A Sunday School teacher had just concluded her lesson and wanted to make sure she had made her point. She said, "Can anyone tell me what you must do before you can obtain forgiveness of sin?" There was a short pause and then, from the back of the room, a small boy spoke up. "Sin," he said.
As sure as the sun rises and sets today you and I will sin. We will be sinned against, but how we respond to sin is based upon our understanding of biblical forgiveness.
First off I want to emphasize what forgiveness is: Forgiveness means to set aside, to send away (especially the guilt), and remission of the penalty. Forgiveness is this = giving up the right for revenge. Think about it, you and I without Jesus Christ are at odds with God, in opposition of God, an enemy of God, and because of our sin we deserve to be punished for that sin, yet Jesus Christ was willing to take on our penalty, our punishment, and our sin that we might be forgiven. That should put true forgiveness into perspective for us, but we always seem to have an excuse for not forgiving. Fortunately the Bible has an answer for every excuse we have in regards to forgiveness.
1. What we Say: “There is no way I could ever forgive (person) for (offense). He (she/they) hurt me too deeply.”
a. What have you been forgiven of? By Christ and by others?
b. What God says: Isaiah 53:4-7; Romans 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. 1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
c. According to Colossians 3:13 what should be the standard measure of our forgiveness? 13bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
2. What We Say: “They don’t deserve to be forgiven.”
a. What did we do to earn forgiveness?
b. What God Says: Romans 5:8 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
c. Thought Question: Would I be willing for God to deal with me in the same way that I want to see my offender dealt with?
3. What We Say: “I’ve forgiven them, but I will never be able to forget what they did to me.”
a. What God says: Hebrews 10:17 “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Psalms 103:12 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
b. CLARIFICATION: When God forgives us, He promises that He will not mention, bring to mind, or hold against our sins against us anymore. Therefore, forgiveness is a promise that I will not bring these matters up to you, others, or myself in the future with a design to harm/hurt you.
4. What we Say: “I really have forgiven, but I still struggle with feelings of hurt.’
a. Ringing Ears and Forgiveness: Romans 12: 17-21 17Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
5. What we Say: “I will never forgive!”
a. What God says: 2 Corinthians 2: 5-11 and Matthew 6:14
i. Overwhelming sorrow
ii. Gives Satan an advantage over us
iii. God will forgive us as we forgive
b. Remember All I have forgiven you of…
a. Forgiveness is vital to your relationship with God b/c lack of forgiveness = a lack of fellowship.
b. Forgiveness means to “give up our right for revenge” forgiveness is a promise that I will not bring these matters up to you, others, or myself in the future with a design to harm/hurt you.
c. Forgiveness always usually begins with us having a wrong response and God’s Word correcting that response.
d. Forgiveness starts with you and God
i. Seek forgiveness of your sins to God
ii. Seek to for forgive those who have wronged you
iii. Seek forgiveness from those you have wronged