Alex Enabnit – Research Editor
Happy New Year! This weekend we started a new series centered around Bob Goff’s book, “Love Does.” For the first week, we dove into the topic of forgiveness.
God’s forgiveness is incredible. The amount of grace that He gives us for everything we’ve done wrong is nothing short of an undeserved miracle! If this isn’t something you have experienced yet, I would encourage you to stop by Starting Point after a service where you can learn about this freedom that is available to you right now.
BUT! There is a catch. Reading from Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus says these words:
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
That certainly gives a heavier weight to forgiveness, doesn’t it? Jesus is saying that we are as condemned as we condemn and we are as forgiven as we forgive – in a way, we either restrict or aid our own forgiveness, depending on the forgiveness we give to those who have hurt or wronged us.
Why did Jesus word this so strongly? Doesn’t Jesus know that guy doesn’t deserve forgiveness? Or what about her? Doesn’t Jesus understand what these people have done??
Yes. He does. They don’t deserve forgiveness, and neither do we; that’s the point! If someone who has received complete forgiveness from God cannot give forgiveness to another person, they don’t realize the incredible grace God has given to them.
In short, forgiveness is a choice we all have to make. We can either forgive others and place it in God’s hands, or we can try to set the record straight and clutch onto the debt. But just to be clear:
Forgiveness is NOT…
- Easy. Far from it! Forgiveness is very difficult.
- Natural. The normal, human response is revenge.
- Denial. You can’t just sweep hurtful things under the rug. Someone wronged you. How will you deal with that?
- A one-time event. Forgiveness is an active verb. It doesn’t normally happen overnight.
- Approval. Just because you forgive someone, that does not erase the wrong they have committed.
- The way we earn our salvation. God doesn’t owe us forgiveness because we forgive others – there is no way to earn God’s grace.
- A way God wants to “set us free” from the things and people that have hurt us in our lives
- A miracle that God allows us to participate in
- An opportunity to participate in the Divine Nature of God
- What is called for
- What is needed
- What is expected
Who needs your forgiveness today?
Verses and quotes from the sermon:
1 Corinthians 13:1-8; Psalm 32:1-2; Psalm 103:12; Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:21-35; Romans 12:19
“You forgive somebody, and you begin to dance instead of wallow. You begin to walk with God. You set a prisoner free, and you discover the prisoner you set free was you.” Unknown
“God is certainly the fountainhead. The stream of love and forgiveness flows from Him because it is His nature and character. Mistakenly, we often think we are at the end point of the stream … the recipient … the forgiven one. But, truth be told, we all stand mid-stream. We are indeed recipients but not the end … we receive His character and then as it becomes our character we pass that same love and forgiveness on to others. We forgive even as we have been forgiven.” Mirosalv Volf
“Forgiveness is giving up your just right for revenge.” Robi Damelin
Wide as the Sky – Matt Redman
Oceans – Hillsong Music
What a Beautiful Name – Hillsong Music