Think of the worst sin you've ever committed? Got it? Now tell me this... "Did Christ Forgive you?" Yes...Was that Forgiveness Given Freely? To YOU... YES...But not to HIM!
If you owed me $20,000... And I forgave you of that debt...That forgiveness is completely, FREELY received by YOU...But how much did it cost ME to forgive you? $20,000!
We always hear how Christ's Forgiveness is FREE!! But NOTHING is further from the Truth! It is FREE to you because...Everything you should have faced the Father for doing wrong...All of His Anger, Disgust and Judgment...All of your Embarrassment, fear and suffering...IN REALITY... HAPPENED... IT WAS LITERALLY PAID OUT... EXPERIENCED...NOT JUST FORGOTTEN OR DISMISSED! So YOU wouldn't have to pay!
YOU...Will never be asked about it...Looked down upon for it... Judged by it... Or face it... Ever again! THAT IS HIS GIFT TO YOU... HIS FREE GIFT! How much MUST He Love you? How Precious MUST His Heart truly be?
Justice WILL Be Served!
Now stop and think about this..."Who do you hold a grudge against right this moment?" Who have you claimed you have forgiven...But you hold in contempt in your mind and heart? Who have you openly admitted..."You don't know if you ARE even ready to forgive?" You've actually JUSTIFIED holding forgiveness from...Because of just how bad they were to you?...Or how many times they've done you wrong?...Or they aren’t repentant… They didn’t ask… So, I don’t OWE them forgiveness!
Who do you feel doesn't deserve your company or attention anymore? That you avoid being around when they are present? That you wouldn't even accept a gift or favor from? Who makes you still tell the story...Of how they did you wrong to this day? That one you rehash in your mind regularly...Building more resentment & justification every time you do...It will cost something to forgive them as well...
Because forgiveness is NOT FREE! Because they were heinous, mean and selfish...Maybe even criminal...They DID do you wrong! There was pain and damage...There IS a debt to be paid!...There is punishment that is deserved and due!
So... Forgiveness is hard to give them...Because it SHOULD cost them something... They SHOULD pay...To let them off the hook "Scott Free"…
When they've done such terrible things...Things they may not even be sorry for or bothered by...Simply isn't right, just, or fair!! For all of the pain to simply be wiped away as though no one was hurt!As though everything was OK!
How could a Just, Loving God... Simply expect us to do this? When something so wrong has happened? When you were done so wrong and hurt so badly?
Listen closely… HE CAN'T... HE WON'T... THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT OUR FORGIVENESS OF OTHERS!! NOTHING IS SIMPLY DISMISSED... NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN... OR EXCUSED AWAY!
EVERY HORRIBLE ACT AGAINST YOU...OR ANYONE ELSE...MUST BE ACCOUNTED FOR... SENTENCED... AND PUNISHED...IT WILL NOT BE OVERLOOKED OR ACQUITTED! It WILL be punished...More perfectly, aggressively, and vengefully...Than YOU ever could pay it back!
In one of two ways:
ONE: By them...
As they stand in the most unthinkable absolute terror...
Exposed, condemned, and facing an Unrelenting God...
About to send them to eternal loneliness and pain!
TWO: Or by the Horrible Suffering of Our JESUS...
Just as YOUR wrongs were Paid...
In one of the most terrorizing, soul-crushing, painful moments... Ever experienced by anyone in history...
Matthew 26:27-28 (ESV)
27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
EITHER WAY... Every ounce of your pain and injustice... WILL be accounted for... And avenged! But... It is NOT for YOU... Or I…To decide WHICH WAY… It is paid!
Just as it is no man's choice on this earth...How YOUR sins were Paid! Because their sins... And yours...Are far worse to Christ... Than even to us! Their sins... And ours...Took more from Jesus... Hurt Him more...Than any of us will ever understand! HE DIDN'T JUST TAKE IT AWAY...HE EXPERIENCED ALL THE HORRIBLE LOSS & PUNISHMENT IT BROUGHT... FOR US...LITERALLY... PHYSICALLY... EMOTIONALLY... MENTALLY… SPIRITUALLY!
Listen closely… NEVER... EVER... DOES ANYONE... "JUST GET AWAY WITH IT!"
When we forgive... We can do so in peace and confidence...Knowing Justice WILL be served! Debts will be paid!
Forgiveness Comes At A Cost To You Too!
Even though Jesus Christ…Paid the Penalty for the sins against you...
Forgiveness will still cost YOU something as well...If it didn't... It would be easy... And everyone would do it! It will come at the COST of...
ONE: Real Trust in Jesus...
Trust that He Will Make retribution one way or the other...That Justice really will be done.That HE Truly DOES Care enough… Is JUST ENOUGH…To not allow ONE sin to go unpunished!
Romans 12:17-19 (ESV)
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
TWO: Real Thanksgiving...
Recognizing that my sins…Look and feel just as horrible to God...As what was done to me...And yet I was pardoned… AT HIS EXPENSE! I should not be breathing right now…I should have nothing to look forward to or receive!
Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
THREE: The Choice to Release their debt... You have to determine that...
You haven't just decided not to be angry with them anymore...But... That they don't OWE you anything...In order to be forgiven! Does Jesus Expect YOU and I to pay back the debt we owe...In order to be forgiven! Story of King forgiving… But servant not! Millions… Verses hundreds… (Expected forgiveness of debt)
FOUR: The Choice to Love...
Not an emotional, ooey-gooey love...But a choice to love our enemy...A choice to pray for their souls to be awakened...A God-Given desire to see them find…The same Truth and Forgiveness that we have found...And a choice to help them find that Truth through our response!
Luke 6:27-28, 35-36 (ESV)
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you...35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Romans 12:20-21 (ESV)
20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
LISTEN: To do any less for those who have done us wrong...To expect or hope for any less… In their eternal lives...Than the unearned freedom we received...Puts YOUR heart and mine…Exactly where THEIRS was when they hurt you! In a place where we think WE are more deserving... We think we are better than them! Isn't THAT the seed that started it all in the first place?!...And these Verses say...That undeserved Love… OVER unforgiveness...May be the Love of Christ that breaks their dark hearts!
You have the ONLY TRUE opportunity to love in your pain....Like no other time… To TRULY… Love Like Jesus!
GET THIS: Forgiving does NOT mean FORGETTING! It is impossible to forget as humans...It means something even more powerful...It is the beauty of remembering...AND STILL releasing them anyway...In love and thankfulness to Christ...Because... Forgiveness DOES cost us so much...Because... It is impossible without the Love, Mercy and Thanksgiving...That can only come through Our Jesus...
Because... It goes against our nature and logic of this world...Is WHY it is the most central focus and foundation...For Christianity!!!
THIS is WHY God has given us these Commandments and Laws of how True Love should look... IN Forgiveness! Listen to the seriousness Jesus places on Forgiveness...When teaching the disciples to pray!
Matthew 6:9-15 (ESV)
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Jesus emphasizes only one part of that model prayer...Immediately after Teaching it to them..."If you do not forgive... You will not be forgiven!"
Matthew 18:32-35 (ESV)
32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
This Unforgiveness in NOT in regards to your Salvation...
EX: The King put the servant in prison… Not cast away into outer darkness… But temporarily alone to suffer…
Jesus Isolates Himself from us…As we have from them…In Fellowship, Blessing, Favor, Power and Peace!
James 2:12-13 (ESV)
12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Why does God demand something so difficult from us? Because we are to give freely and undeserved... What we receive freely and undeserved!
Because it is at the center of understanding the worth of another...
Because it is the heart of humbly loving the undeserving... Even at your own expense! BECAUSE… It is the ONLY True Picture…Of HIS LOVE for us!!
Now... Listen carefully to this often misunderstood Verse...
Luke 17:3-4 (ESV)
3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Many falsely teach this Verse says we ONLY forgive…If asked...This verse is simply stressing the steadfastness and consistency of forgiveness...NOT… Implying that it is only given when asked!
Listen to the following Verses in light of this question!
Mark 11:25 (ESV)
25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Matthew 5:23-24 (ESV)
23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Did Joseph's brothers ask forgiveness for selling him...Before HE forgave THEM... And saved them? NO! Did Jesus ask Forgiveness of those killing Him at the Cross..Only after they asked?!...AND... Take note…Of what both of the last two Passages… Are saying about…The connection of our prayers and forgiveness!!
Jesus Himself says... Do not offer prayers or worship to Me...If you are holding unforgiveness in your heart! WHY? Because He is Saying…“Your prayers and worship are insincere...You do not understand what I’ve done for you…You do not truly appreciate My Sacrifice…You do not have complete love for Me…” If you cannot forgive another!
The Cost of Unforgiveness IS Even Greater!
We have seen that God is very Adamant and Unbending...On the Topic of Forgiveness...And that True Forgiveness is very difficult...And COSTLY...But Unforgiveness... Costs MUCH MORE!
Some people right now... In the sound of my voice...Your entire thought process... Your every emotion... Your LIFE...IS BUILT around and LED by...
Your unforgiveness towards someone who's hurt you!
You have decided you deserve better… The world is bad… You won’t take it anymore… It’s your turn to be on top!
The COST of unforgiveness to you...Is that it RULES every facet of your life...
AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW IT! YOU ARE THAT SERVANT IN THE PRISON CELL! Some even look for reasons to hold grudges…For manipulation and power…Because it has replaced love as your driving force!
The cost of unforgiveness... Is that...It steals your joy and peace...And replaces it with private agony, anxiety, fear and anger...It causes you to withhold love from others... Many others… Not just them! In your bitterness and tainted mindset...It causes you to lose Fellowship with Christ...Because you don't trust Him... Or you blame Him...And you cannot share in His Love and Worth of others!
It destroys your relationships...Because you trust no one...And protecting and avenging yourself…Becomes more important than loving them! So you hurt others... And start a new cycle in them!
Your prayers go unanswered... Your blessings are often missed! You lose mental, emotional and even physical health! You are in prison... And your life is on hold!!
Unforgiveness causes many... Ultimately...To walk away from church...To walk away from God...To walk away from parents, spouses and family...To give up on life...Because there is NO joy, purpose or desire...Only contempt for others... And concern for self!
If you have given up on all the church... Because you were hurt...Maybe the problem is NOT the sinful church... But YOUR unforgiveness!
If you are on your second, third or fourth marriage...Because they just treated you wrong... And had issues...Maybe it's not just their sin... But your unforgiveness!
If your friends always let you down...And you stay in conflicts or solitude often...
Maybe it's not their sin... But your unforgiveness!
If you are always the victim...You always have a story about how someone has done you wrong...Always have another reason people should pity you...Always feel sorry for yourself...Maybe it's not the sin of the world... It's your unforgiveness!
MAYBE IT'S TIME YOU STOPPED MAKING EXCUSES...FOR WHY THEY ARE NOT WORTHY OF YOUR FORGIVENESS... WHEN YOU… WERE WORTHY OF CHRIST'S!
1 Corinthians 4:5 (ESV)
5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
MAYBE IT'S TIME TO REALIZE...THAT IF CHRIST'S BLOOD WAS ENOUGH FOR THE FATHER..MAYBE YOU... SHOULDN'T REQUIRE MORE! MAYBE IT'S TIME TO DECIDE...YOU WILL LOVE LIKE CHRIST...AND FORGIVE... DESERVED OR NOT...AND SHOW THEM... SHOW THE WORLD... THE REAL LOVE OF JESUS!...AND YOU JUST MIGHT GET YOUR OWN LIFE BACK IN THE PROCESS!....YOU JUST MIGHT HAVE THE CLOSENESS TO CHRIST YOU'VE MISSED!
AND LASTLY...IF FORGIVING YOUR ENEMY IS THAT IMPORTANT...IF FORGIVING YOUR ENEMY COST JESUS THAT MUCH...MAYBE... IT'S TIME TO FORGIVE YOURSELF AS WELL! HE PAID THE PRICE FOR YOUR FORGIVENESS...YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO HOLD YOURSELF IN CONTEMPT!
TO FEEL UNWORTHY, UNLOVABLE, OR UNUSABLE ANYMORE...YOU HAVE THE WORTHINESS OF JESUS CHRIST!!
BECAUSE HE DIED TO GIVE IT TO YOU! EMBRACE IT!! AND PRAISE HIM FOR IT!
Romans 3:21-22 (ESV)
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
John 17:22 (ESV)
22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one...
TODAY... IS THE DAY TO BEAT SATAN...
TODAY... IS THE DAY TO FORGIVE!
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