here are the slides from this morning – forgiveness

We’re going to spend 3 weeks talking about two inter-connected things – loving people and forgiving people.

I believe that a part of the collateral damage of my sin and the Goliath’s in my life, I have developed a spirit that is judgmental and unforgiving.  And I also believe this spirit limits how much of God I can receive.  Oh, God can do anything and knock down any wall but on my part, I believe this spirit is limiting what I am capable of receiving from God.

It is time for this giant to fall.  It is time for me to be broken in my judgment and unforgiveness towards others.  And then…just watch what God can do.

It is my “sin”.  We don’t talk about sin much any more in the church.  Sin is such a politically incorrect word.  In society, when a man sexually harasses women, he is rushed off to rehab and we talk about his brokenness or we shift it to a “societal problem”.  And yes, it is brokenness and it is a societal problem … but … it is ALSO that man’s sin.

In my sin, I have hardened my heart towards other people.  I’ve become a quick judge of others and to the people that have caused me pain, I carry a ton of unforgiveness.  Think about it, how quick are you to just dismiss a person as a jerk, an idiot, or not being worthy of your time?  It is so easy to dismiss others, too easy to look down on them and to fail to see them with eyes of compassion and hearts of mercy…

But, “I love Jesus”…

“If anyone says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar”.  1 John 4:20

You just got punched in the mouth.  I did.

If because of my sin and my thinking I have every right to judge them, I am missing the single greatest call of Jesus on my life – – that I would love other people.

Do you love others?  Do you love Jesus?  What is the evidence of that?  Where is the fruit?  My life tends to look a lot like this …

forgiveness 1

What’s love got to do with it?  Even though I have been a believer for 30+ years, this is me.  It’s not pretty.  And God has shown me here in the past few weeks that I have naively ignored my sin.  As a result, I’m too settled into “my way” of doing life which, if left up to my innate self, can turn inwardly very quickly and become “all about me”.

This is a good litmus test to see where you are in this … what’s going to make you happy today?  As you start the day and look at what all will happen today, what is it that is going to make it a “great day” for you?  Tonight, when you look back, what will determine if it was a good day?  Likewise, there are going to be things that make you mad and upset today and that will make it a “bad day”.  What are those things?  What is the scale that you use to determine if it’ll be a good day or a bad one?

At the intersection of those two things, the true love of your heart is exposed…

forgiveness 2

Let me ask you this … how much of your joy, grief, celebration or anger that you will take on today … how much of it has anything whatsoever to do with the Kingdom of God?

You see, if you are like me, sin can very quickly turn your life inside/out and you can find yourself defining what will make you happy or mad solely based on you.  Not God.  Not His Kingdom.  Not sacrifices you can make, resources you can share, time you can give to others but instead, a good day will only be determined by how much money you make, what compliments you get, how noticed you are, if your wife meets your needs or just how entertained you are.  My man in mirror sees that it has become “me, me … it’s all about me.”

Absolutely NONE of this message is enjoyable.  My flesh hates being confronted with His Truth.  But it is Truth.

What does any of this have to do with forgiveness?  Perhaps a ton.  We are wounded, hurt, disappointed people.  Painful things have happened to all of us.  Goliath’s are present in all of our lives.  Too many of us have harbored resentment towards those that have hurt us and we’ve gone to bed in our anger and given the enemy a wide open door to whisper lies to us.  Sin turns us inward and we live “incurvatus”.  We harbor.  We dam up unforgiveness.  Revenge, abuse, hatred, bitter, we slander people, gossip, name calling, we reject others, we avoid intentionally so as to punish, we withhold love, bigotry, racism, sexism, we internally wish bad things to happen to others or when bad things do happen we jump to “they had it coming”.

If this is you … in any way … then, I suspect you have some unforgiveness in your heart.  It is your Dad or Mom, your brother, your former business partner, ex-wife, girlfriend from way back, a coach, a boss — there is someone in your past that hurt you deeply and you haven’t forgiven them and released them.  And … it is eating you up, robbing the joy in your life and limiting what God can do through you.

More to come…

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