Our goal as Christians is to love God and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves; and to become like Jesus Christ.
When are we most like God? When we forgive.
There is a connection between the forgiveness we give others and the forgiveness God gives us. We struggle with forgiveness because we do not properly understand what it is. Forgiveness means, literally, to not hold against. Colossians 3:13 says, Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Forgiveness is not excusing the offense. If someone asks for forgiveness, never say, That's okay. It is not okay; it is a big deal. God will never say sin is okay. He forgives, He does not excuse.
The reason we are afraid to forgive is that we think that forgiving somehow says that it's okay. Forgiveness says much more about you than it does about the one who gives offense.
We can grant forgiveness even to those who don't ask for it. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself.
When offended, we have a choice. 1) Hold on, or 2) let it go, i.e. give it to the Lord.
Forgiving is not easy. But we must let it go, or we will become so encumbered with unforgiveness that we are too burdened to properly function. Again, as Jesus says, "Forgive, and you shall be forgiven."
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Forgiveness That Is Real
This morning's sermon was the final message in Pastor Doug's "Because You Asked" series.
The scripture lesson is Luke 6:37 - 38: Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.