitiesProverbs 24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
  5. And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
  6. Pray for them:Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
  7. Seek peace with them: Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
  8. Be always willing to come to their reliefExodus 23:4 “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again.
  • None of this is because they deserve it- its because Jesus demands it.
  • The heart change may not come as quickly as you may expect or want, but you can walk these things out while you’re waiting for your heart to change.
  • 2 Corinthians 2:10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,
  1. What does it mean to not forgive others?
  • One- it doesn’t mean that you’re not angry about the effects of sin
  • Sin destroys! Psalm 97:10 You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
  • Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin”:[a] do not let the sun go down on your wrath
  • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • If you love Jesus, you’ll hate sin! You’ll despise its effects and want to eradicate it from your life and life of others
  • This is one of the reasons I preach the way that I preach- I want to keep you from sin and the effects of it.
  • I know what it feels like to sin and feel the effects of the guilt and shame and I don’t want that for you
  • I also know what it feels like to be sinned against, and I don’t want you to experience that as well
  • Two- it doesn’t mean that there are no consequences for sin
  • Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.
  • God wants to forgive sin! He wants the best for people, but even Hebrews declares that there are consequences for sin
  • Hebrews 12:6For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
  • Hebrews 12:10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
  • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • James 1:15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
  • Three- But what if they don’t repent?
  • This isn’t about reconciliation of the relationship! Christ extends his forgiveness to EVERYONE- but the only way the PERSON is forgiven is if THEY repent- they turn to God in Forgiveness!
  • Me forgiving someone doesn’t put them in a restored state, or absolves them of the consequences of their sin- I forgive them for MY benefit Spiritually.
  • If there is no repentance, sorrow or change of heart- we will not be in the fullness of relationship. I now minister to you as a reprobate. I watch what I say. I watch how I interact with you because you are in an unforgiven state.
  •  1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I hav  e written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
  • Your forgiveness isn’t ME forgiving you, its GOD forgiving you.. Jesus just asks me to emotionally and spiritually let it go so I can sleep at night.
  • Forgiveness of an unrepentant person isn’t the same for a repentant person
  • Luke 17:3-4 “if he returns to you saying ‘I repent’ forgive him
  • Full forgiveness is only possible if the person has repented.
  • But even if they DON’T repent- we are still called to pray for them and forgive them in our heart
  • But if that person doesn’t turn from their sin to righteousness through repentance, the relationship will never be the same. Its not full forgiveness because they haven’t repented
  • Thomas Watson : We are not bound to trust an enemy; but we are bound to forgive him. (Body of Divinity, p. 581)
  • Piper said- You can actually look someone in the face and say: I forgive you, but I don’t trust you.
  • The heart is crucial here- If your heart says “ you have hurt me and I don’t even care about ever trusting you ever again. I hope your life is ruined, everyone hates you and you live in destruction.
  • This is not a forgiving spirit. You are in danger of going to Hell with a heart like that.

To summarize

  1. You are required to forgive everyone. This may not be automatic. Work on it
  2. You are required to pray for your enemies. This will not be easy
  3. You are required to leave the door open for someone to repent
  4. You may never go back to the same relationship, but you can forgive them in your heart
  5. God has forgiven you, you must forgive other people. Always remember what you have been forgiven from

Invitation- is there someone that you need to forgive, that you want to release in your heart.

Pray for it!

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