"On a Mission to Forgive - Part 2"
Passage: Matthew 6:12–6:15
If we are to understand how we should forgive one another, we must begin with this key principle: God expects Christians to forgive one another in the same way that he forgave them. The Bible teaches us that God’s forgiveness is a commitment by the one true God to pardon graciously those who repent and believe so that they are reconciled to him and will one day be glorified. This serves as the blueprint for how all forgiveness should take place. Remember, the most important forgiveness question any of us will ever ask is, has God forgiven me? Has he?
Keep the definition of forgiveness in mind. Forgiveness is a commitment by the offended to pardon graciously the repentant from moral liability and to be reconciled to that person, although not all consequences are necessarily eliminated. Not only is forgiveness gracious, it is also a commitment. Forgiveness is a promise to pardon another. Ken Sande summarizes four promises that Christians make when they forgive another: “I will not dwell on this incident.” “I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you.” “I will not talk to others about this incident.” “I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.” Sande writes: By making and keeping these promises, you can tear down the walls that stand between you and your offender. You promise not to dwell on or brood over the problem or to punish by holding the person at a distance. You clear the way for your relationship to develop unhindered by memories of past wrongs. This is exactly what God does for us, and it is what he calls us to do for others. -- Chris Brauns
1. Resolving conflict by forgiving is what Christians are required to do, Matthew 6:8-13; 5:9; 18:1-35; Ephesians 4:32.
2. Forgivers need to pray: first and foremost for their own forgiveness, then for the ability to forgive others, Matthew 6:12.
All the Christian disciplines are necessary in order to forgive - not just prayer, Matthew 11:28-30.
The way to accept Christ’s invitation to find rest is to be in his Word, to listen to biblical preaching, to pray, and to be sharpened by other
Christians. While at first it may seem like you are moving only a bit, before long you will be sailing forward, ridding yourself of the baggage that weighs you down. You may object at this point, “I have already tried the Christian way of unpacking my burdens, and it didn’t really work. I tried Jesus! He didn’t give me rest.” Did you really? Did you really assume Jesus’ yoke, his instrument of work, and learn from him? Have you been involved consistently in a local church where the Bible is preached? Have you participated in Sunday school or small groups or whatever Christian education opportunities your church offers? Do you pray consistently in a disciplined way? I’m not just talking about praying in the car on the way to work. Have you really gotten down on your knees and earnestly prayed? Are you involved in a Christian community or fellowship? Are you sharing your life with other Christians? Do you worship Christ on a regular basis? Do you take part in Christ-centered worship and listen to Christ-centered preaching? Have you identified with Christ in baptism? Do you faithfully participate in observing the Lord’s Supper at your church? These means of grace are how we take Christ’s yoke upon us and learn from him. Christ’s way of unpacking forgiveness is not three easy steps. It is a way of life, following Jesus, learning from him, being involved in his church, hearing his Word preached. Apart from consistent involvement in these disciplines, you are trying to paddle with a stick. And that just won’t work. - Chris Braun
3. Resolving conflict/forgiving is urgent: drowning, millstones, and heaven are at stake, Matthew 6:14-15; 18:1-14.
4. We are most like Jesus when we forgive, Ephesians 4:32; Matthew 11:28-30. The character of those who repent mimics the character of Jesus, forgiveness includes reconciliation.
5. Resolving conflicts by forgiving will be spoken of for eternity, Matthew 26:13; Mark 14:9; John 12:1-8; Luke 7:36-50; Revelation 15:1-4.
6. Forgiving gives you the ability to establish and maintain healthy relationships with sinners, Matthew 4:19.