Can we talk about forgiveness today? During my counseling/theophostic sessions, I have realized that I have harbored (am harboring) unforgiveness when remembering certain circumstances brought up from my past. So, to embrace healing, I need to embrace forgiveness and what that really entails. These are my sermon notes from a 2006 message that Joel Alberti preached at Mad City Church. I pray that we all glean from this wisdom, that we partake in forgiving those who have hurt us, and that we release them from the debt against us.
Do not ignore what happened
Forgiveness is not excusing people for the wrongs they have done
It is not reconciliation or restoration
It is not forgetting
The act of setting someone free from a debt. Giving (freely) mercy
We have been TOTALLY forgiven by God.
We should look to how Christ forgave us and use that as our guideline.
Pay it forward (forgive as we have been forgiven)!
Leave a legacy. How do you want people to remember you? I don't want to be known as a bitter person. I want to be known as someone who lived freely because they allowed others to live freely.
Qualities of forgiveness:
Choice to forgive – Forgiveness is a choice to give up resentment and offer a gift of mercy to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Act of will. Obedience to Christ. This is a process.
Willingness to face reality – Be wise. Do not have a hardened heart, be honest with yourself. Forgiveness promotes strength and obedience.
Condition of the heart – God is in control. Do I trust Him to take care of things?
Matthew 18:15, 21-22
Refuse to punish others for their wrongdoing against you.
Refuse to remember the wrongs against you. Do NOT use weapons against those who have hurt you.
Refuse to pass on offense. Do not gossip, go straight to the person who hurt you and work it out with them face to face.
Ask for blessings upon those who hurt you.
Develop God’s perspective. See the bigger picture. Love as God loves. Leave ME out of the equation. Allow God to soften my heart. Have grace on others because they are hurting too. God loves everyone. We are all sinners. Love your enemies and pray for them.
God is sovereign! God knows what He is doing. Trust Him! Don’t question Him.
How do I know if I have truly forgiven?
Faced reality and released debt.
Knowing someone is not sorry.
Relinquish the right to keep score (keep no record of wrongs)
Empathize with the other person.
Know God forgives them as He forgives you.
Consequences of unforgivness:
Prison and torment for me, not the person who hurt me.
Robbers of peace and joy.
Inability to get along with others.
Untrusting, blaming, critical, pessimist, victim mentality
Breach in relationship with God.
Daddy, I want to pray for the grace to forgive others freely. To free others from their debt against us. Help us to forgive as you forgive. I pray peace over every individual situation we are faced with. Daddy, I pray that every time a seedling of bitterness or a seedling of offense rises up inside of us, we remember the sacrifice You made on our behalf. I pray that we are teachable. I pray that our hearts are filled with compassion instead of spite. Daddy, forgive me for not forgiving others.