Mar 8 2019

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Pastor Dave Koppel

Forgive us our trespasses…

Luke 6:27-29, 37

But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt...Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Matthew 18:21-35

Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, 'Pay what you owe.' Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

Wow, that's a lot about forgiveness. We know that as children of God, it's important for us to forgive.

This is one of those things that can sometimes be not only difficult but confusing for Christians.

First, let's take a look at what forgiveness is not:

Forgiveness is not saying that what the other person did is okay.

Forgiveness is not inviting someone to abuse you or to continue to abuse you.

Forgiveness is not saying that you will continue to let the other person be a part of your life. You can forgive somebody who has committed crimes against you, but that doesn't mean you need to let them continue to be in your life.

What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a way of not letting the person have any more emotional control over you. You see, if you don't forgive someone, every time you see them it's going to bother you. You might tense up inside, it might ruin your day. And even while it's having those effects on you, it may not even be affecting the other person at all. They may not even realize the effect it has on you.

But if you forgive them, if you let it go emotionally, then every time you see that person they will not have emotional control over you—they will not be pushing your buttons so to speak.

Another way to look at it is this: 

Forgiveness is giving up the right to have revenge. It's not letting your hurt and anger fester inside you until it starts to eat you up.

Forgiveness is a way of no longer carrying that burden of hurt and anger with you forever. That burden of hurt and anger gets heavy to carry around and begins to affect every other aspect of your life unless you let it go.

Forgiveness isn't just for the person who did something that hurt you; forgiveness is also a way of helping yourself. It is a way of moving on. It is a way of gaining freedom from whatever act that happened.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that the other person won't have real-world consequences to deal with. Forgiveness simply means that you're willing to let go of the hurt and the anger. You are not letting the other person push your buttons anymore, and it is claiming some freedom for yourself. It is not letting other people's past actions control you today and in the future.

If you're carrying around a load of unforgiveness, it's going to slow you down. It's going to make it harder for you to be open to other people and to love other people in the future.

I know that it's hard. But if we remember that God has forgiven us everything, it's easier for us to forgive others.

Also, forgiveness can take awhile. It's not necessarily an instantaneous thing. It may take awhile for our emotions to catch up with our minds. It doesn't mean we shouldn't try to do it. It just means it sometimes takes practice.

In His grip,

Pastor