I was asked to take part in a service this coming Good Friday on the sayings of Jesus on the cross. Mine will be on “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Text: Matt 6:14-15 “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.
- Why is there such a need for forgiveness in the world we live in?
Because life is full of pain.
Ps 25:18 Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins.
Jer 15:18-19 Why is my pain perpetual And my wound incurable, Which refuses to be healed? Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, As waters that fail? 19 Therefore thus says the Lord: “If you return,
Selfishness only intensifies the pain that is spread around. Should I live in pain or you; I choose you.
Add in the demonic and you have a recipe for one painful life. People who reject God and carry the spirits of their sins have a unique way of bringing pain into other people’s lives. The pains in our body can be associated with the pains of our lives. Arthritis – bitterness, female problems – sexual abuse, poor self-image – rejection.
We live in a fallen world. We tend to assume everyone is out to get us. We keep internal enemy lists. Poor communication skills and lying demons lead to misunderstandings and we manufacture hurts and pains in our own spirits that were never intended.
Steve and his turkey
1 Chron 4:10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.
Living a life of forgiveness eases the pains of life.
- The Fruit of Unforgiveness
- A person who refuses to forgive has to make a case against the person. The unforgiveness turns to hatred as they pile on the attacks on the person who has hurt them. Prov 26:28 A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, Everything they speak becomes filled with the hatred that they carry.
- Hatred is aimed at other people. Bitterness drips from their souls. Heb 12:14-15 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; Do I pursue peace and forgive or do I pursue trouble and become embittered?
Inner Darkness. This combination of unforgivenss, hatred and bitterness does something to our soul; the person we really are on the inside. The word was defiled. Matt 15:18-20 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
Unhealthy. Acts 8:23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
Broken Relationships. Col 3:12-20 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. 20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
They refuse to forgive those who need their forgiveness hurting both that person and themselves. They carry the weight of unforgiveness, bitterness and hatred to the grave. Job 21:25 Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul, Never having eaten with pleasure.
- The Power and Blessing of Forgiveness
The greatest power in the universe. The weapon that defeats the demonic. More powerful than sin. God forgives. Jesus our example on the cross. From the book “God is Not Dead” Dr. Augusto Cury a psychiatrist who has written over 30 books. As an atheist he began to study Jesus. “my detailed analysis left me perplexed, astonished, and fascinated because , clearly, I understood that no mind could concoct an individual with His personality characteristics. He didn’t fit into human imagination.” His study of the last supper with Jesus washing His disciple’s feet blew his mind. The other issue was Jesus dealing with Judas, “He was not afraid of being betrayed but feared losing a friend.” “Never in history has a betrayed person teated the traitor with such dignity. There is no historic precedent ofr the characteristics displayed in Jesus’ personality. Freud, one of the most brilliant minds of humanity, reacted completely differently. He banished Juan and Adler from the psychonanalytic family for contradicting his ideas.” This study concluded after writing over a thousand pages with his salvation.
The Fruit of Forgiveness
Love. 1 Cor 13:4-7 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
To love and be loved are necessary for life. To forgive and be forgiven opens the door for real love.
- The peace that passes all understanding. The righteousness of right relationships. The ability to prosper without fighting against life. A satisfaction with life.
Fruit of the Spirit. We become that tree of life everywhere we go. People can interact with us and taste the fruit of the spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control
Words of Graciousness. Eccl 10:12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious,
- Forgiveness opens the door to healing.
Whole Relationships. The spiritual maturity to forgive always plays out with that word “righteousness”. When we forgive it is so much easier to be in right relationship with God and everyone around us when we forgive.
Conclusion: I return to that picture of a tree of life. Examine the words that come out of your mouth, or nowadays examine your facebook posts and your texts as well as words that come out of your mouth. Are you spreading life or death.