25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
If we have experienced the Grace of God, if we truly know the depths of His forgiveness for the sins that we have committed, then we should be able to forgive those that has wronged, and offended us. We know this Truth already, but yet...putting it into practice is not that easy. Wouldn’t you agree? When our spouse, children, friends, family, coworkers or just a total stranger hurts us or offends us, how do we feel? Anger, revenge, just ignore it and move on? At times we don’t even know how deep the wounds go. We hurt and become focused on the pain, often over looking the ways that we have hurt others. We can get hurt, but we can also hurt others.
In offering us a model for how to pray, Jesus told us to ask our Father to...
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
In another translation “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. We tend to think that when we say trespass, we are walking through someone else private property, an area that does not belong to us, boundaries of some kind. But trespassing includes all the ways we can intrude into someone else’s well being, when we offend, or violate the boundaries of someone else’s feelings. Forgiveness goes both ways, we can receive it, and we can also give it. Just think of how much God has forgiven you and I.
What was your response the last time someone hurt you? Whether by deed, speech, or by accident? Perhaps we felt the urge to retaliate. Maybe you took no action, but instead harbored bitterness in your heart. If so, we failed to realize that we do great damage to ourselves when we have an unforgiving spirit. Failure to forgive is a devastating form of self punishment.
It is like a disease that eats us up inside slowly. The more we think about the pain the more it will hurt. Its poison in the heart, and the only cure is to let it go, and be willing to change, be willing to forgive.
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
It sounds fairly simple, doesn’t it? “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”. Yet, you and I know the truth that, though it’s simple to say, it’s not necessarily easy to do. When someone commits a terrible offense against you—no matter whether the hurt came by way of words or deeds—forgiveness can be terribly difficult. Wouldn’t you agree? I’m guilty of it!
The enemy will always use that feeling of anger, the feeling of bitterness, to be so angry that we would want to take revenge. As a believer, however, we must avoid the enemy’s traps, his whispers of lies and choose the peace of forgiveness as Christ has shown you an I.
1. The definition of unforgiveness.
If we want to understand unforgiveness, you must first know what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is the willingness to give up your resentment toward someone who has wronged you, regardless of how serious or painful that wrong might have been. In other words, we renounce any desire to get even. We can identify three elements to forgiveness: 1. to give up resentment about the wrong; 2. to give up resentment toward the wrongdoer; and 3.to give up plans for retaliation.
23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
In another translation... “23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
“If you do not forgive them, they will not be forgiven”.
If we choose not to forgive, we become disobedient to Gods command.
This root of bitterness, being disobedient will keep you and i from being the person God wants us to be, and prevent you and i from carrying out His will for our life. The refusal to forgive is an act of pride and rebellion—deliberate disobedience to the Word of God. Not only is it like poison in our hearts, that slowly eats us up inside. We become the total opposite of what God wants us to be. It is the total opposite of being formed into His likeness.
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Now...this came after when Jesus was teaching His disciples on how to pray.
This does not mean the believer loses his salvation, but it does indicate God will hold him accountable—there will be discipline. Remember, “God disciplines those whom He loves”. We will be held accountable!
What are the consequences when we choose to be disobedient to Gods commands on forgiveness? Jesus teaches us that God wants to answer our prayers, but that we must first forgive others. If we don’t, it will make us bitter and will affect our prayer life. Likewise, our worship will be affected. Jesus teaches us that when we are in conflict, we are to stop—even in the middle of our worship—and go to set matters right. Remember the verse? Matthew 5:23“before you make your offerings and remember that your brother or sister has something against you, first be reconciled before you make your offering”. Our witnessing, our giving, and our overall spiritual growth are terribly weakened by a heart that carries bitterness and pride. Every other aspect of life is affected as well. When we are loaded down with stress, anxiety, and resentment, physical illness may soon result. The truth is nobody really enjoys being around a person who is always bitter, sure there are times when you would like to vent, share your feelings, open up about your pains. But all the time bitter? What type of fellowship is that, what kind of atmosphere would it be? It is no longer a fellowship that will bring glory to our God. It is not healthy to harbor pain and resentment. We have to let it go at one point.
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Now...this is the Parable of the unforgiving servant. If you are familiar with the story. Its about a king that settled an account with his servant, a servant who owed ten thousand talents, but was not able to pay his master. The servant fell on his knees and asked to be patient with what he owed. The master was moved and found compassion and released and forgave the servant from all his debt. But that servant found one his fellow servant who owed him just a hundred denarii, did not show the same compassion as the master did. He did not forgive his fellow man what was owed, and the master threw the unforgiving servant, delivered him up to be tortured. That is one scary discipline from our God. The master replied “should you not also have compassion on your fellow servant, just as i had pity on you”?
How many times has God forgiven us when we sin? More than we can count. Now...how many times have we forgiven those who has sinned against us? Let me ask you tonight church, are we willing to change? It is not easy, change never is. Alone it can be impossible, but we are not alone, we have each other, and we have Jesus.
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
Now we can all agree that this is hard! “loving your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you, and persecute you”. How do you do it? How can we follow such commands, and yet still live a happy life? Of course you don’t want to be disobedient to our Lord, there is always that fear of being disciplined.
Sometimes we just need to take that step of faith in trusting our God for the end results. Because we don’t really know why God is allowing these things to happen. Are we being tested, or is this part of being molded into His image? We can all agree that Jesus, as man, went through all of these, “loving your enemies, blessing those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”.
He was humiliated, beaten, nailed on the cross, and never fought back. He didn’t hold a grudge, in fact on the cross Jesus even prayed that they be forgiven. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Even after all of that, Jesus prayed to forgive.
Loving the unlovable can be very hard to do. The truth is God made us all different. Could you imagine if God made us the same. Think, and act the same way...that would be boring right? There is always that somebody who you will like right away, and of course there are some that will take some time to get used too. Lets look at the different characters of the people around us. There are those who are annoying, nosey, prideful, selfish, the me,me,me attitude, there are those that are super nice, kind, and have loving personality, always happy and joyful, and so on. We’re all made differently, but all of this things that i mentioned is the reason God had to sacrifice His Son. We’re not perfect, so we should not expect our neighbors to be. God accepted us the way we were, he didn’t asked us to change, then we can receive His grace. No...we were accepted just the way we were. He will be the One to make the the change. We have accept it, we’re all different. There will always be things that we will not like about each other, but is it enough to say, and use the word hate. Keep in mind, after this life, we will still be together forever. So get use to being around each other. Be willing to change!
From our last Bible Study...
Romans 12:9-16 (ESV)
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.2 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
Love must be sincere. The word here for “love” is the word “agape,” which means unconditional and sacrificial love. Because love is the supreme quality of a Christ-follower, Paul begins with love at the top of the list, like he does in Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love…joy, peace, long suffering, kindness,goodness, and faithfulness.” Please also notice that the context for lifting up love comes immediately after the list of seven spiritual gifts. While Paul doesn’t spend much time defining these gifts, he does concentrate on the spirit in which they are to be exercised. Love must be exercised! Instead of tearing people down, we should build them up. Instead of looking at the faults, let us look past that, and focus on the good. Why did God put us together, why did He build this church? “Outdo one another in love, be patient, because you love, contribute to the needs of the saints, meaning each other. Never be wise in your own sight, Its not easy, i know. This is what it means... “to be transformed with the renewal of your minds”. Be willing to change. To live a Christian life is to allow Jesus to live His life in and through us. “Allow Jesus to live His life in and through us”. Remember... “I have been crucified with Christ, i no longer live, but Christ lives in me”. Christ lives in me!
26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
The transformation is not just external, but internal as well. Instead of a heart of stone, unable to respond to God with love and obedience, God will provide a new heart, and a new spirit. These changes comes as a result of divine initiative, and not by human effort. Our God will make you and I willing to change. By His power and not our own. The closer our loving relationship is with our God, the more Christ is in you and me by the Holy Spirit, the more we serve God from the inside out and not the outside in.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The method Jesus gave us to introduce ourselves to the world is love. First Fil-Am Church was not built on talents, but by Gods love. He has formed this body out of love. He kept us all together because of His love.
“by this they will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”
Pastor Richard Santos
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