Tuesday, June 8, 2010


The series is: Family + primary Christian doctrine

So far we've dealt with sin, sanctification, edification, and NOW,

Forgiveness is a major theme in scripture with 2 admonitions:
#1. Receive forgiveness - the vertical relationship between God and man
#2. Offer forgiveness - horizontal - between each other - extend and grant

Eph. 4:32 Col. 3:13 Matt. 18:21-22
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

A definition: to cancel debt, release from obligation
to forfeit a right or claim. To pardon
to bear no malice, harbor no grudge
to give up .... a right to resentment, retaliation, indignation, anger, bitterness, etc.

It does NOT mean: to absolve (declare the offending party guiltless)
to suggest the offender is not responsible
to downplay the offense, condone the act, make excuse for the offender
to deny the hurt, anger, resentment

BUT, forgiveness means: to let go of the anger, bitterness, hurt, resentment
to forfeit your 'right" to feel that way....

Our Application today is: 1. Within the family (though the principles apply outside)
2. with typical offenses that occur within the family (we're not talking about rape, incest, abduction, murder, extreme abuses..)


#1. Forgiveness is clearly (and repeatedly) commanded in Scripture.
Mark 11:25 Luke 6:36-37 (the word is found nearly 150 times in scripture)

#2. The Command (to forgive) is for your good. (benefit)
Your good which leads to your family's good which leads to society's good, etc.

#3. Your struggle (to forgive) does to negate the command.
(all struggle some, some struggle more than others. For some, it easier to forgive.

#4. Most of what you are called to forgive is very forgivable.
Contrast what Holocaust survivors, victims of violent crime, etc. went through with typical marital conflict.
Extreme cases and issues are more complex and require more attention.

#5. We should deal with offenses (Biblically) AS THEY OCCUR
Thereby, avoid accumulation. Then when a large offense occurs, it is easier to deal with.

#6. Refusal to forgive is a great evil. It's more than wrong. it's wicked and sinful.
Example: A. Parable in Matt. 18 - quick to receive forgiveness but refuses to grant forgiveness. Leads to Matt. 18:32-25
B. Christ's comment on the Lord's Prayer - Matt. 6:14-15

#7. An unforgiving spirit is a great tool of Satan.
2 Cor. 2:6-11

It's Obvious that we are to forgive.
The problem is that scripture tells us to forgive more than it tells us how to forgive.
(Easier said than done)

Helps in "How to Forgive"

#1. Allow yourself to be human - Real offenses come and really hurt

#2. Recognize when you're being a sinful human
ie: selfish, childish, petty, etc. - Admit it!!!!

#3. Don't let your feelings dictate your actions. WHO is Lord????

#4. Allow others to be human also. Rom. 3:23
everybody hurts, offends

#5. Overlook minor offenses. You have less to forgive if you choose not to be offended in the first place. Prov. 19:11

#6. Assume responsibility for your behavior.
You are NOT responsible for what others do... but, you are absolutely responsible for your reaction.
Point: if forgiveness is in order, then you can't blame them for your failure to do so.

#7. Admit the sinfulness of an unforgiving spirit (evil/wicked)
To stubbornly hold to your rightness is the same as saying "I'm right, God's wrong!"

#8. Do what's right. (what you know to be right)
On one hand, God desires forgiveness "from the heart".
But, exterior forgiveness is better than not at all.

#9. Forgive as offenses occur. (don't let it build-up or accumulate)

#10. (If needed) get help - from God, scripture, prayer, counsel, other Christians

It's much easier said than done, BUT, it's God who says, "Do it!"
John 13:17

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