The Healing Power of Forgiveness Jesus said: • If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT) • It is said that most emotional problems among evangelical Christians are caused by the failure to understand, receive and live out God’s unconditional love, forgiveness and grace in others, by forgiving there trespasses against you. Why do Christians, who have been forgiven so much, have such difficulty forgiving others? • For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; Luke 12:48 (NKJV) THERE ARE THREE REASONS WHY I CAN’T FORGIVE: • 1. I don’t understand what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. How would you respond to the following questions from the survey? Rate each statement as an ACCURATE or an INACCURATE description of forgiveness. • You cannot honestly forgive someone unless that person shows some remorse for what they did. (62% agreed) • If you really forgive someone, you would want that person to be released from the consequences of their actions. (60% agreed) • If you genuinely forgive someone, you should rebuild your relationship with that person. (73% agreed) • If you have really forgiven someone, you should be able to forget what they have done to you. (66% agreed) The biblical perspective is that each of these statements is WRONG! • Only 4% of respondents gave the biblical response to all the questions! • These FOUR MYTHS identified above confuse the issue of forgiveness for many people. We’re going to deal with all of these questions in this series, because it is vital that Christians have a biblical viewpoint – especially about an issue as crucial as forgiveness! • A failure to understand the true nature of forgiveness leads to prolonged bitterness, illegitimate fears and unnecessary guilt, and prevents us from receiving and granting life’s most important gift! THERE ARE THREE REASONS WHY I CAN’T FORGIVE: • 1. I don’t understand what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. • 2. I’m riding the “guilt-blame” seesaw. • The more guilt you feel for your own mistakes, the more blame you must pile on to remain in emotional equilibrium. But what happens if you suddenly get rid of the blame toward others (through forgiveness) without also removing your guilt? You will emotionally CRASH! • Our sense of self-preservation keeps us from forgiving – we don’t want to grant forgiveness and be left holding the bag of personal guilt. So, in reality, it is our guilt for our own personal failures in our relationships that prohibits us from forgiving others. If we do choose to forgive, we will attach blame to someone else to keep in emotional balance. THERE ARE THREE REASONS WHY I CAN’T FORGIVE: • 1. I don’t understand what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. • 2. I’m riding the “guilt-blame” seesaw. • 3. I can’t give away what I don’t possess. • It is basically impossible to impart something to another person that YOU have not fully experienced. If the majority of people on this planet have never experienced the unconditional forgiveness of God, is it any wonder they have difficulty forgiving others? • You can’t give away what you don’t possess. ONLY THE FORGIVEN CAN TRULY FORGIVE! • “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 • Luke 7:41-47 41 Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—five hundred pieces of silver to one and fifty pieces to the other. 42 But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.” “That’s right,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You didn’t give me a kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet again and again from the time I first came in. 46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. 47 I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” • Several years ago a lady with colon cancer, who had only four months to live, was interviewed about her illness. “How does it feel to know that you are terminal?” the interviewer asked. She replied, “The truth is, we are all terminal. The only difference is that some of us realize it and some of us don’t.” • Both Simon and the prostitute suffered from the terminal disease of sin, and both were in need of forgiveness from Jesus. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE WAS THEIR AWARENESS OF THEIR CONDITION. The prostitute understood her need for forgiveness; Simon denied his. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags Isaiah 64:6 THERE ARE THREE REASONS WHY I CAN’T FORGIVE: • 1. I don’t understand what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. • 2. I’m riding the “guilt-blame” seesaw. • 3. I can’t give away what I don’t possess. Can You Possess Forgiveness Today? EVERY OTHER RELIGION EMPHASIZES MAN’S RESPONSIBILITY TO SECURE GOD’S APPROVAL. ONLY IN CHRISTIANITY IS GOD’S LOVE UNCONDITIONAL Jesus gave us these words in Luke 6:36-37 36Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 37“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Justice, Grace and Mercy Justice is receiving what you deserve Grace is receiving what you don’t deserve Mercy is not receiving what you deserve Choose to Forgive Today Jesus said: For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15 Does this mean God forgives them? NO! They still must make peace with God But when YOU forgive you put on the Spirit of Christ in your life Choose To Be Merciful Today Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. LUKE 6:36 Mercy is not receiving what we deserve! Principal: God is merciful to the merciful and judgmental on the merciless If you want mercy if your life… Be Merciful to others!